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Taste receptors convert chemical stimuli into electric signals.
sense of taste, sensory organ, perception, ízlelőszerv, tongue, ízérző központ, ízlelőszemölcs, taste bud, umami, sweet, bitter, sour, salty, nyál, alapíz, signal, stimulus, receptor, human, nervous system, central nervous system, biology
Our sense of taste plays an important role in choosing food that is safe to eat and in detecting and avoiding dangerous, poisonous substances. Taste receptors found on the tongue are sensitive to various chemical substances, each of which produce a different taste sensation. Impulses produced by taste receptors are transmitted to the brain through cranial nerves VII, IX and X, where they are switched by the thalamus and finally reach the cortical taste centre. Taste sensation is generated in the cerebral cortex.
Flavours are mixtures of basic tastes. Originally there were only four basic tastes identified: sweet, salty, sour and bitter. Today, however, umami, a sort of pleasant savoury taste, is also recognised as one of the basic tastes, as well as water.
Certain receptors are typically stimulated by metallic ions, for example sodium ions. The impulse produced by these receptors creates a salty taste sensation. A sweet taste is mainly created by mono- and disaccharides, while a sour taste is the result of acids. A bitter taste usually originates in substances that harm the body, therefore we identify a bitter taste as 'bad' and we try to avoid it. The characteristic umami taste is produced by an amino acid known as glutamic acid, or a derivative of it used as a flavour enhancer, monosodium glutamate. Foods rich in umami taste include tomatoes, spinach, fish, meat soup, soy sauce and marinated meat. According to the latest research, there are also receptors that can detect water.
The fine structure of the gustatory organ is demonstrated through sweet and sour taste receptors.
The surface of the tongue features papillae surrounded by 'moats'. These are filled with saliva, produced by salivary glands. Taste substances are dissolved in the saliva, which then diffuse into the taste buds. The impulse produced in the taste buds is transmitted to the brain by nerve fibres.
The taste buds are embedded in the epithelium of the tongue. A taste bud consists of receptor cells and supporting cells. Taste substances reach the microvilli of receptor cells through the taste pores. The impulse produced in the taste bud is transmitted to the brain by the axons of neurons, where it causes a taste sensation.
Olfactory receptors produce electric signals when stimulated by odours.
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