Taste Buds - A Matter of Taste or Survival Need
Posted By Rupa Jaiswal
Posted on Oct 30, 2021
Taste is a bundle of different sensations that is the guardian and guide for food consumption.
This sensing is done with help of taste buds. From ancient times, taste has bespoken what to
eat and what not to. Sense of taste, to a great extent, helped our ancestors evolve and altogether,
supported their survival.
Imagine biting a piece of lemon and then your wince reaction or the
wake up call given by the bitter pang of caffeine. It all describes the mightiness of taste and the
vivid memories it can evoke. This perception of taste is responsible for the acceptance or rejection
of a certain food item. The array of taste buds distributed within the oral and pharyngeal cavity,
does this identification.
The Savor Detectors
Taste buds are multicellular organs responsible for
initiating taste stimuli in the oral cavity. It comprises of a bundle of sensory receptors
(taste signal receiving cells) and are situated beneath the papillae (bump like structure
on tongue). An adult has 2000-4000 taste buds that makes tasting possible. Each taste
bud contains 10-50 sensory cells and supporting cells. A complex mechanism involving
taste buds, taste receptors, brain and their communication makes us understand the TASTE.
not true! Infact, all the tastes can be perceived by every portion of the tongue. It is interesting
to note that the side portion of the tongue can detect tastes more efficiently than it's other parts.
However, the back part of tongue is more sensitive to bitter taste, probably to spit out any toxic
substance before swallowing if at all ingested accidently.
Another common myth is that there are
four basic tastes. But if this was true then all the taste would have been the combination of the
four basic types. Additionally researchers from Japan have come up with a new taste type known
as 'umami' meaning 'delicious'.
What can Affect Efficiency?
Oral sensations have an effective role to play in the dietary Health
of an individual, as flavor
perception and food choices may contribute to long-term risk of diseases. Chronic conditions
, cardiovascular diseases
and damage to cranial nerve can negatively affect
gustatory system (sense of taste). These conditions may lead to taste distortion and loss,
causing anorexia (lack or loss of appetite) and malnutrition. Clinical conditions like viral fever
and cold can bring taste disorders like ageusia (taste loss), hypogeusia (decrease in taste) and
dysgeusia (abnormal taste). Medications and their side effects have also been reported to influence
the ability to taste.
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Only Regenerative Sense
Our system of tasting is unique. It continuously gets renewed; taste bud cells are constantly
replaced by new ones. The progenitor cells present below the taste buds give rise to new cells.
Each day almost 10% of the taste bud cells are lost, 20-30% are newly formed cells and
remaining 60-70% cells are the functional ones. The creator also knew that taste is the essence
of life and thus empowered it with the ability to regenerate.
Housed with specialized cells and papillae; taste buds add a munch to life. Beside eating
nutritious food, the gustatory system enhances the taste of cuisines, but overeating to enjoy
flavor can pose you at risk of innumerable problems and diseases. Mouth-watering burgers,
pizzas and other fast foods are tasty but eating for taste buds is always devastating. Using this
extraordinary sense wisely, we can add colors to lead a healthy