Flavor perception during food intake is one of the main drivers of food acceptability and consumption. Recent studies have pointed to the oral microbiota as an important factor modulating flavor perception. This review introduces general characteristics of the oral microbiota, factors potentially influencing its composition, as well as known relationships between oral microbiota and chemosensory perception. We also review diverse evidenced mechanisms enabling the modulation of chemosensory perception by the microbiota. They include modulation of the chemosensory receptors activation by microbial metabolites but also modification of receptors expression. Specific enzymatic reactions catalyzed by oral microorganisms generate fragrant molecules from aroma precursors in the mouth. Interestingly, these reactions also occur during the processing of fermented beverages, such as wine and beer. In this context, two groups of aroma precursors are presented and discussed, namely, glycoside conjugates and cysteine conjugates, which can generate aroma compounds both in fermented beverages and in the mouth. The two entailed families of enzymes, i.e., glycosidases and carbon–sulfur lyases, appear to be promising targets to understand the complexity of flavor perception in the mouth as well as potential biotechnological tools for flavor enhancement or production of specific flavor compounds.
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