Report E3S Student Award 2016 – Xirui Zhou

University of Reading, UK

Awarded for: Elucidating the relative effects of sensory modalities (taste, mouthfeel and odour) on fat perception, and investigating the relationship between fatty acid sensitivity, fat perception and preference

Xirui Zhou

Xirui Zhou

I would like to thank the European Sensory Science Society (E3S) for supporting me to attend the seventh Eurosense held in the delightful city of Dijon in France from Septemeber 11th to 14th.

Eurosense is an international conference gathering lots of people involved in sensory and consumer area from academics and industries, which is an excellent and inspiring opportunity to discuss the research with each other and to discover the latest findings and trends in sensory and consumer area.  As a PhD student, listening the talks given by people from different disciplinary and cultural backgrounds and talking to the experts and professionals from Universities, industries and companies make me become more aware of the boundaries of my knowledge, and provide me more inspiration and enthusiasm to deepen my knowledge in this area.

As a PhD student, it is an extremely precious opportunity to give an oral presentation at international conference. My research focuses on individual’s difference in oral fat perception and the mechanisms causing this individual difference. At the moment, the results highlighted that individuals presented diverse oral fat perception; in addition, diverse fat liking between individuals could be explained by this difference in oral fat perception.


In order to understand the reasons causing this individual difference, at the moment, I am doing some laboratory work on analyzing the lipase activity. As free fatty acid is proposed as the stimuli in fat taste but the level of free fatty acids in real foods is minuscule, salivary lipase might play an important role in hydrolyzing triglyceride into free fatty acids; moreover, various lipase activities between subjects might be the reason to explain individual difference in fat taste perception. I wish in the future I could share my results on this aspect with others

I extremely enjoyed the workshop of “Taste sensitivity”. This workshops not only provided a great opportunity to gain the latest findings on individual variation in taste sensitivity, but also, at the end of this workshop, the attention was paid to the challenge of how we could use current findings regarding the individual taste sensitivity to change and improve people’s life and health status.

As a PhD student, it is easy to get trapped into a small area which only relates to my study. However, this conference provided me a window to look outside where the senior researchers stand. It is important to understand what we have done and what we have achieved, but also it is more vital to understand how we can use these findings into practical application, and how we could cooperate together to produce a better research with larger sample sizes at a national level.

As this conference was hold in Dijon, this city is filled with elegant medieval and Renaissance buildings, and the foods and wines were fabulous. This city made the conference more memorable.

Again, I would like to express my sincerest gratitude to E3S for offering me this opportunity to attend this great and interesting conference. I wish other PhD students to have the opportunity to attend this conference as this conference provides useful insights in the latest findings in sensory and consumer research.

Xirui Zhou