Simulated High-Altitude Taste Testing of Tomato Juice

The taste of tomato juice has been tested at high levels —or, rather,  at simulated high levels. This study contains details about that:

Odor and taste perception at normal and low atmospheric pressure in a simulated aircraft cabin,” Andrea Burdack-Freitag, Dino Bullinger, Florian Mayer, Klaus Breuer, Journal für Verbraucherschutz und Lebensmittelsicherheit, March 2011, Volume 6, Issue 1, pp 95-109. (Thanks to investigator Dany Adams for bringing this to our attention.) The authors, at Fraunhofer Institut für Bauphysik, Germany report:

lufthansa-test-facility“During flights, reduced odor and taste perception is reported…. The conditions on board were simulated at the Fraunhofer flight test facility [pictured here] in Holzkirchen, Germany, consisting of a front fuselage of an Airbus A310-200 in a huge metal tube in which all relevant parameters can be adjusted (humidity, temperature, pressure). Flight tests were carried out at low atmospheric pressure corresponding to cabin conditions on board at cruising altitude and were repeated at normal atmospheric pressure corresponding to ground conditions. All other parameters were kept constant. Under these conditions, test persons smelled and tasted food-safe flavorants to evaluate the mean odor and taste thresholds and tasted different flavored food. Even tomato juice and various wines were tasted for odor and taste qualities, intensities and individual preferences…. Light and fresh flavors decreased, whereas intensive flavors persisted.”

BONUS: An exciting press release about the research

BONUS (possibly unrelated): Jetlag in horses