DIANA and Opertech Bio Announce Collaboration in Taste Science

Collaboration to evaluate the potential of using Opertech’s trained rats as surrogate taste testers across other species including cats and dogs

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Subject Responding on the Non-sucrose Lever

We are delighted to announce this collaboration with DIANA, an international leader in sensorial and nutritional performance and world leader in natural solutions for the food and pet food, nutraceuticals, aquafeed and cosmetics industries.

Elven, France and Philadelphia, PA (PRWEB) December 04, 2013

DIANA and Opertech Bio, Inc. today announced that they have entered into an agreement to collaborate in the area of taste science. The companies will use Opertech Bio’s proprietary high throughput taste evaluation technology known as the Microtiter Operant Gustometer, or MOG, to evaluate the degree of relevance of using rats as surrogate taste testers.

“We are particularly glad to associate OPERTECH BIO to DIANA taste research program. Within our PET FOOD division, we develop sensorial solutions with high level of palatability, thus it is of particular interest that we evaluate taste components using the MOG. Getting quick sensorial answers with several species of animals will allow us to better evaluate the advantages and limits of using such methods, in comparison or complementarily to other methods in the area of molecular biology,” shared Isabelle GUILLER, global research Director for DIANA, PET FOOD DIVISION.

"We are delighted to announce this collaboration with DIANA, an international leader in sensorial and nutritional performance and world leader in natural solutions for the food and pet food, nutraceuticals, aquafeed and cosmetics industries with deep sector knowledge and a global customer base. DIANA represents a natural partner for us, providing strong technical synergies which will help us further advance our taste evaluation technology,” stated Scott Horvitz, Chief Executive Officer of Opertech Bio.

The MOG Approach to Taste Evaluation

Scientists at Opertech Bio have developed the Microtiter Operant Gustometer, or MOG, a high throughput system for measuring both taste quality (what does a sample taste like?) and palatability (how much do I like it?). With the MOG, rats are trained to become expert taste testers. The MOG offers a new cost effective approach to taste evaluation.

Taste quality measurement is achieved through the experimental paradigm of operant taste discrimination. Rats are trained to press two levers for a food pellet reward after they have tasted solutions presented to them in a 96-well plate. To receive the reward, the rats must press the right lever if the solution is a standard (for example, a sweet sugar solution) and the left lever if the solution presented has any other taste. By comparing the percentage of the presses on the right (standard) lever, the degree of similarity between a novel taste stimulus and the taste standard can be quantified.

Palatability of the solutions in the 96-well plate is determined by counting the number of times the rat’s tongue enters the well. The path of a laser beam projected across the top of the well is disrupted by the tongue when the rat licks from the well, and each disruption is counted as a lick. In contrast to other assays for palatability, the rate of licking in the MOG system has been shown to be largely independent of motivational factors like thirst or hunger, and therefore is close to being a pure indication of the hedonic value of the taste stimulus.

About DIANA

DIANA group is a world leader in natural functional solutions for the food, pet food, nutraceuticals, aquafeed and cosmetics industries, and technology leader in plant cell culture, dedicated to the production of active ingredients for food, cosmetics and health.

DIANA PET FOOD DIVISION develops with its customers innovative and performing solutions dedicated to cats and dogs well-being and pet owner satisfaction. It relies on a strong establishment in 5 continents with 660 employees, 16 industrial sites, 17 sales offices, 1 research center, 4 local development and technical support and 3 cat and dog expert panels.

Through its SPF brand, the PET FOOD Division focuses on overall pet food palatability improvement including attributes that impact both the animal and the owner. With a close proximity to both raw materials and markets and thanks to a strong expertise in animal food preferences, it delivers high-performing and quality palatants worldwide. For more information, please visit http://www.diana-group.com

About Opertech Bio, Inc.

Opertech Bio offers the food and beverage and flavor ingredients industries a new cost effective approach to sensory evaluation. Opertech Bio’s technology can be used to discover new flavor ingredients, measure palatability and optimize flavor formulations. For more information, please visit the Company's website at http://www.opertechbio.com.


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Subject Responding on the Non-sucrose Lever Subject Responding on the Non-sucrose Lever

Rats are trained to first lick the contents of a single well, which can be accessed through a small hole in the floor, and then press the lever that is associated with the taste of the sample.


Schematic Diagram of the Microtiter Operant Gustometer (MOG) Schematic Diagram of the Microtiter Operant Gustometer (MOG)

The number of licks is recorded by a laser beam projected across the top of the well to give a quantitative measure of palatability, and the percentage of lever presses quantifies taste quality.