Dr Conor Delahunty

Dr Conor Delahunty: flavour matters

Dr Conor Delahunty: what flavour is that?

Dr Conor Delahunty applies flavour and sensory science to the food industry.

  • 10 January 2012 | Updated 11 January 2012

Current activities

Dr Conor Delahunty joined CSIRO in 2006 as Research Group Leader, Food Quality, Measurement and Perception.

He leads research in flavour science and sensory science that both underpins our basic understanding, and is applied in the food industry.


Prior to his current position with CSIRO, Dr Delahunty was Senior Lecturer and Director of the Sensory Science Research Centre at the University of Otago, New Zealand. Before that he was Principal Investigator of Sensory Science Research at University College Cork, Ireland.

Dr Delahunty leads research in flavour science and technology which is basic to our understanding of consumer preferences.

Dr Delahunty is well known for his research with dairy products, with a focus on cheese flavour and the sensory properties of cheese. He has also made significant contributions to the development of flavour science, sensory and consumer science methodology.

In the sensory and consumer science area, he has worked extensively with descriptive analysis and preference mapping techniques with many different product types.

In the flavour science area he is best known for his contributions to the study of volatile compound release and perception, particularly in the mouth, and for research concerning real-time and rapid measurement of the composition and release of volatiles for applications in food quality.

He has also worked with gas chromatography-olfactometry, in both method development and in applications.

Academic qualifications

Dr Delahunty was granted:

  • Bachelor of Agricultural Science from University College Dublin, Ireland, 1990
  • Master of Science in food science from University College Dublin, 1991
  • Doctor of Philosophy in flavour and sensory science from the University of Strathclyde, Scotland, 1998.


Dr Delahunty has proposed and led large multi-disciplinary European Union Framework projects.

The project, Healthy Ageing: How Changes in Sensory Physiology, Sensory Psychology and Socio-Cognitive Factors Influence Food, involved 24 different research centres and industry, who in collaboration studied losses of sensory ability that accompany ageing, and the effects of these losses on food choice.

At the University of Otago, Dr Delahunty collaborated closely with colleagues in Nutritional Sciences with a view towards understanding infants and toddlers eating habits, and towards understanding acceptance of fruits in diet, and compliance with dietary advice.

In addition to his research activities, Dr Delahunty has developed and taught sensory and consumer science courses to undergraduate students at both University College Cork and at the University of Otago, and he has supervised the research of numerous Masters and Doctorate students.

Dr Delahunty has authored and co-authored more than 100 scientific research papers and articles.

Read more in the Food Futures Flagship overview.