The sense of taste was traditionally thought to be restricted to the taste buds on the tongue. They contain the sensory cells that allow us to distinguish between five different types of flavour: sweet, salty, bitter, sour and umami. Umami comes from the Japanese word and describes tastes such as “spicy”, “flavoursome” and “meaty”. The source of this umami taste is natural glutamate. Taste and smell are very closely linked. The odorant molecules of a food are received by the nose (orthonasally) and by the oral cavity (retronasally) together. So we smell and taste at the same time. The olfactory epithelium or the olfactory receptors, however, deliver most of the information.
We can differentiate thousands of different scents through the nose. The nostrils are particularly sophisticated in this regard. They split the work and alternate every three to four hours: while one nostril smells and breathes, the other has a break. Just as in the mouth, the sense organs in the nose trigger an impulse in the olfactory epithelium that is sent to the brain. This information is then analysed in the brain and finally deciphered in a perception of smell along with the information from the mouth. At this moment we can expect a pleasant taste experience that stimulates our senses and makes us feel good.
- Article "our sense organs"