Click me

The Science of Taste

The Science of 00000 We all know certain foods we can't get enough of, as well as foods that we refuse to get near. What exactly is taste and how does it really work? Taste is perceived through the sensory organs called taste buds which are located in the bumps (papillae) on your tongue. The human tongue is covered in 2,000-5,000 taste buds. Each taste bud has between 50-100 taste receptor cells which convey the sensation to our brain. There are other taste buds located throughout the mouth on the roof, cheeks and throat. The four main tastes we distinguish: SWEET SOUR SALTY BITTER UMAMI There is a fifth debated taste called umami which is a pleasant savory flavor. It is described as brothy or meaty. DIFFERENT AREAS OF THE TONGUE ARE MORE SENSITIVE TO DIFFERENT FLAVORS: We detect salty At the very back of flavors on the forward the tongue we detect sides of the tongue. bitter tastes. Sour is detected just a Sweet is bit further back on the detected at the şides of the tongue, tip of the tongue. past salty. OYLY The idea that taste is only perceived in certain regions has been wildly popular but is actually untrue. Certain areas of the tongue are more sensitive to certain tastes, but all taste receptors can and do detect all tastes. This debunking came about with The tongue isn't the only the popularization of the fifth place that can detect taste. taste, umami, which doesn't We have taste receptors all have a place on the traditional over our mouth. tongue map. So How Do We Really Taste Things? Gustatory Receptor Cells Supporting Cells In each taste bud there are roughly 50 gustatory receptor cells and basal and supporting cells. They are contained in the papillae. Basal Gustatory Hair Taste Pore On each gustatory cell there is a gustatory hair which extends just outside the taste bud through an opening called a taste pore. When you put something in your mouth those molecules mix with saliva. This mixture enters through the taste pore, interacts with the gustatory hairs and stimulates the sensation of taste. Gustatory Area When that sensation is stimulated, it activates the gustatory impulse; receptor cells then synapse with neurons and pass electrical impulses to the gustatory area of your brain. SWEET! Your brain then interprets that sensation as taste. Where Do Our Food Preferences Come From? There are four main ways of developing food preferences: too salty. yucky! 2 INNATE FACTORS ENVIRONMENTAL INFLUENCES Naturally we don't like bitter or sour tastes as they might indicate the food has gone bad. What is mainly available to you or part of your culture is typically preferred. LEARNED BEHAVIOR MOTHER INFLUENCES Consistent exposure to a food that a Much of what a mother eats while person might not like can help them learn to like it. pregnant or drinks while breastfeeding will influence children's' taste preferences as they get older. SOURCES foodydirect Taste."Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 27 Feb. 2014. Web. 02 Mar. 2014 Hatfield, Heather. "The Science Behind How We Taste." WebMDWebMD, n.d. Web. 03 Mar. 2014. Taste what's out there "Umami. "Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 03 Mar. 2014. Web. 03 Mar. 2014. "Food Matters: Tongue Map." James Beard Foundation.N.p., n.d. Web. 03 Mar. 2014. Wanjek, Christopher. "The Tongue Map: Tasteless Myth Debunked." LiveScience.TechMedia Network, 29 Aug. 2006. Web. 03 Mar. 2014 Dowdey, Sarah. "How Taste Works." HowStuffWorks., 25 Oct. 2007. Web. 03 Mar. 2014. "The Development of Food Preferences | Psych Central. "Psych N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Mar. 2014.

The Science of Taste

shared by zackua on May 08
Taste is a beautiful and mysterious thing that gives every person a unique experience with flavor and food. As food lovers, we understand that taste includes numerous factors like temperature, texture...






Did you work on this visual? Claim credit!

Get a Quote

Embed Code

For hosted site:

Click the code to copy


Click the code to copy
Customize size