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The Human Flavorome Project


Online communities and social networks contain a massive digital footprint regarding the collective human preference for combinations of food ingredients in the form of online recipes.

The Human Flavorome Project aims to map this digital culinary landscape by first compiling the concentration of major taste-active compounds in food ingredients. This preliminary compositional data will then be used to explore the relationship between the chemical concentration of these taste components in online recipes and the popularity of those recipes, captured through digital metrics such as views, likes, and engagements on digital platforms.


These data sets will be analyzed for patterns that potentially link human preference for certain foods by evaluating palatability synergies of taste-actives in these culinary combinations. Unlike sensory evaluation panels used by the food industry, where a small number of trained panelists consume a food product and provide numerical outputs based on their subjective perception of specific taste properties, the Human Flavorome Project can take advantage of a much larger pool of digital data, a larger number of food combinations, and potentially examine taste patterns with greater statistical significance. Ultimately, the goal of the project will be to construct a topographic map of human taste preference to certain food combinations.


Libraries of culinary categories will be analyzed and generated to provide roadmaps in achieving optimal taste desired by consumers, based on the chemical profiles of the ingredients themselves. The initial focus of the project will be on savory cuisine, as these insights could have a direct impact on our understanding of the palatability of alternative proteins and other future novel foods. These maps will be designed to guide food entrepreneurs, business owners, startups, and companies in new product design.


The hope will be that these knowledge resources will reduce time to market for these commercial ventures during the product development cycle.


  1. Under the "Dashboard" tab, click the input box underneath "Ingredients".

  2. Type in your ingredient. Choose over 350 different options found under the "Inputs" tab. Hint: If you can't find the ingredient, type "Other".

  3. Click the dropdown button to the right of the input box. Select the ingredient.

  4. Click the input box underneath "Units", next to "Weight" or "Volume.

  5. Type the units of weight or volume of the ingredient. Hint: Options for units are found in the "Inputs" tab.

  6. Click the dropdown button to the right of the input box. Select the unit of weight or volume.

  7. Click the input box underneath "Weight" or "Volume". Type the amount.

  8. Repeat for all other ingredients.

  9. The calculator will give you the "Umami Intensity", "Kokumi Intensity", and "Saltiness Intensity" in the cells to the right.

Note: Umami and kokumi are not strictly additive. The concentration of different umami potentiators affects one another non-linearly, so synergies can occur where two ingredients combined contribute much more umami intensity than a single ingredient alone.

See the "References" tab for more details.

Current Approximations:

  • All water content in the food ingredients contributes to solubilizing umami solutes.

  • Concentration remains constant during cooking (assumption will be updated in later versions once heat-transfer kinetics from various burner types, heating containers, and evaporation rates are calculated).

  • Cooking does not modify umami solutes through Maillard reactions.

  • Umami intensity remains constant regardless of temperature.

  • Umami intensity is only affected by changes in sodium ion concentration, and does not include potassium (this will be updated to include potassium in later versions) and magnesium (minor effect).

  • pH does not affect umami (this will be modified in later versions).

  • Counter-ions have no effect on taste perception. This is untrue, as the presence of phosphate or acetate ions diminishes the effect of sodium and potassium on umami intensity. But for simplification, we assume only chloride ions are being added in or already found natively in food ingredients, as there is limited data on the concentration of phosphates and acetates in food.

  • Data from canine umami receptors are being used here to bridge the relationship between sodium ions and umami intensity, and the assumption here is that they are sufficiently similar to human umami receptors to merit their incorporation.

Revisions Log:


v.2.2.0 (3/4/2024) - Added concentrations of ingredients containing high-intensity kokumi substance, gamma-glutamyl-valyl-glycine, and modeled kokumi enhancement from substance to calculator. Included minimum concentration taste thresholds as step-wise functions (to be modified later as continuous functions).


v.2.1.0 (2/28/2024) - Incorporated glutathione and cysteine sulfoxides as kokumi-enhancers and added relationships between umami, kokumi, and saltiness intensity.


v.2.0.0 (2/28/2024) - Incorporated sodium and potassium ions in reference ingredients. Added new "Saltiness Intensity" index. Removed "Individual Contribution" of ingredients for umami intensity. Added new ingredients, including different salts and sugar sources.


v.1.0.3. (1/17/2024) - Modified UI design for Inputs and Reference tabs. Hide Raw Data tab. Added tomato varietals, flesh, and pulp as ingredients.


v.1.0.2. (1/16/2024) - Added spirulina as ingredient.


v.1.0.1. (1/15/024) - Removed excess tabs. Organized Inputs tab by ingredient category.

Get in Touch

11713 169th St Ct E

Puyallup, Washington, 98374

United States of America

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