Recent scientific research indicates that there's a sixth taste, oleogustus. Responsible for the flavorful taste of fat in small quantities, and rancidity in large quantities. The research also indicates that the oleogustus is primarily attributed to the long chain fatty acids in dietary fats.

I'm looking for a way to add concentrated oleogustus flavor to dishes. Much the same way that MSG adds umami or sugar adds sweetness. One of the primary reasons being that low-fat foods could be made more palatable by the addition. For example lean cuts of beef cooked with oleogustus would take more like their well-marbled counterparts.

I've looked extensively to find any writing on this topic, but haven't come across anything substantial. My hunch is that high omega-3 fish or flax oils might do the trick. DHA, EPA and ALA are all 20-carbon fatty acid chains, which should give them a strong oleogustus flavor. But getting the ratios right is another problem, too much oleogustus is always bad tasting. And fish oil isn't exactly known for being tasty, so maybe it's introducing too many other undesirable flavors.

Any thoughts on how to distill an essence of oleogustus taste? Or whether it's even worth trying to add this flavor?


  • 1
    From my brief reading, the 'oleogustus' flavor is said to be unpleasant, why are you trying to add it?
    – Nat Bowman
    Commented Oct 23, 2017 at 16:44
  • Most references to oleogustus date from about 2015; I haven't found anything new about that.
    – Max
    Commented Oct 23, 2017 at 16:46
  • 5
    Seems ambitious to say it's the sixth taste, given that in the Wikipedia article on taste, it's one of ten "further sensations". Also it seems like this might all be based on one or two studies? I kind of feel like this is nitpicking, except the concept and definition of the flavor are kind of core to your question; it's going to be hard for people to say what would add this taste besides fat if the definition is just "a taste that fat maybe has".
    – Cascabel
    Commented Oct 23, 2017 at 16:51
  • 1
    "For example lean cuts of beef cooked with oleogustus would take more like their well-marbled counterparts." Doesn't marbling also affect the texture/mouthfeel? You'd be hard-pressed to emulate that without chemically or mechanically affecting the meat.
    – JAB
    Commented Oct 23, 2017 at 17:43
  • @NatBowman The original paper on the topic reported that subjects found oleogustus in small concentrations to be flavorful. Other papers have reported that reduced oleogustus sensitivity is associated with obesity and higher dietary fat intake. That at least suggests that to some extent that people seek out the taste, to a certain degree. There's probably an "ideal level" of oleogustus, hence why insensitive tasters add more fat to their diet.
    – user79126
    Commented Oct 23, 2017 at 19:11

1 Answer 1


The journal article lists the chemicals they used, the concentrations tested, and the suppliers they purchased them from (https://academic.oup.com/chemse/article-lookup/doi/10.1093/chemse/bjv036). Contact the manufacturer and ask for pricing. Their website will likely give quantities and item numbers. Make sure it is food grade. I’ve been able to buy small quantities of pure food grade chemicals for $40 from Sigma (as a business). It’s possible they do not sell to individuals though. As a second source, try amazon.

  • Thanks Kevin! Having a reference to the chemicals and concentrations is very helpful. I wish I could upvote you, but don't have enough reputation :-(.
    – user79126
    Commented Oct 25, 2017 at 14:10
  • You gain reputation when you accept an answer, so make sure you do that. Commented Oct 25, 2017 at 14:32

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