7 Unusual flavors

For millennia, mankind eats plant and animal foods.But for all our sophistication in the kitchen, the science is still not yet fully understand what the taste.

back to Ancient Greece and Ancient China, we note that the sense of taste has historically been described as a combination of several different views.Western food, for example, for a long period of time based on four basic tastes - sweet, salty, sour and bitter.

However, in recent decades, molecular biology and other modern sciences "moved the" this paradigm.The age-old concept of basic tastes are beginning to crumble."There is no universally accepted definition of taste. The rules are changing every second", - says Michael Tordoff, a behavioral geneticist.

Our ability to feel the taste category appeared due to our taste buds.These tiny senses mainly located on the tongue, palate and the back of the throat.The sense of touch also plays an important role in the sensation of taste, in fact, and the sense of smell affects our tasting abilities.

Nevertheless, scientists regularly find more and more receptors that are responsible for new taste sensations.Here are just a few of them.


calcium Calcium - is a key element in our body that is responsible for muscle contraction, communication between cells, and bone growth.The ability to feel it, probably, can be an important tool necessary for survival.

In mice, it seems, it turns out.Recent studies have shown that the language contains two rodent taste buds that feel calcium.One of those receptors was found in human language, but its role in the ability to feel calcium is not yet determined.

Calcium obviously has taste, but the vast majority of mice (and humans} he did not like it. People describe it as something very bitter and chalky, even at low concentrations. Scientists believe that this taste of calcium exists in order to protect humanfrom too much of its use.

excessive sensitivity to calcium-rich foods such as spinach, may help to explain why many people in the body lack of this element. "There is a very clear link between dislike of vegetables and a lack of the right amount of calcium in the body"- says Tordoff. As for milk and other dairy products that contain calcium, a mineral in them is associated with fat, so we do not feel the taste.

Taste Kockum

This is another contender for the title of the main taste. Inearly 2010 has published an article, which said that certain compounds, including amino acid L-histidine, glutathione yeast extract and fish protamine milk calcium interacts with receptors in our language.

As a result, the taste is enhanced.They also say that the taste can be felt by eating unfermented products.Also, higher levels of Kockum contained in the fighting and slowly cooked food.

burning taste

Some foodies get to enjoy when they feel the taste of pepper.Many Asian cultures believe that feeling body taste.Historically, however, the taste is not classified as basic.

And all because some savory compounds such as capsaicin pepper directly affect only the surface of the tongue, before reaching the receptors themselves.Key piquant burning taste receptor called TYARU1 while he acts as a "molecular thermometer".As a rule, after the "contact" with the taste nerve cells send a signal to the brain of heat under the influence of substances whose temperature is 42 degrees Celsius (the pain threshold of human warmth).Capsaicin "interferes" in the TRPV1 receptor, and reduces the temperature up to 35 degrees, which is cooler than the body temperature.

Thus, the receptor sends a signal to the brain, "oh, hot!", But the food itself is not necessarily at the same hot.These receptors are located throughout the body, so the mucous membranes of the nose or eyes and feel the burn of pepper spray.

cooling taste

On the opposite side of spicy mouthfeel is minty and refreshing taste.Scheme of the taste receptors of the brain and here is the same as in the sensation of burning taste.

Regarding nerves, in this case, and a cooling and hot tastes using brain perceives trigeminal nerve, instead of using the classic three nerves which transmit basic taste sensations to the brain.

However, there is a dispute that temperature sensations as in the real sense, and in a kind of "fooling" the brain, which is the basis for burning and cooling taste, deserve to be in the list of basic tastes.Interestingly, the German people in ancient times considered the sensations of heat and cold in your mouth like the taste, and is currently controversy over the status of temperature sensations are far from complete.

Metallic taste

Another controversial taste - it is our perception of taste metals such as gold and silver.In some Asian cultures, the so-called gold and silver leaf covered with many dishes, while Europeans confined to fantasy metal foil for baking or candy coating.

Although usually tasteless, such dishes, covered with sheets, supposedly have a special flavor.Studies have shown that such feelings is likely related to the electrical conductivity, which is, in fact, becomes a language."If you cut a metal along a penny and place it on the tongue, then you clearly feel the metallic taste, but at the same time, it will serve as a small battery, with drops of saliva you get 550 millivolts."

Lab tests have not been able to identify the receptors responsible for the metallic taste, and it remains unclear whether hiding something else in addition to the electrical conductivity of this or not.

taste fat

Scientists are still arguing as to whether our language may feel the taste of fat, or is he just feels it texture.It is clear that many of us eat fatty foods, ranging from deep-fried steak and ending with the usual fried food."Grease - is a huge source of calories, fat food helps our brain to survive," - says Linda Bartoshuk physiological psychologist at the University of Florida.

According to the study, 2010, published in the British Journal of Nutrition, the mouse can sense the taste of fat, people, apparently, too.The study showed the presence of different taste thresholds for fatty acids.Interestingly, subjects with a high sensitivity to fat consumed less fatty foods and were less likely to be overweight than those whose sensitivity was low.

Bartoshuk, who was not involved in the study, noted that the fatty acids tend to have a very bitter taste.

taste carbon dioxide

Another contender for the title of the special taste appears carbon dioxide.When dissolved in liquids, this gas gives the beer, champagne and other sparkling drinks they hiss.It is familiar to all tingling is believed to occur as a result of rupture of bubbles."This is a complex phenomenon, as has always been assumed that the transmission of signals from the brain of C02 has been associated with trigeminal stimulus" - says Tordoff.

researchers were able to prove that there are receptors responsible for the perception of the taste of carbon dioxide.They discovered an enzyme called carbonic anhydrase 4 under, which is activated when ingested CO2.

Further evidence comes from the drug called acetazolamide, which climbers take to avoid altitude sickness.This drug blocks the activity of carbonic anhydrase 4. Thus, upon reaching the top of the mountain climbers, opening a bottle of beer or champagne, talk about the "boring" taste of the drink.

Articles Source: "An interesting newspaper. The world of the unknown" №8 2012