Indian Recipe: Index

What are five tastes ?

Taste is one of the five classical senses.

Taste is the direct chemoreception of definite types of ions called tastants.

The sense of taste is received by the chemoreceptive cells (taste buds) present on the surface of tongue.

There are five basic tastes - saltiness, sweetness, sourness, bitterness and umami or savoriness. (In the west it was considered that tastes are only of four types whereas in East it is always considered that tastes are five in numbers. Now it was proven that taste receptors for umami exist. For more details see..)

Saltiness: Saltiness is produced by Sodium (Na+) and Calcium (Ca+) ions.
We get salty taste from different salts like common salt, rock salt etc.

Sweetness: Sweetness is the effect produced by sugars. Sugars are the organic molecules containing aldehyde (HO-C=O Aldose) or ketone (=C=O Ketose) as functional groups. We find sweetness in different fruits, vegetables and milk due to the presence of Sucrose (Sugarcane), Fructose (fruits), Lactose (milk) etc.

Sourness: Sourness is produced by the presence of Hydroxonium/ Hydronium(H3O+) ions. Generally we get sourness from fruits containing Citric acid (orange), Tartaric acid (tamarind), Malic acid (apple) etc.

Bitterness: Bitterness is produced by various chemicals present in coffee, unsweetened chocolate, beer, many plants in the Brassicaceae family (eg. bitter gourd) etc.

Umami or savoriness: This taste is caused by Monosodiumglutamate (C5H8NNaO4). Glutamic acid is the most abundant amino acid present in many protein rich foods like meat, milk and seafoods.

The tongue can sense other sensations broadly called tastes like pungent, astringent, metallic tastes, hotness etc, that are largely detected by the somatosensory system. 

These five tastes along with different smells and other somatosenses produce a wide variety of flavours and tasty foods.

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