Bioactive aroma compounds

The perception of aroma compounds in humans is based on the senses of taste and smell. These senses are responsible to classify substances as tolerable or intolerable. This allows humans to decide before the uptake of a substance whether it is beneficial or dangerous for the body. On a molecular level, taste and smell are based on the binding of aroma compounds to taste and smell receptors, which are located in the mouth or the nose. After the binding of the aroma compound, the receptors trigger a signal that is transduced via the nerve fibers to the brain. Besides this basic function of taste and smell receptors, also other functions were attributed to these receptors within the last years, that go far beyond the perception of taste and smell. The exploration of these new functions is one of the central research topics the Institute of Physiological Chemistry is focusing on.

Since taste receptors are not only found on the tongue, but also in many other tissues of the human body, like the stomach, intestine, lungs or brain, aroma compounds can trigger responses also in these tissues. The digestive tract and metabolic pathways are of special interest to our institute, because we mainly work with aroma compounds found in food.

In more detail, we want to discover how aroma compounds and taste modulating substances influence satiety, food intake, fat metabolism, gastric acid secretion and cell-cell-communication. For this purpose, we perform in vitro studies with cellular models resembling different tissues of the body on the one side and human intervention studies on the other side.


  1. Taste and chemotherapy
  2. CDL for bioactive aroma compounds