WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- The senses of smell and taste are directly related because almost all of the information related to flavors is stimulated by the smell.
- But a recently published paper revealed that after exposing lab-grown human taste cells to odor molecules, the taste cells exhibited the same response as olfactory cells do.
- Olfactory cells, also called sensors, are located within the nasal passages that play a central role in interpreting smells as well as flavors.
Apparently, your tongue has the ability to smell.
It is a known fact for researchers that smell and taste are both deeply interrelated in the brain where much of the complex information linked with flavor is provided by the sense of smell.
However, according to a published paper on April 24, it appears that the two senses are also integrated into the surface of your tongue.
Human taste cells were cultivated by researchers in a lab at the Monell Chemical Senses Center, a nonprofit research facility in Philadelphia. Those cells already have several major molecules found in olfactory cells which are cells present in very large numbers in the nasal passages responsible for the reception of smells and flavors. When the taste cells were exposed to the odor molecules, the cells reacted as olfactory cells do.
Though olfactory sensors are found in the other parts of the body such as the gut, sperm cells and hair, this is the first time these cells were exhibited in human taste cells.
“The presence of olfactory receptors and taste receptors in the same cell will provide us with exciting opportunities to study interactions between odor and taste stimuli on the tongue,” said study senior author Mehmet Hakan Ozdener in a statement.
Human taste cells seem to be more complicated than previously thought. A fairly straightforward sense, taste classifies chemicals into at least five kinds: sweet, salty, sour, bitter and savory. These simple types of taste were thought of by scientists as being only connected with smell coupled with input from other brain senses. But due to the findings, scientists now know that before sensory input reaches the brain, intermingling may possibly take place.
The paper was published online in the journal Chemical Senses.
Source: Live Science