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Tap water consumers differ from non-consumers in chlorine flavor acceptability but not sensitivity

Abstract : Unpleasant taste and especially chlorine flavor is one of the most common reasons advocated for choosing tap water alternatives as drinking water. As a consequence, the putative link between sensitivity to chlorine flavor and tap water consumption is an issue in drinking water habits studies. In the present study, we set out to examine such a link following a strategy in which we measured chlorine flavor perception at threshold and supra-threshold level for two groups of participants selected on their drinking water consumption habits. The first group included exclusive tap water consumers and the second group included exclusive bottled water consumers. In a first experiment, we used the constant stimuli procedure to evaluate the chlorine flavor detection threshold of a group of 20 tap water consumers and a group of 20 non-consumers. In a second experiment, a group of 18 tap water consumers and a group of 17 non-consumers evaluated supra-threshold flavor intensity, liking and acceptability for eight chlorinated solutions (0–10 mg/L Cl2). The results revealed no significant difference in chlorine flavor detection threshold and supra-threshold sensitivity between tap water consumers and non-consumers. Nevertheless, tap water consumers showed a higher liking score for chlorinated solutions and were found to be more inclined to accept these solutions as drinking water. Taken together these findings suggested that consumers may disparage chlorine flavor in drinking water on the basis of their tap water cognitive representation.
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Sabine Puget, Noëlle Béno, Claire Chabanet, Elisabeth Guichard, Thierry Thomas-Danguin. Tap water consumers differ from non-consumers in chlorine flavor acceptability but not sensitivity. Water Research, IWA Publishing, 2010, 44 (3), pp.956-964. ⟨10.1016/j.watres.2009.10.009⟩. ⟨hal-02659322⟩



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