Taste (also called smatch or gustation; adjectival form: gustatory) is one of the traditional five senses. It refers to the ability to detect the flavor of substances such as food, certain minerals, and poisons, etc.
Humans receive tastes through sensory organs called taste buds, or gustatory calyculi, concentrated on the upper surface of the tongue.
The sensation of taste can be categorized into five basic tastes: sweet, bitterness, sour, salty, and umami. The recognition and awareness of umami is a relatively recent development in Western cuisine. MSG produces a strong umami taste.
As taste senses both harmful and beneficial things, all basic tastes are classified as either appetitive or aversive, depending upon the effect the things they sense have on our bodies.
The basic tastes contribute only partially to the sensation and flavor of food in the mouth — other factors include smell, detected by the olfactory epithelium of the nose; texture, detected through a variety of mechanoreceptors, muscle nerves, etc.; temperature, detected by thermoreceptors; and spiciness, or piquance, also called chemesthesis.
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