Taste Buds Lab by jamesdauray


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									ame: _______________________________ Period: ____________________

                             The Tongue and Taste Buds


    When you put a bite of food in your mouth, it starts to dissolve. This action of
the saliva in your mouth is just the first step in activating your sense of taste. Your
teeth also help you to taste foods, by breaking up the big pieces so that they can
dissolve quicker. Next, the taste is picked up by your taste buds. You have about
10,000 of these. The taste buds send the message to the brain, by way of nerves
and electrical signals. The brain interprets these signals as tastes.
    Besides your brain, the main organ of taste is, of course, your tongue. The
tongue is made up of groups of muscles. These muscles allow the tongue to move
in all directions to eat, and also to form sounds to talk. Most of your taste buds are
on your tongue, but there are also some taste buds in other parts of your mouth.
The taste buds on your tongue are all around the sides, but not in the middle.
     The taste buds on the tongue pick up just four or five main tastes. The four
traditional tastes are sweet, sour, salty, and bitter. Scientists are also studying a
fifth taste, which they have names umami. Some of the tastes seem to be
concentrated on a particular area of the tongue. Sweet tastes, such as sugar or
honey, are tasted mainly on the front of the tongue. Sour tastes, like lemons, are
tasted on the sides. Salty tastes, such as potato chips or fries, are tasted all
around the edges of the tongue. Bitter is tasted on the back of the tongue. Bitter
is like the taste of unsweetened chocolate. Most people don't like bitter tastes
much. Maybe you have heard a coffee drinker complain about a cup of bitter
coffee. Umami is the most recently discovered taste. It is sometimes described as
a meaty or savory taste. It is the taste that is provided by monosodium glutamate
(MSG) that is sometimes added to Chinese food.
    There are a big variety of opinions about which foods taste good. It seems to
depend mainly on the culture in which a person was brought up. People in some
cultures eat only a vegetarian menu, and think that it would be really awful to eat
a lobster or a cow. Other people eat beef and seafood all the time, but wouldn't
think of eating a fried grasshopper, which is a treat in some places.

Educational Resource written by James Dauray   |   http://www.aurumscience.com    1
Name: _______________________________ Period: ____________________

                             The Tongue and Taste Buds

You will attempt to find which areas of your tongue have the most taste buds for
certain types of foods. The four main types are:
      - Sweet
      - Sour
      - Bitter
      - Salty

Take one of the four types of food provided and touch it to each of the four areas
of the tongue showed in the diagram below. Write on the diagram which part of
the tongue tasted that food the strongest.

After you try one type of food, have a drink of water to cleanse your taste buds
and repeat with the other three.

                                               Back of Tongue

                                         Front of Tongue

Educational Resource written by James Dauray    |   http://www.aurumscience.com   2
1. Classify each of the four foods as salty, bitter, sweet, or sour.

2. Which area of your tongue do you believe is most sensitive to each of the four types
of food?

3. Read the background page. What areas of the tongue are supposed to have the
most taste buds for each type of taste? Were your results any different? If so, why do
you think they were?

4. What is the possible newly discovered fifth taste? What kinds of food is it found in?

5. Are there any areas of the tongue without taste buds?

6. What other sense is involved in detecting tastes?

Educational Resource written by James Dauray   |   http://www.aurumscience.com      3

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