Turbidity as a measure of salivary protein reactions with astringent substances

John Horne, John Hayes, Harry T. Lawless

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

104 Scopus citations


Binding of tannins to proline-rich proteins has been proposed as an initial step in the development of astringent sensations. In beer and fruit juices, formation of tannin-protein complexes leads to the well-known effect of haze development or turbidity. Two experiments examined the development of turbidity in human saliva when mixed with tannins as a potential in vitro correlate of astringent sensations. In the first study, haze was measured in filtered human saliva mixed with a range of tannic acid concentrations known to produce supra-threshold psychophysical responses. The second study examined relationships among individual differences in haze development and the magnitude of astringency ratings. Mostly negative correlations were found, consistent with the notion that high levels of salivary proteins protect oral tissues from the drying effects of tannic acid.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)653-659
Number of pages7
JournalChemical senses
Issue number7
StatePublished - Sep 2002

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physiology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Physiology (medical)
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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