Tribology of Wine and Wine-Saliva Mixtures

Approaching food oral processing by tribological studies is gaining importance. Mouthfeel attributes of food samples can be described by tribological studies with food samples. During oral processing of food, it is mixed with saliva, which again affects the mouthfeel. This study deals with how saliva changes the tribological behavior of wine samples to enable a deeper understanding of the interrelationship between mouthfeel and tribology. A methodology wherewith one can run tribological measurements with food samples, such as wine in this particular case, is presented here.


There are numerous factors influencing the structure and composition of wine. Besides just the type of wine, the cultivation and harvesting conditions, processing and bottling processes, storage conditions and storage time, and more may all contribute to a certain extent. Depending on the different structure and composition of wines, they may also vary in their mouthfeel characteristics.

Understanding the influence of structural factors on food during oral processing is relevant for comprehending and optimizing the sensory perception during intake, mastication, and swallowing[1].Sensory perception of food during oral intake can be depicted with different types of instrumented testing, such as rheology or texture analysis. A relatively new but promising approach is food tribology. Tribology is the science of interacting surfaces in relative motions. Tribosystems are comprised of the mating surfaces and a lubricant which can be a solid, a liquid or even a gas. Food tribology takes into consideration interactions during bolus formation and processing[2]. During food oral processing, the tongue is pressed against the palate and moves relatively to the latter.

The tongue-palate tribopair is lubricated by the mixture of food and saliva. Understanding the tribological behavior of food can be a key to understanding sensory perception during food oral processing. However, it is unlikely to cover all facets of mouthfeel just by one instrumented technique. It seems much more appropriate to use a multi-disciplinary approach to cover all the necessary aspects of mouthfeel.

The objective of this study was to present a methodology for the tribological characterization of wine-saliva interactions. Complementary viscosity and density characterizations help to get direct insights into the wine samples and wine-saliva mixtures.


  1. Florian Rummel, Xandra Wittmann, Kartik S. Pondicherry and Charlotte Reppich. Experimental Approaches to Biotribology at Different Levels of Abstraction. Göttingen: German Tribology Conference 2017. 2017. ISBN 978-3-9817451-2-2.
  2. Kenneth Kieserling, Sebastian Schalow and Stephan Drusch. Investigation of Friction Properties – From Basic Differentiation to Food Application. Göttingen: Germany Tribology Conference 2017. 2017. ISBN 978-3-9817451-2-2.

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