TASTE

We can taste substances in food and drink thanks to the 10,000 or so taste buds located on structures, called papillae, on the surface of our tongues. These receptors send signals along nerves to the brain for interpretation. Four main tastes – sweet, salty, sour, and bitter – are detected by the taste buds in four areas of the tongue. The senses of taste and smell combine to analyse flavours.

PAPILLAE ON SURFACE OF TONGUE

Papillae are tiny protrusions on the surface of the tongue. The fungiform papillae and some other types of papillae contain taste buds. The smaller, more numerous, filiform papillae do not contain taste buds but give the tongue a rough surface, which helps it move food around the mouth.

TASTE RECEPTOR CELLS IN A TASTE BUD

Hairs emerge from each receptor cell. Food and drink molecules must dissolve in saliva before they can interact with these hairs and trigger signals to the brain.

Copyright © 2007 Dorling Kindersley

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Twitter icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks

highlights

Top 10 Group Halloween Costumes for Families
These store-bought and Pinterest-inspired Halloween costume ideas for groups are the perfect way to show off your creative side at your Halloween party or while trick-or-treating.

Kindergarten Readiness App Wins Gold
Our Kindergarten Readiness app won the Gold Award of Excellence in the educational category at the 2014 Communicator Awards. This valuable checklist comes with games and activities to help your child practice the essential skills she needs for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

12 Spine-Tingling Halloween Movies for Teens
Are you looking for a movie with just a little bit of spook-factor for your teen? Check out these 12 spine-tingling Halloween movies!

Find Today's Newest & Best Children's Books!
Looking for newly released books for your child? Try our new Book Finder tool to search for new books by age, type, and theme, and create reading lists for kids!