BACKGROUND: Recent evidence suggests that a lower extent of the retronasal aroma release correspond to a higher amount of ad libitum food intake. This has been regarded as one of the bases of behavioral choices towards food consumption in obese people. In this pilot study we investigated the hypothesis that saliva from obese individuals could be responsible for an alteration of the retro-nasal aroma release. We tested this hypothesis in vitro, by comparing the release of volatiles from a liquid food matrix (wine) after its interaction with saliva from 28 obese (O) and 28 normal-weight (N) individuals. METHODS AND FINDINGS: Amplicon sequencing of the 16S rRNA V4 region indicated that Firmicutes and Actinobacteria were more abundant in O, while Proteobacteria and Fusobacteria dominated in N. Streptococcaceae were significantly more abundant in the O subjects and constituted 34% and 19% on average of the saliva microbiota of O and N subjects, respectively. The Total Antioxidant Capacity was higher in O vs N saliva samples. A model mouth system was used to test whether the in-mouth wine aroma release differs after the interaction with O or N saliva. In O samples, a 18% to 60% significant decrease in the mean concentration of wine volatiles was detected as a result of interaction with saliva, compared with N. This suppression was linked to biochemical differences in O and N saliva composition, which include protein content. CONCLUSION: Microbiological and biochemical differences were found in O vs N saliva samples. An impaired retronasal aroma release from white wine was detected in vitro and linked to compositional differences between saliva from obese and normal-weight subjects. Additional in vivo investigations on diverse food matrices could contribute to understanding whether a lower olfactory stimulation due to saliva composition can be a co-factor in the development/maintenance of obesity.