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The Sense Of Taste
Why We Taste
We taste because without taste we would not
have a desire for food. The reason that we
have different types of taste is because we
need certain nutrients, and certain toxins are
bad for us. For example, we taste salty foods
because we need sodium chloride, we like
sweets since we need carbohydrates and
sugar is a form of carbohydrates. The reason
that we taste bitter and sour (which is a
negative taste) is because many poisons and
toxins taste bitter or sour.
Taste Qualities
Properties Of The Taste System
You can taste 5 different reactions: salty,
umami ( savory), sour, sweet, bitter.
 A single taste bud contains 50-100 taste
cells that can taste all 5 taste sensations
 Smell and taste are related because they
are both controlled by the same part of
the brain.
Smell and Taste Relationship
The papillae of the
 Four types:
1) Filiform; entire
surface; no taste
2) Fungiform; tip and
3) Foliate; sides
4) circumvallate; back
The taste bud. All papillae except filiform contain
taste buds (n=10,000). No buds in the center of
the tongue. Bud is a cluster of taste cells.
Sweet:Na selective channel ,or activate AC –cAMP-closing Kselective
 Bitter:IP3-iCa increase- active synapses
 Salty:amiloride sensitive Na channel
 Sour:iH increase-block K channel
CNS Pathways
Taste and Smell produce Flavor. Percent correctly
recognizing smell with nostrils open (solid) or
closed (shaded)
Brain Processing of Flavor
Sourness is the taste that detects acids.
 The taste of sour is sharp, tart or tangy
 Some sour food items are whisky, lemon
or lime juice and soda water
 Sour is also a negative taste because
rotten food often taste sour
The reason we taste salt is (as stated
earlier) because our bodies need sodium
chloride which aids in the absorption of
other nutrients in the small intestine,
regulates blood pressure, and acidic
balances in the body.
 The salty substance we have given you
to taste is table salt note how the taste is
Bitterness may taste sharp, acrid and
 Many people find bitter tastes to be too
 Bitter is also negative because it
resembles toxins or poisons.
 Some foods that taste bitter are some
chocolates, ginger , and olives directly
from the tree
Sweetness is produced by the presence
of sugars, some proteins and a few other
 The reason why we taste sweetness is
the need for carbohydrates which is
present in sugars as previously stated
 Foods that are sweet are honey, sugars,
fruits and any confections
Umami (Savory)
Savoriness or umami is the name for the
taste sensation produced by the fats
commonly found in fermented and aged
 The additive monosodium glutamate
(MSG) often gives a very savory taste.
 Foods that taste savory are cheeses, soy
sauce, meats, walnuts
How We Taste
If you were to look at your tongue you would
see many small fleshy colored spots these are
called papillae, these papillae contain about
252 taste buds, which are the cells that sense
 Taste all starts when molecules from foods are
mixed with saliva this reaction gives the taste
buds a signal, which in turn sends a signal to
the gustatory nerves, the taste nerves, they
send messages to the brain which sends the
right response back to the taste buds and so
that response is what we taste.
Taste Among Individuals
Every persons tastes are different,
nobody likes all the same foods. This is
because everyone has different
experience, certain factors affect likes
and dislikes of tastes such as: smoker or
non-smoker, age and now as scientists
have discovered it can also be
Taste Among Individuals cont.
As in super-tasters, normal tasters, non-tasters
Super-tasters have more taste buds then average and
therefore and more sensitive to taste and make up
25% of the population
Normal tasters have average amounts of taste buds
and make up 50% of the population and this is the
dominant trait
Non-tasters have less taste buds than average and
therefore have less sensitive tastes and things taste
bland to them and it is a recessive trait and they make
up 25% of the population
Durian is a fruit from the South East Asia.
30 known species of durian
They are covered in a very thorny husk and range from 11-15
inches in diameter and weight around 11 pounds
The husk is normally a bright green and the flesh inside is a bright
They can be found at many specialty Asian food markets