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Food

Common senses

Menu applications evolve and change, but one thing is sure to stay the same: How we taste and enjoy those applications. Recent research dispels the long-believed theory that taste buds are grouped in the mouth according to specialty. In the last three decades, leading taste researchers such as Dr. Linda Bartoshuk of the Yale University School of Medicine have found that taste buds are not specialized and do not congregate as such—all five senses can be tasted everywhere in the mouth, although they may be perceived at slightly different intensities at different sites on the tongue.

  • There are five different recognizable taste sensations – bitter, sweet, salty, sour and umami – which can be combined in hundreds of ways, creating emotional connections with the addition of aroma, texture and color
  • Flavor is perceived by taste “buds”—groups of taste receptor cells that cluster together like the segments of an orange. The average adult has 10,000, although the number varies widely
  • Taste buds can be found not only on the tongue, but on the soft palate, pharynx, larynx and epiglottis as well
  • While taste buds are not specialized for specific taste sensations, the taste receptor cells that make up taste buds are
  • The tongue is controlled by two major nerves that relay information to the brain ipsilaterally—a taste perceived on one side of the tongue goes up and is interpreted on the same side of the brain—while most nerves work contralaterally, sending their messages to the opposite side of the brain
     

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