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Andrea Warburton

PhD Candidate
Food Science

Andrea Warburton profile photo


Tel (479) 8258 ext 8258
Location CSB 220

The Impact of Sensory Interactions on Flavour of Sourdough Bread

Supervised by  Associate Professor Graham Eyres, and Associate Professor Pat Silcock


Andrea was born in Dunedin, and completed many of her qualifications at the University of Otago. She originally completed a BPhEd and BSc, finishing in 2003. She then returned to Dunedin in 2006 to do a Graduate Diploma in Teaching at the Dunedin College of Education.

After having taught food technology for 7 years, both in NZ and the UK, Andrea realised that she wanted to study further in Food Science and again returned to the University of Otago to complete a Diploma for Graduates in Food Science, with the aim to do postgraduate study. She then completed her BSc (Hons) in Food Science in 2016 (13 years after finishing her first BSc) and this has finally enabled Andrea to enter the PhD program. She is fascinated by the perception of food and it's relationship with people, how different aspects and senses interact and how this leads to that final perceptual outcome.

Her varied study and career pathway has also involved Andrea gaining qualifications as a chef and a ski instructor, which allowed her to live in Canada and the USA for short periods of time.

Ideally, she would like to continue in academia after she finishes her PhD, as it would involve two things that she particularly enjoys – her own learning and teaching others.

Outside of University Andrea still continues to ski, but does not instruct anymore. She also runs, plays squash and enjoys photography both of the amazing New Zealand landscape and while she travels.She has her own blog 'Restless kiwi' which includes her photography but will also include her travel stories and food experiences while traveling.

Project Outline

Salt reduction in processed food products is an area of great interest due to the health implications of high salt diets. Through the process of fermentation, sourdough creates bread with a complex sensory profile. Understanding of this complexity provides an ideal food model for fundamental research into the sensory interactions of flavour perception. This increased understanding of sensory interactions can be applied to the challenge of decreasing salt content of bread in particular and further to processed food products as a whole.

Currently the objectives include:

  1. Characterise the taste profile of sourdough bread.
  2. Characterise the aroma profile of sourdough bread.
  3. Investigate how sensory interactions (taste-taste and taste-aroma) affect flavour perception of sourdough bread.
  4. Apply findings of sensory interactions in sourdough to reduce salt content in bread.
  5. Evaluate consumer acceptance of reduced salt sourdough bread.