How does the person taste

Taste (sense of taste)

Our sense of taste is a so-called chemosensor that can perceive the four flavors sweet, sour, salty and bitter. It does this by activating the taste buds that lie on the surface of the tongue.

Activated taste buds for taste perception

On the back of the tongue, i.e. the surface of the tongue, there are not only small bumps, the papillae for tactile sensation, but also those for taste perception. A distinction is made between leaf papillae and mushroom-shaped and wall-shaped taste papillae. Inside are the taste buds. They resemble tulip buds in shape, hence the name. Above, in the area of ​​the epithelial surface of the tongue, the taste buds have a small dimple with an opening, the taste pore. The sensory cells with a so-called taste stick protrude into this.

Several nerve fibers supply the individual taste buds and connect them to one another: the sensory neurons of the facial nerve (7th cranial nerve, facial nerve chorda tympani) are responsible for the front two thirds of the tongue, and those of the "swallowing nerve" (9th cranial nerve) are responsible for the rear third. Cranial nerve, glossopharyngeal nerve).

The flavoring substances, dissolved in the saliva, reach the receptors of the taste buds and dock there - like a key in a lock. This stimulates the taste buds and builds up action potentials. These signals are then transmitted to the brain stem via the sensory fibers of the facial nerve and glossopharyngeal nerve.

The four different flavors are perceived in different regions of the tongue. We taste sweet on the tip of the tongue and sour on both sides. We perceive salty on the tip of the tongue as well as on the side edges of the tongue, bitter at the very back at the base of the tongue. It should be mentioned, however, that this assignment is increasingly being questioned.

What is beyond doubt, however, is that the sense of smell is indispensable for taste sensations - with a stuffy nose, we know that we have no taste or significantly less taste.