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Water Science & Technology Vol 55 No 5 pp 283–291 © IWA Publishing 2007 doi:10.2166/wst.2007.190

Minerals in drinking water: impacts on taste and importance to consumer health

A.J. Whelton*, A.M. Dietrich*, G.A. Burlingame**, M. Schechs** and S.E. Duncan***

*Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Virginia Tech, 418 Durham Hall, Blacksburg, VA 24061, USA (E-mail: awhelton@vt.edu)
**Bureau of Laboratory Services, Philadelphia Water Department, 1500 E. Hunting Park Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19124, USA
***Department of Food Science and Technology, Virginia Tech, Food Science Building, Room 30, Blacksburg, VA 24061, USA


More than 100 years of research has focused on removing acute and chronic health threats to produce safe drinking water, but limited research has focused the consequences of removing minerals that affect drinking water taste and health. This paper covers the human sense of taste, typical variations in drinking water taste, comparisons of global taste standards, the role of water chemistry and future research needs for understanding consumer preference. Results of several consumer tap and bottled water acceptability investigations conducted by the authors are presented.

Keywords: Bottled water; hardness; health; minerals; odour; taste

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