Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


School of Nutrition and Food Sciences

Document Type



Corn tortilla, an ancient staple food of Mexico and Central America, is still the base food in those countries and has also become more popular in other countries with high Hispanic population. However, mechanization of corn tortilla production has modified the original sensory attributes to new standards that meet manufacturer’s requirements. The first part of this study attempted to determine the sensory attributes that drive consumer’s decision on the acceptability and purchase intent of the corn tortilla available in the Mexican market. The findings may help manufacturers to improve the processing of tortilla and develop products with ethnic authenticity. Overall acceptance was influenced by overall liking and chewiness, while purchase intent was influenced by overall liking, taste, chewiness, rollability, and overall appearance. The second part of the study was aimed to determine differences in the drives of acceptance and purchase intent among two consumer segments differing in education/profession (faculty/graduate students vs. field laborers). It was observed, in general, that consumers preferred the same samples and they used the same attributes to differentiate samples. However field laborers were more discriminative and demanding on the tortilla quality when judging a product. In the third part, instrumental analysis was conducted in an attempt to correlate instrumental and chemical characteristics with levels of acceptability of corn tortilla sensory attributes. Moisture, crude fat, and sulphur contents, force to extend a tortilla strip, and work and force to roll a piece of tortilla were related with the acceptability ratings of tortilla attributes. The last part was conducted to determine effects of different varieties of corn with a fixed cooking method on some physical and cooking properties of corn before and after cooking and determine the effect of corn variety on the tortilla sensory attributes. Results showed that physical and chemical characteristics of different corn hybrids influenced their cooking properties as well as the resulting characteristics of tortilla products that may be related to acceptability such as color, texture and flavor.



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Committee Chair

Witoon Prinyawiwatkul



Included in

Life Sciences Commons