Molecular Mixture Models: Accounting for Synergy in Sweet Taste Mixtures

Ennis, D. M. (1999). IFPress, 2(1) 2-3.



The effects of mixtures on the chemical senses are complex and puzzling. One of these effects is called “synergy”. This term is used loosely to describe effects that cannot be explained by additivity of the components alone, and is used even more loosely to describe effects greater than “expected.” There is a lack of clarity concerning the meaning of additivity and synergy in mixture research. Can we define synergy satisfactorily and develop models to predict it? More generally, can we use data from human psychophysical studies on mixtures to draw conclusions about molecular mechanisms that occur on the tongue or at the olfactory epithelium without direct biochemical information?


Figure 1. Linear and non-linear isoboles.