There are five tastes that are recognized so far, but it seems that the experts have been working and revealing the fact that there is a sixth one that we can detect. Here are the details about this important discovery below.
A sixth taste?
According to recent research published in Nature Communications, there may be a sixth basic taste that we can detect in addition to the five we already know – sweet, salty, sour, bitter, and umami.
This new taste has been identified, and the study has shed light on how humans perceive taste. The findings were published in early
Emily Liman, a neuroscientist, and her team have made an interesting discovery about the tongue’s response to ammonium chloride. They found that the tongue can respond to ammonium chloride through the same protein receptor that signals a sour taste.
This discovery has shed light on why people in Scandinavian countries are familiar with and may even like this taste.
The candy salt licorice, which has been popular in some northern European countries since the early 20th century, contains salmiak salt, also known as ammonium chloride, among its ingredients.
Salmiak salt is what gives the candy its distinct taste. However, it is important to note that the taste itself is not new.
What Ms. Liman and her team have identified is what they believe is the part of the tongue that detects this flavor.
This part of the tongue is called the OTOP1 protein receptor.
Ms. Liman and her team have found that this receptor is also linked to our ability to taste sour things. This means that the tongue’s response to salmiak salt is similar to its response to sour flavors.
The discovery of the OTOP1 protein receptor could have implications for the food industry and help explain why some people enjoy certain flavors more than others.
The new ability could have been developed for this reason
Researchers have discovered that the gene for OTOP1, when introduced into human cells, can be activated by both acid and ammonium chloride.
To confirm their findings, they conducted tests on mice with and without the gene and observed that those with the gene avoided ammonium chloride while those without it didn’t notice the taste.
Although ammonium chloride is not commonly found in foods, the researchers believe that it is important to be able to detect it as it is toxic.
The researchers hope that their findings will encourage further studies in this area.
They plan to extend their research to other members of the OTOP proton family of receptors expressed in other parts of the body, such as the digestive tract, to determine whether sensitivity to ammonium is conserved.