The US Patent and Trademark Office has approved a new patent for a method that claims 'significant flavor enhancement' of beverages such as Perrier and wine in taste tests, when these products are exposed to acoustic waves from a transponder immersed in liquid.
The patent – field by inventor Alphonse Cassone, of Las Vegas, Nevada (founder of the company Medsonix) – was granted by USPTO on June 12 2012, although it was filed six years ago.
It outlines a method whereby a beverage (which could be the liquid itself) is subjected to acoustic waves from a low frequency sonic transducer, the ‘Cassone Transponder’ (pictured below) immersed in the liquid, which emits acoustic waves from 1-1,000 Hertz for an optimal time of 30 minutes.
Beverages that could be treated include water, juice, soft drinks, sports drinks, dairy drinks, alcoholic beverages, hot beverages, and the patent reports that the invention has been tested on a variety of foods with tasters reporting “significant” improved taste and texture.
“For example, the method has been tested on bottles and/or cans of wine, Perrier sparkling water, water, milk, orange juice,” Patent No: US 8,197,873 (owned by James McCall of Las Vegas, CA) states.
Cuts red wine bitterness
According to the patent, the Cassone Transponder (which already holds patents relating to medical applications), filled a market need for a non-chemical, large volume food flavour enhancement method, and also improved the taste of inferior quality or less expensive food.
“The bitterness from cheap wine seemed to be substantially removed after treatment. The wine and the fruit also appeared to last longer than usual after the treatment,” the patent document states.
“By the use of such methods, the flavour of inferior quality food may be easily and safely enhanced, with the ability to treat large volumes of food simultaneously.”
The technique outlined involves positioning foods between ¼ inch and 20 feet from the liquid, within a “sound-energy field”, with particularly good results obtained between 400-800Hz and an optimal frequency of 600Hz identified.
Restores lost flavours
Discussing the background to the invention, the patent document explains that flavours were determined mainly by the chemical senses of taste and smell, although the ‘trigeminal senses’ that detect chemical irritants in the mouth may also determine flavour.
Natural and artificial flavour enhancers affected these senses, the paper added, but most focused on taste and smell and, “few commercial products exist to stimulate the trigeminal senses, since these are sharp, astringent, and typically unpleasant flavours”.
Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) was the most widely known flavour enhancer, according to the patent, where it was used in foods to restore flavour lost during processing and for bland foods, but unfortunately may give rise to health concerns in sensitive individuals.
US patents last for 20 years, and any successful issue presumes that the process, machine, article of manufacture or composition of matter is: (1) Novel (2) Non-obvious (3) Adequately described or enabled – for one of ordinary skill in the art to make and use the invention.