The idea of taste receptors has always fascinated me and I cannot let the topic go. In the Dolomites, I met a group named Thimus (Mario) who specializes in neuroscience testing using biometrics, and I haven’t been able to leave the topic alone.
Then there is Dr.Zucker who is researching the brain’receptors and believes we taste upstairs and not downstairs, which I agree. Perhaps more important than just discovering the receptors is Zuker’s research showing that each taste cell is hardwired for one taste. Scientists used to think that every taste bud could pick up on all five tastes, and that a different signal would be sent to the brain for each one. Zuker’s lab did experiments with mice that proved that taste cells are simpler than that. Each taste cell has only receptors for one taste modality. And each cell sends a specific signal to the brain. This signal doesn’t change, even if you swap out one receptor for another. For example, you can remove the receptor from a “sweet” cell and replace it with a receptor that’s normally activated by a bitter chemical, and now “bitter” tastes sweet.
Categories: Kitchen Facts