9 posts tagged with taste and science.
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Bittersweet No More

In the wake of the great miracle fruit craze of the late 00's, Francis Lam tested two more obscure taste distorters: adenosine 5′-monophosphate, which blocks the sensation of bitter flavors, and Gymnema sylvestre, a South Asian herb that does the same for sweetness.
posted by Iridic on Aug 20, 2014 - 32 comments

Our Microbiome May Be Looking Out for Itself

Your body is home to about 100 trillion bacteria and other microbes, collectively known as your microbiome. Naturalists first became aware of our invisible lodgers in the 1600s, but it wasn’t until the past few years that we’ve become really familiar with them. This recent research has given the microbiome a cuddly kind of fame. We’ve come to appreciate how beneficial our microbes are — breaking down our food, fighting off infections and nurturing our immune system. It’s a lovely, invisible garden we should be tending for our own well-being. But in the journal Bioessays, a team of scientists has raised a creepier possibility. Perhaps our menagerie of germs is also influencing our behavior in order to advance its own evolutionary success — giving us cravings for certain foods, for example.
Maybe the microbiome is our puppet master.
[more inside]
posted by Blasdelb on Aug 18, 2014 - 57 comments

Cheesecake rubbed on a pig's tongue.

Listening to what the tongue feels:
First, drink some black coffee. Next, rub your tongue against the roof of your mouth. It should feel a little rough, like very fine sandpaper: the tiny bumps on your tongue, called papillae, are raised just enough to create friction against your palate. If you now add cream to your coffee and try again, the sensation should be much smoother — almost velvety. A layer of fat and mucous is now coating your tongue, providing lubrication and preventing friction. What you have just done was, until very recently, the most accurate method for evaluating the oral perception of fat — the precise degree of tongue-coating creaminess in milk, mayonnaise, or chocolate pudding.

posted by ennui.bz on Feb 19, 2013 - 21 comments

You probably don't even know what you like

Choice blindness occurs when subjects are unaware that the choice they made is opposite their previously stated preferences. In this recent paper, subject preferences were reversed between tastes of jam and scents of tea. Overall, only a third of all the manipulated trials were detected by subjects whose preferences had been switched by the experimenters. [more inside]
posted by scrutiny on Aug 26, 2010 - 31 comments

Mushroom Sex

"People who use sows to hunt for truffles often find it hard to prevent a sex-crazed animal from eating the truffle she has found and may lose fingers in the attempt." (via) The NYT on decoding the genome of the Périgord Black Truffle . Attempts to make truffles cheaper and more accessible in the past have been met with some resistance.
posted by The Whelk on Mar 30, 2010 - 32 comments

The Sixth Sense of Taste

Sweet, sour, bitter, salty, umami, and.... fat? Dr. Russell Keast, an Austrailian scientist who studies "perceived flavour, consumer acceptance and preference of foods and nutrition," has conducted research exploring humans' apparent sixth taste perception: fat. The kicker? Sensitivity to the taste of fat was negatively correlated with fat intake and BMI. Dr. Keast discussed the results of his latest research with Slashfood, and The Sydney Morning Herald. (via) [more inside]
posted by sentient on Mar 11, 2010 - 31 comments

The Anatomy Of Taste

Yummy Science. Researchers unravel the complex combination of physical and emotional reactions that influence our perceptions of what tastes good. Once upon a time, flavor research was a matter of asking housewives to munch a few potato chips... Now it's about providing an exceptional flavor "experience." And as scientists learn to exploit the ways we perceive flavor, food manufacturers will be able to refine their products to appeal to us as individuals. Welcome to the world of personally tailored mass-produced food.
posted by amyms on Nov 5, 2007 - 17 comments

Tubby tabby taste trouble trial transforms traditional thought

New research concludes that cats lack a functional sweet taste receptor, as reported in the new, free-access journal PLoS Genetics. Also: WaPo coverage, and the new family of Public Library of Science journals.
posted by rxrfrx on Jul 25, 2005 - 40 comments

no wonder so few people listen to classical music.

no wonder so few people listen to classical music. "Appreciation of classical music may require more brain power."
posted by drunkkeith on Jun 27, 2001 - 32 comments

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