Taste

Does this taste fatty to you?

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Science  28 Aug 2015:
Vol. 349, Issue 6251, pp. 940-941
DOI: 10.1126/science.349.6251.940-e

Fat, like sweetness, sourness, bitterness, and saltiness, may be a distinct taste

PHOTO: DRAGONIMAGES/THINKSTOCK

Just as food can be too salty or too sweet, we also complain if food is too oily or fatty. But is that judgement based on the distinct taste of fat, or is it just a mix of other basic tastes and textures? Running et al. now report that our primary taste senses have a previously unknown sibling, dubbed “oleogustus.” They asked 48 volunteers to sort 15 taste samples by quality, and most of them could distinguish long-chained nonesterified fatty acids (NEFAs) such as oleic acid from sweet, sour, salty, bitter, and umami substances, whereas short-chained NEFAs such as citric acid tasted sour. The results may be important to the food industry, such as when selecting fat replacers.

Chem. Senses 10.1093/chemse/bjv036 (2015).

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