How does the sense of taste work?
The gustatory perception (lat. gustus = taste / taste) or in other words: the sense of taste, is realized by taste buds in the mouth. An adult has about 5,000 taste buds on the tongue, oral mucosa and pharynx. Although the taste buds renew at regular intervals, but with age, the renewal after and the number of taste buds, and thus the taste, decreases.
Our gustatory perception is based primarily on chemical stimuli, The saliva dissolves molecules from the supplied food. On taste buds (each taste possesses its own, specific receptors on the tongue), the molecules induce an electrical excitement upon short-term binding with the taste spores, which spreads from the individual taste bud, via a taste nerve fiber, to the 7, 9 and 10 cranial nerves.
The sense of smell has a strong influence on the sense of smell. Without sense of smell, the general taste is greatly reduced. A typical everyday example: With a cold or a broken nose even spicy food loses its taste.
But what is the sense of taste? Our sense of taste prevents us from absorbing harmful food. So we react for example on bitter taste immediately with disgust and nausea. This mechanism also works for infants who clearly respond to the different tastes. Taste is therefore not something we learn in the course of life, but already genetically carry in us, because it is necessary for survival. At the same time, the sense of taste also points to high-energy (fruit), egg-containing (meat) and indispensable (salt) foods. By the way, our brain reacts most positively to sugary foods because any kind of sugar provides a fast and above all high energy supply.
In the following the five taste qualities are shown. The structure of the taste buds has its own article.
The five taste qualities
Function: Reference to edible and high-energy foods
Sweet foods: e.g. Raspberries, bananas, chocolate, wine gum
Function: supply of essential salts (sodium chloride)
Function: Warning against harmful acids and immature fruits
Sour food: unripe fruit
Triggers: bitter substances
Function: Warning of potentially poisonous foods
Bitter food: unripe fruit
Triggers: glutamic acid
Function: Supply of protein-rich foods
Foods with Umami taste: meat, cheese
Deterioration does not belong to the taste qualities. The feeling of pain is caused by pain and heat receptors (for example in chili, pepper, radish, onions).