For all our knowledge about how the brain processes sight, sound, smell and touch, very little is understood about taste. Researchers have been unsure whether specific brain cell groups are devoted to the five main taste groups, just like there are specific, finely tuned taste receptors on your tongue.
Researchers from Columbia University now say they've identified these neuron groups, and have built a map of the "gustatory cortex." It's the first map showing how taste is represented in the mammalian brain.
A team led by neuroscientist Charles Zuker used a technique called two-photon calcium imaging to monitor neural activity that was sparked by "tastants," as they put it. (In an exciting coincidence, Zuker's name, if spelled with a "ck," is the German word for sugar.)
Calcium spikes when a neuron is activated, so calcium increase can be used as a proxy for neuron activity, as a news release from Howard Hughes Medical Institute explains. In this manner, the team identified specific clusters of neurons that activated in response to droplets placed on the tongues of sedated mice. The neuron hot spots represented four of the five taste groups: saltiness, sweetness, bitterness and umami, or savoriness.
These neural clusters fired in different mice over successive tests, the researchers say. The only hot spot they could not find corresponded to sour taste. This could mean it's outside of the cortical regions they studied, or maybe the anesthesia used to sedate the mice had some interference.
Other researchers have argued that taste works more like smell, in which olfactory sensors respond in a pattern that translates the scents that are present. In that scenario, taste cells would be tuned to a broader spectrum of inputs, and would determine tastes depending on the patterns of stimulation. The absence of a sour hot spot lends credence to this theory. But Zuker believes that's not the case, and that his team's more detailed imaging analysis was able to separate the neural hot spots, whereas previous studies seemed to clump them together.
Next, he wants to study how taste combines with other sensory inputs like smell and touch — and with hunger and anticipation — to provide a more well-rounded experience of taste.
The work was published today in Science.
First, inb4 silly dogs.
I can honestly say that I've never heard of the taste group umami. That is what I love about PopSci, I learn something at least once a day from it. Now if only it told me what it is! Google, here I come.
Yo sneaky controller. Watch some cooking shows. You will hear about Unami. It's popular in japan where I live but only a hand full of things produce the flavor like "dashi"
Hey bubbadump, nothing dumb to say? What gives?
Can you believe this. I just notice for the first time now, the link " Report this comment ".
You know, all the time I have been on PoPSci, I never report any person about anything. Never even thought about it.
I never told them to shut up or even to go away.
@bubba don't you realize your trolling. I report your off topic and trolling comments which is most. The funny thing is other people beat me to punch half the time. Popsci will delete most of the reported comments FYI. I still ignore everything you write with @inaka so no need to respond.
I don't read it and it will get reported either way.
@inaka_rob. Hi Sir, PoPSci can look back at my history and they can see themselves. I never reported anyone in the past for anything. inaka_rob, I hope you stay with PoPSCi a long time and comment a long time. You are a clever person. You may one day achieve you goal and I will be gone. Still, I wish you well and continue voicing your thoughts! I have this sneaky suspicion; you and I have a lot in common, if we ever met in life.
With so many angry people on this website, oh yes, I am glad to be anonymous and will keep it that way.
I will let you know of a secret ok. All humans have one life. Sorry, that part is not the secret. The secret is the emotion ' anger ', it just wasted life. Please do not waist yours.
Goodnight! God bless to you! Now on this website many do not believe in God too. So, let me say this. I WISH YOU WELL AND GOOD LIFE!
inaka, in any comparison, your comments are the most reportable. Stop creating drama and move on to the next topic
@Infinion yes you are correct. I am getting sucked into his bull#### and I have realized I am simply adding to the problem and becoming a troll. even this very message I am typing now is off topic and should be reported to the mods, which is fine if you wish to do so.
but that is why trolls are trolls, becuase it not just about posting off topic comments, its about pissing people off so much you get them to post off topics as well. and in that reguard bubba has succeded extremely well.
Just look at all the people in all the articles posting things about bubba this and bubba that. a dozen or so other users are pissed off about that troll.
I am going to try and not respond to him at all from this point on, becuase if I do, then I am just becoming a troll like him.
I suggest just reporting his comments to the mods. I have reported a few hundred this week alone. and I have noticed that many many many of his other comments have been reported by other people than myself, so I imagine popsci will evently come up a bubba-filter or people will stop coming here.
Well, i understand everyone's point of view in the matter, but I believe that these meanderings of futility over the voice of science and reason should forthwith be discontinued. Not to say that you should ignore one troll or another, but you should ignore ANY negativity. Just report comments that are sorely off topic, and/or use profanity or other less than savory remarks. To have treated everyone, in the first place, the way you say you are now to treat bubbagump would solve all of those types of problems for you in the future. :) thx for your link mate! :)
[PopSci Chat] http://xat.com/PopularScienceDiscussion
i wanna say.... COOL ARTICLE !!! DOES ANYONE HEAR ME??
(seriously guys? how old are you? ^^""")
bored? lets go mine the stars... ^^
So basically this could be used as a new form of interrogation without torture?
So basically in the future, we will be eating Genetically modified Fruits and veggies. Drinking milk full of hormones from cloned cattle. Not to mention eating of the cloned or artificially created meats..
Of course we need to research how to trigger taste...soon enough everything will taste like shit
organic/biologic should be the only allowed product on our shelves..how bout that obama. Screw the economy, fix my dinner plate and ill vote for you anytime.
Down with monsanto
Yes, but hopefully we'll also get mutant genetic abilities from drinking modified fruits and hormone cows.
Or... everything would taste good. We could eat what we want (say something incredibly nutritious like... modified broccoli) and have it taste like ice cream. Kids would eat their veggies!
On one hand, going organic would probably be the safest bet and let mutations occur naturally. On the OTHER hand... by going natural, we might be losing the ability to evolve any ruther. It's a flip of the coin really.
In the event that Gumba or the troll that frequents this place decides to comment. Ignore it. They are usually irrelevant, unnecessary, and provoke people to fight with him. Don't feed him, and if he calls you out, just read past his commen
I appreciate your open minded comment. You did not let emotions cloud your judgement like I did.
I believe there is something to learn from what you said and the way that you said it.
You're pretty open-minded yourself to accept it. That's good! And I believe that one day, we will evolve. In what way, I don't know, but it could be biological, mechanical, or even metaphysical.
In the event that Gumba or the troll that frequents this place decides to comment. Ignore it. They are usually irrelevant, unnecessary, and provoke people to fight with him. Don't feed and if he calls u out, read past comment. Simple.