Talk:Basic taste

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General comments[edit]

I'm not trying to be facetious, but what about celery? That's a taste that seems completely unique to me. And so I guess one couldn't argue that it's a factor in other tastes, but now I'm curious as to what it is about celery that makes it taste the way it does.

Along the same lines, it would be nice if this article included something about wasabi/horseradish in the location about false heat. It's quite a different sensation from capsaicin. 18:39, 11 June 2006 (UTC)lwsReply[reply]

My understanding is that only the basic tastes are sensed with the taste buds. Other tastes are really smells. I'm no chemist, but I remember reading somewhere that some smells (like chocolate) are associated with a single chemical, while others (like strawberry) are quite complicated. -- Janet Davis

What we colloquially call the "taste" of a food is indeed a very complex mixture of taste, smell, and texture. With smell supressed, one generally can't tell the difference between an apple and a pear, for example. I don't know what it is about celery that you find unique, but you could do an experiment: find something that will puree to a similar texture (like lettuce ribs or jicama), and adjust the puree to have the same sugar content, acidity, and salt content as an equal amount of celery. (Celery should not jave significant glutamates or alkaloids, but I suppose you could adjust with MSG and parsley too). Clip your nose shut, close your eyes, and have someone randomly select one of the purees for you to taste and see if you can tell the difference. These are the kinds of experiments that led to what we now know about taste. --LDC

And clipping your nose may not even be enough if you've a good sense of smell. The sinuses have intimate connection with the throat, and as foods are masticated, their essential oils and other aromatic molecules can easily reach their vapor point in the mouth, and backwash into anterior nasal cavity as they're swallowed.

At any rate, I argue that the Chinese classification of spicy as a distinct flavor is correct, along with mintiness, or as I've read, peppermint. The heat sensation caused by eating hot foods is caused by chemoreceptors in heat-sensitive nerves. These are chemically and neurologically distinct from the others in this article's list. If you're experiencing chemical heat on the tongue, who's to say that's not a taste?

Also, I distinctly recall peppermint being a flavor. This was high school biology, and though the diagram of the peppermint molecule slotting into its own chemoreceptor is pretty distinct in my mind, it was some time ago I may have forgotten something, or the material may now be obsolete. I'll do more research and come back to this page when I'm sure.

Also, there's a taste for PCBs, which is a recessive hereditary trait. Only a minority of the population can taste them (and it's very much a tongue taste: orderless to me, and very bitter).

--Clarknova 01:05, 22 Jun 2004 (UTC)

Basic taste box[edit]

Does anyone find it funny that all of the basic tastes listed in the box at the bottom of the page redirect to here? And that there's only one article in the category Basic tastes? — Shoecream 07:52, Feb 11, 2005 (UTC)

I concur. I've removed the template from this page and listed both the template and the category for deletion. —Caesura 20:36, 20 Mar 2005 (UTC)

What is bitter detecting? From the article it is stated that:

  • Sweet = Sugars
  • Salty = Salt (NaCl)
  • Sour = Acids
  • Umami = Glutamates

What about bitter? Alkaloids are mentioned, but it is a bit vague compared to the other 'tastes'. Ashmoo 01:17, 15 Apr 2005 (UTC)

sour is acidic things and bitter alkaline things. So acids=sour and bases=bitter (this is just general I am not sure how far this goes, but it is the basic idea) say1988 02:23, Apr 16, 2005 (UTC)

Say1988: That's not true, basicity has nothing whatsoever to do with bitterness. Sweet, bitter, and umami taste receptors can detect a wide range of chemically diverse compounds, simply because there are many different receptors for the same taste. Sweet can also detect many l-amino acids, even lead acetate, umami detects certain nucleotides in addition to glutamate, and bitter detects a broad range of compounds like certain d-amino acids, certain alkaloids like quinine and caffeine, as well as many non-alkaloid natural products. Cacycle 09:54, 16 Apr 2005 (UTC)

- It is not correct definition: "acids=sour and bases=bitter". In common life we don't use bases products with pH>7,1 (why - I don't know... may be human cell membrane with fat compounds very unstable in high pH). We use only neutral (pH=7) and acidic (pH<7) products, but it is simple to taste bases taste: it is taste of natural (fat-based) soap, we can also taste Na2CO3 solution (sult+bases taste together) dilution of NaOH ~0.001M... So bitter is no bases! Alexandrov 11:43, 30 November 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]


So the whole reason I am here in the first place and have commented on this page at all stems from a BBC television piece whicvh was shown on the science channel about why humans have evolved to like and dislike certain things, in the first 20 minute sor so they begin to talk about tastes and smells, and they touch on the 4 basic sences (I was surprised they didn't mention Umami actually) debunk the myth about the taste-map, mention under-tasters and super-tasters, and what have you.

But what struck me as odd, was most of my life growing up, my favorite flavor sensation has been Sour, however they give a relatively detailed explinatio of the 'four' basic flavors except for sour, they explain sweet = carbs = energy, that salty = our need for salt to retain water and w/e, and that bitter = help us not eat/drink poisons (They actually go as far as to try and feed babies completely harmless vegetables known for their bitter taste to try ti illustrate that it is instinctual for us to avoid them).

That being said this is my rememberance of what they had to say about Sour after mentioning the other four: "Sour is a bit more tricky." That is all. The flavor I was hoping their flavor expert woudl explain the instinctual craving for most was glossed over as a bit too tricky to explain at that time.

So I thought well you knwo what now I'm really curious, Wikipedia will help me out. However... all this artical had to say about sour boiled down to "Sour is an acidic taste", which is tantamount to saying the sky is blue, both in it's vagery and truthyness. I am hoping someone can update the sour section which seems to be the vaguest of the 5 basic sences in this artical, and has not off-shoot references unlike all the other basic sences, with more informatio abotu what sour is and why we might be attracted to sour or repellled from it. 02:57, 14 December 2006 (UTC) Q 2006-12-13 21:55 (GMT-5)Reply[reply]

I agree, the extreme shortness of the sour section dissapointed me. There are whole foods and candies based on sourness, yet only a stub of a section about it. Sabar 06:23, 14 March 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think it should have its own article eventually - a single paragraph is a bit of a joke when sweetness is 11kb. I imagine our repulsion by strong sourness evolved to protect us from highly acidic substances that would damage our digestive tissue, however I quite like sour fruits myself - as long as they are not too sour there is a certain appeal to them. Being able to eat unripe fruits before another organism gets them is probably advantageous as well. I guess we'll just have to wait for someone to work on it though, I certainly haven't got the time right now. Richard001 07:12, 26 May 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Where would the umami taste buds be on a taste map of the tongue? It strikes me that no taste map that I've seen has the umami-sensitive area on it! Scorpionman 01:57, 4 May 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I've been reading that the traditional "map" of taste buds is probably less than accurate or even completely bogus. I also think that the taste buds are more intermixed on the tongue. I can certianly taste saltiness with the tip of my tongue (the "sweet zone"). --Millard73 04:28, September 13, 2005 (UTC)

So, umami isn't an officially recognized taste, its name is of recent origin (around the same time MSG was discovered), yet it is presented in this page as a well-known taste. Personally, i had never heard of umami before checking out this page. I had, however, heard of savory. I've heard it on cooking shows, on the radio, cooking classes, and so forth. I think savory is a far more pervasive term for this flavor, and should be used in place of umami as it has a far greater history behind it from a culinary perspective and clearly refers to the same thing. To say that there is no word in the western world that is equivalent to umami is really false. Should this be changed, and perhaps emphasize umami the same way "moreish" (a word i've certainly never heard of) is, and link the word to a new page that describes umami and it's ties to the discovery of MSG?

I mean, if you ask me, umami seems more of a word used to market MSG or used to make an individual seem more asio-centric and "cultured". A simple google search seems to support this, with the top result (Aside from this page) being a site that seems to propagadize glutamate/MSG, and almost none providing actual scientific research that refers to meaty, salty flavor as "umami".

So why not just use savory instead, with a side note that mentions umami? Sp0rk 18:11, 30 April 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

You've heard of savory because it means something else. [1] — Gulliver 00:29, 1 May 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I agree with the above comments regarding umami and savoury, and so have changed the article to reflect the more commonly used term. I also removed the short sidetrack into the spelling of the term umami, to keep the article on taste rather than translation. --KexpWatch 02:26, 19 July 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I dissagree with the above comments; a google search for savoury taste gives results which refer to umami as the taste, and describe it as savoury. Also if you do a crossref search you get 9470 for 'umami taste', 509 for 'savoury OR savory taste', which indicates that umami is what scientists call the taste, not just a word used to market MSG. As Gulliver said, savoury refers to something else - at least when I use the word it does. --PhiJ 11:13, 26 May 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

If nobody objects, I'll change it back to umami, for the reasons given above. I don't think the change saying that taste scientists use the term umami covers the issue, as when other people say savoury we mean more of a range of tastes or even flavours. Answers describes it as 'Piquant, pungent, or salty to the taste; not sweet.' Which is a bit more than just umami. --PhiJ 15:25, 13 September 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Nobody objected, not even KexpWatch, so I've changed it back. Hope I haven't started an edit war! --PhiJ 13:39, 7 November 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]


In recent years, I've become amazed at the number of edibles whose discovery as such could only have been a consequence of adding a LOT of sugar to things otherwise entirely bitter and unappetizing. Only the most obvious of these is cocoa. If it's true that we evolved disdain for bitterness (i.e., this trait was selected for as a consequence of bitterness-indifferent or bitterness-loving people either dying from poisons or not being selected as mates ["eeew! he likes quinine! gross!" {"just a chaw o' willah bark between cheek and gum, ethel . . . "}]), it seems this development didn't rescue us from eating bitter things. Our weirdness merely impelled us to add sugars to these bitter things, thus discovering all kinds of wonders we still enjoy.

How on EARTH did anyone ever taste bitter cocoa, and think "hey, if I add a lot of sugar to this it'll be GREAT," but on the other hand taste some bitter toxic plant and not have a similar thought?

Personally, it seems much more likely to me that our ancestors were pretty capable of -- hello? -- recognizing plants that were poison by sight, and taught their children to avoid them. Bitterness doesn't compel us to avoid foods -- it compels us to add sugar and still eat them!

My experience is that sugar has been extremely overemphasized in the western diet; consider that according to Economic Botany, cocoa was originally served as a drink with chilli pepper (and often thickened with cornmeal). It wasn't until 1600's that Europeans got rid of the chilli and added sugar to make it more palitable to their tastes. So the original role for cocoa would probably have been for its stimulant properties and a little bit for its flavor (think of it a bit like a spice). Added sugar is not the norm for human evolution, it is the recent exception (the desire was always there, as well as for fats, because they are hard to find in nature). If you give up foods with added sugar for a week or two, you'll really start to notice how good some things taste. -- Limulus 06:25, 3 November 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]
"How on EARTH did anyone ever taste bitter cocoa, and think..." - I can't claim it as a fact, but I imagine it's the caffeine and theobromine in cocoa that kept people drinking it. Like coffee and alcohol, we're often willing to eat something with an unpleasant taste if a pleasant effect follows. Once people tasted cocoa and felt good afterward, I expect they would have gone to work trying to find someway to make it taste better without losing the caffeine. 18:32, 15 January 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Anosmia only refers to loss of the sense of smell, not to the loss of taste. Perhaps agustate would be more appropriate although I'm not convinced that it is a real word. It should be though.

I changed "food poisoning" to "accidental poisoning" in the bitterness section since food poisoning is actually a term for (microbial) food-borne illness, and is not usually preventable by taste.

I removed "Bitterness is the taste which detects bases" because it is untrue. Although many bases taste bitter, not all bitter compounds are bases. I also removed some of the details on denatonium because they are readily available at that wiki entry and not particularly relevant to this one. I also added in some about PROP because it is now used in human studies instead of PTC and is closely related to the compound. Smirkster 23:22, 4 January 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Mint or Cold?[edit]

Shouldn't mintiness be described as another taste sensation? And as I recall reading, the cause of mintiness was recently isolated and made available for other products. Citizen Premier 06:28, 22 November 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]

- Yes, some substances activate heat and cold receptors - menthol, camphor (cold); ethanol, dichlorethane, piperine(warm).

Is it taste? - what do you think?

I just added "cold" (unsure if there's a better name for this sensation), and made that and "pungent" subsections to a new section "other sensations", as I believe neither are called "tastes" in word of mouth, although they *are* sensations felt. I also noticed other parts of the article referred to the recent "fat receptor" research as the possibly sixth taste, which would conflict with us listing "pungent" as the sixth already, so I thought that was a decent solution. I also added "fat" under this "other sensations" section to detail a bit of the experiments done here. -- Jugalator 00:18, 28 December 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Why "cold"? The pungent section doesn't say "hot!" Plus, everyone knows what mint is, but cold sounds like frozen foods. I renamed the section "Mint" but it got reverted. I won't get into edit wars, so someone else please change it to "mint." -Iopq 10:55, 1 February 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I just correct Mint to Cold because "integral taste" is the form of interference of "pure taste receptors" with trigeminal (cold-hot) component of total sense. Mint is too concret...

May be "hot" taste (from dichlorethane and other) also more perfect than "pungent"? Alexandrov 13:11, 2 February 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Styptic or tart[edit]

Why you don`t admit taste of tannine / tea? It drawing of mouth - also as black thorn berry (Prunus spinosa) and Zeu's-wheat (ebony persimmon) (Diospyros). Isn't it taste?

And it is not anaesthetic effect - as well some substance (as some bitter cucumber peel and so on). Alexandrov

Google give me only 161 documents for "Styptic taste"!!! Who can find this taste in other languages - where this taste is more popular, in what nations / cultures? Alexandrov 14:56, 23 January 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply] German - only 74 for the "adstringierender Geschmack"...

... but in Russian - 867 (Googly); or 18 728 (in Yandex - search machine) for the words "вяжущий вкус", and 24 400 for the "терпкий вкус" (it is russian synonim for this taste)! Would-be in the Russian culture this taste really more "popular" than in the English-Saxon ones? As Umami - in China culture?!! Alexandrov 15:26, 23 January 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I added it. I think tart is a more popular word even though it sometimes describes sour taste, it is not as confusing at styptic. -Iopq 10:53, 1 February 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Ok. My native language is russian, so you can find the best formula. It is interesting to look how (in historical time) humans in different culture can step-by-step add new tastes to "sensual space" of ones. And what chemical mechanisms of tart taste? Alexandrov 12:42, 2 February 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]


It seems weird to me that there are no references, and no external lynx, in this article. I'm no expert on the field, so I'm not planning to edit here...but it'd be nice and cyclopedic if someone would plop some "See also's" in this article.--RattBoy 00:55, 2 December 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Confusing sentence[edit]

"...furthermore, among the tasters, some are so-called "super-tasters" to whom PTC is extremely bitter." huh? please reword this, thanks :)


Since the only people who seem to know what "kokumi" is are advertisers for the Ajinomoto flavoring company, I think reference to it should probably be removed. Meretrix 15:41, 14 February 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]


This page really needs to be cleaned up some. The "history" section starts off with a mention of Aristotle, but then devolves into a debate about umami, and touches on the concept of a metallic taste. Umami and metallic should be moved down into that area of "other tastes", or even a new section called "Debate", since, after all, that's what it is. Of course, that would leave the History section gutted, with only a couple sentences left. I don't want to touch it without something to replace it with.

Oh, and this article is currently linked to from the main page. (Through Sour). Appearances are important... --Short Circuit 23:57, 5 March 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Huh? Umami is considered a main-stream taste. -Iopq 18:05, 30 March 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Is alcohol flavour orthogonal?[edit]

Where does alcohol flavour sit in relation to the other tastes? I know that I can taste alcohol with a blocked nose, and the flavour is a bit like minty or cool or astringent. --njh

Ah, it is included in cool flavour. --njh 06:05, 29 March 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Surely alcohol tastes bitter, but gives a cool sensation owing to its low boiling point? 11:04, 29 March 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I don't know. It seems a little astringent too. --njh 23:43, 29 March 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Why is ethanol listed as both hot and cold? Surely it can't be both, right? DLCinMaine 06:29, 2 April 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Why not? Something can be red and green at the same time (we call it yellow). Remember that the cold and hot tastes are only weakly linked to temperature. --njh 07:00, 2 April 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Mix mint and pepper and you'll get both hot and cold :) -Iopq 08:33, 25 April 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I agree with DLCinMaine. Perhaps ethanol can produce both false-hot and false-cold tastes. But it will strike the average reader as counterintuitive. If it's true, more information on how/why ethanol produces both false-hot and false-cold tastes is necessary. Is it a single simultaneous hot/cold sensation caused by ethanol activating both the TRP-V1 ion channel and the TRP-M8? Or are there different thresholds: ie a low concentration might only trigger TRP-M8 and taste false-cold while a higher concentration might trigger both ion channels and somehow taste both false-cold and false-hot? Is this a unique property of ethanol or are there other substances that produce both false-cold and false-hot taste sensations? Please cite some external references. DLCinMaine isn't the only one confused by this statement. I'm sure many of us would like to learn more. 19:09, 19 June 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Some serious reconsidering required about cold/hot[edit]

I propose that we get rid of cold/hot. We should have a section on spicy and explain that "spicy" is the feeling of pain on the tongue and it can be achieved with different means. Some people say wasabi is spicy but it doesn't contain the chemical pepper contains. Now instead of hot we should say warm so as not to confuse it with spicy. And instead of cold we should say cool. -Iopq 22:04, 1 May 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I'm not certain what yoru talking about Spicey and hot are two very distinctly different taste sensations, although mexican food is generally spicey, it is not always hot. There are different heat catagories for the heat taste, the two major divisions being staying heat and biting heat, foods can have independant proportions of both, and things which are hot are often spicey, HOWEVER things can be quite bland while still bing extrordinarily hot in the biting or staying heat catagories 02:34, 14 December 2006 (UTC) Q 2006-12-13 (GTC-5)Reply[reply]

The same receptors (not taste receptors!) which are responsible for the cooling effects of menthol etc are also intrinsically sensitive to cold. In fact, there is cross-sensitization, i.e. when you brush your teeth with a menthol containing toothpaste, the water afterwards does seem colder. This is due to sensitization of the receptors by menthol for cold. (See McKemy et al., Nature 416:52 (2002)). Similarly, the receptor for capsacin, TRPV1, is also directly activated by heat. Here is an excellent review on this subject: Jordt et al., Current Opinion in Neurobiology 13:487 (2003). Therefore the words "false" should be removed from the heat and cold section, since the sensations really go through the same pathway. However, hot and cold are NOT basic tastes, they contribute to the sensation of taste as does consistency, color etc.

Umami dispute and rewrite[edit]

Why is this section marked as needing citations? It clearly refers to the main Umami article on Wikipedia, which has the required sources. Do we really need to duplicate all that here? - TomW 9/16/07 —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:51, 16 September 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I've done a significant rewrite of the article as it had accumulated many layers of back-and-forth information on umami, becoming disorganized and somewhat meaningless. After doing some research, it seems to me that there is no serious scientific dispute that there is an umami taste, that it is produced by certain glutamates, and that it can be isolated down to certain taste receptors specialized to glutamates. There is only debate about precisely how it is produced. Additionally, as umami was identified in 1907, there does not seem to be any credible backing to the claim that umami is a big conspiracy of the additive companies. However, the concept of "4 basic tastes" doesn't seem to be scientific, therefore the concept of "5 basic tastes" doesn't seem any more legitimate. I've tried to rewrite to reflect this and organize what has been accumulated so far. 01:43, 5 June 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

It seems to me that the bulk of the article should be about the "4 basic tastes" which are more generally accepted, even if they are rather unscientific (which is already noted in the article). Then Umami should be listed under its own section (or maybe even in the other tastes section) with comments about who specifically thinks it should be listed as the 5th flavor. It just doesn't seem generally accepted enough to warrant the article assuming there are 5 basics. Pulsemeat 01:35, 8 June 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Here's what Peter Gray, 4th ed, 2002, says in his text Psychology at p 244; "Taste researchers have recently found strong evidence of separate receptor cells and brain areas responsible for MSG, and now even Western taste specialists write of five rather than four primary tastes and types of taste receptors (Chaudhari & others, 2000; Rolls & others, 1998)." If that is the current scientific view, Wiki should be the place to learn it.Pmjensen 07:44, 14 August 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

There are five categories of taste, as now stated correctly in the article. Salt, sour, bitter, sweet and umami. The fact that we can distinguish many more complex combinations should not be too surprising. Consider the eye where there are three basic photoreceptors and we can still detect gazillions of different shades of colors! In addition, there is confusion in this article between basic taste and the complex subject of 'tasting' something. For the latter, many additional senses combine with the basic sense of taste, olfaction (smell) being a major component. However, temperature, consistency, color, expectation and mood undoubtedly also contribute significantly. Imagine thinking that you'll eat a piece of meat, but its actually a cleverly crafted cookie!

Tongue map myth: inconsistency between articles[edit]

I noticed that the article on taste buds says this: "Contrary to popular understanding, taste is not experienced on different parts of the tongue. The "tongue map myth" was based on a mistranslation of a German paper that was written in 1901 by a Harvard psychologist. Though there are small differences in sensation, which can be measured with highly specific instruments, all taste buds can respond to all types of taste." Yet this article seems to lend credence to the tongue map. Which is right? Wadsworth 21:47, 7 July 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I noticed the very same thing myself. I'll see if I can't find an answer, but it would really be nice if we can get an expert opinion on this one. Since you brought this up 11 days ago and this is the first response, I'll assume none of this article's watchers have the answer (or at least just missed it). I'm going to put the conflict flag on this and the taste bud article. --Reverend Loki 22:12, 18 July 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Those taste maps are most definitely wrong. They were trying to show that a specific area of the tongue was responsible for a particular taste (salty etc). However, all the modern research that I've seen agrees that there may be differences in the level of sensitivity on different parts of the tongue. For example, Contrary to popular understanding, taste is not experienced on different parts of the tongue. Though there are small differences in sensation, which can be measured with highly specific instruments, all taste buds, essentially clusters of 50 to 100 cells, can respond to all types of taste. Quote from - I assume this is what the article is trying to explain when it says that there is some scientific basis. It's not exactly contradicting the other article. But perhaps needs to be expressed more clearly. --Alexxx1 (talk/contribs) 04:10, 12 August 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

"It was once believed (primarily by textbook writers and their readers) that the different types of taste receptors are concentrated in different parts of the tongue, with sweet tasted in one part, bitter in another, and so on. In fact, taste researchers have long known that the different types of receptors are quite evenly distributed over the whole tongue (Bartoshuk & Beauchamp, 1994). Spatial separation of different tastes does occur in the brain, however." Italic textPsychologyItalic text, Peter Gray, 4th ed, 2002.Pmjensen 08:00, 14 August 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I changed the section in the Taste buds article, and I hope not prematurely, so I'd like any further opinions on this. In an article published in the scientific journal Cell (Zhang Y., et al. (2003) Coding of Sweet, Bitter, and Umami Tastes: Different Receptor Cells Sharing Similar Signaling Pathways. Cell, 112(3): 293-301)which is referenced in the article, the researchers clearly stated that "the cells responsible for taste are not tuned to all taste modalities". They were studying sweet, bitter and umami. They also found that certain cells found on the tongue did not express receptors for certain tastes (bitterness is one that is frequently missing). This doesn't mean that there are areas of the tongue that are not sensitive to tastes (because a taste bud has many cells and an area has many taste buds). But it does allow for the possibility that there are areas that are more or less sensitive to tastes. So I think statements like "receptors are distributed evenly across the tongue" or "sensitivity to taste is distributed across the tongue" are misleading and if are included in an article, should be backed up with a citation.

Also, many statements in both this article and the Taste buds article are not backed up by references. They are usually paraphrasing of some internet reference that was also not necessarily based on scientific research. I think this is really dangerous. Anything you say as statement of scientific fact should be supported with a reference, i.e. a published article in a scientific journal. And by the way, all journals are not created equal (you can look up a journal's "impact factor" here. -Mhsia 15:03, 16 August 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

This just in: about taste buds differentiated and supporting the old "taste map" thing. -MJS 25.8.2006 [2]

Did you read the article you posted? From the article:

“Taken together, our work has also shown that all taste qualities are found in all areas of the tongue, in contrast with the popular view that different tastes map to different areas of the tongue.”

This clearly rejects the taste map. The Taste bud article seems consistent with this, this article does not. Scott5834 20:47, 28 August 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]


"Copper, Iron, blood, etc.. All seem to have a kind of metallic taste to them". I know nothing about this topic, but this is clearly badly written and suspiscious (although they certainly do have a kind of metallic taste). — mæstro t/c, 09:37, 6 August 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I have removed this section because it's clearly unresearched and uninformed, even though I do agree that there is a "metallic taste" in some form. Except that bloody tastes salty, not metallic. ~ Oni Lukos ct 16:59, 8 August 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Though not really important, most people think that blood has a metallic, sometimes described as coppery, taste to it. Likely this is a result of the hemoglobin, which contains iron. But yeah, the section needs more research to be included. Oh, and if your blood tastes salty, might want to consider laying off the sodium for a while ;) --Reverend Loki 17:25, 8 August 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
But I like salt :< Oh, and, uh, I'd never heard that before. I've only ever heard of it being described as salty. ~ Oni Lukos ct 22:52, 8 August 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
...Interestingly enough, blood sort of tastes meaty to me. Well, it tastes like a mix between savory and metallic. But I find the metal taste sort of interesting, I'd like to see more on that. 21:15, 3 October 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Unsupported Article[edit]

This article definitely is in dire need of some more valid references. For instance, where is the claim:

For many years, books on the physiology of human taste contained diagrams of the tongue showing levels of sensitivity to different tastes in different regions. There is some scientific foundation for these "maps", but they tend to oversimplify certain aspects of taste sensation.

supported?? It says "some scientific foundation" . . . isn't this screaming for a reference? Also, where is it published that there are seven basic tastes? Every scientific journal article I've found says there are five (where did astringent and pungent come from?). Spiciness from Chili powder is not a taste. It comes from a compound called capsaicin which activates nociceptors (pain receptors) in the mouth (or anywhere else, for that matter).

I think references should be in the form of scientific journal articles or books, not webpages or personal comments. If you've researched an article from an internet resource, you need to make sure that article is referenced in journal articles or books and, if possible, list those as well. --Mhsia 15:35, 16 August 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Blood tastes metalic, definitly of coper, I've always heard this was atributable to the iron in the blood (hemoglobin) but it does taste slightly salty too, all blood does contain salt. That being said, I think there needs to be a metalic basic flavor section because I have oft found that metals have flavors I cannot describe except by saying "coppery" or "Like steel" Salt is actually a mineral though and when you really think about it most of our basic tastes revolve around non organic substances such as salt, acid, alkoloids, and perhaps metals liek iron and coper, except for sugar and perhaps protien (which I have heard described as being called Umami or Savory but this artical claims those are not protien flavors but in fact sugars????? perhaps I am miss-understanding it). 02:38, 14 December 2006 (UTC)Q 2006-12-13 21:23 (GTC-5)Reply[reply]

How many basic tastes are there?[edit]

There seems to be conflicting wording here. The third sentence of the Basic taste entry states: "Scientists describe seven basic tastes...", and proceeds to list them. The last basic taste listed is umami, a word I was completely unfamiliar with, so I clicked its link. The Umami entry's first sentence begins " Umami is one of the five basic tastes...". Can we get a definitive number of "basic" tastes? 00:42, 28 November 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

According to this article there are five. I'll change it. I'm not sure other people can access this though. Shall I add it as a referance anyway? --PhiJ 10:11, 28 November 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
And also you get about 80 hits on google scholar with "five basic tastes" (in quotes), but only one with "seven basic tastes", and that's talking about Aristotle's theory. --PhiJ 10:15, 28 November 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]


I removed the following paragraph:

Due to a lack of a specific word for this flavour in English ("hot" properly refers to temperature, and "spicy" to any spice), the French term piquant is occasionally used. Pungent is also employed, especially among people of Anglo-Indian ethnicity. Many other languages are not afflicted by this deficit e.g. Chinese 辣 (), Finnish tulinen, Hebrew "חריף" (Hariph), Hungarian csípős, Japanese 辛い (karai), Korean 맵다 (maepda), Malay pedas, Russian острый (ostryi), Serbian (љуто), Swedish stark, Thai เผ็ด (phet) and Vietnamese cay.

First of all, in modern American English (at least), "spicy" in a casual culinary context most certainly m eans "causes a characteristic burning sensation in the mouth". "Piquant" is much more likely to be found i n ad copy or restaurant menus as an affectation. "Spicy" to mean "full of spices" has long been obsolete. Thus, English does not have a "deficit" here. Furthermore, some of the examples from other languages were wrong. In Swedish, for instance, stark can mean "spicy" in a culinary context, but simply translates as "strong" and can be used to describe coffee and so forth, or even people. The paragraph is mostly irrelevant and contributes nothing to the discussion of spiciness. Readers interested in the appropriate equivalent of "spicy" in other languages can consult the appropriate dictionary. 03:41, 18 August 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]