How do taste buds work?
How do taste buds work? (Thinkstock)
How do taste buds work?
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NARRATOR 1: You asked us, how do taste buds work?

Taste buds are arranged like the inside of an orange. Fifty to 150 cells are all lined up next to each other. Each of those cells has what's called a taste hair. It pokes out of the top.

The hairs are geared to tune into the presence of a particular chemical. And when they do, they send a signal to the brain. That says, hey, you're eating something sour, or sweet or whatever.

Thousands of taste buds are found. They aren't just in our tongues. They also are in the roofs of our mouths and in our throats.

We used to think that different tastes, like salty or sweet, could only be sensed by buds on specific areas of our tongues. But now we know that each bud has receptors for all five tastes. Like sweet, sour, salty, bitter and umami.

Combined with our sense of smell, taste buds help us survive. We steer clear of bitter tasting, poisonous and rotting food. Instead, we eat our nutrient-rich morsels of sweet, salty or savory goodness.

It's making me hungry just thinking about it. I mean, who's up for a spaghetti basket?

NARRATOR 2: What?

NARRATOR 1: For more stories like this, check us out everyday at smithsonian.com. Mm, spaghetti basket.

Critical thinking challenge: Why are tastes based on chemicals?


Source URL: https://www.tweentribune.com/article/junior/how-do-taste-buds-work/

Assigned 45 times


COMMENTS (49)
  • KnightA-Sua
    4/28/2015 - 06:36 p.m.

    I think tastes are based on chemicals because it takes chemicals to wake up the taste buds in your mouth. Taste buds tell you if something is sweet, sour, bitter, salty, or umami. I have never heard of umami so I would like to know what that tastes like. I found out that taste buds are all over in your mouth, tongue and throat. I found out that the taste buds have hairs that stick up and help you taste. Smelling helps you taste too. It is very interesting how taste buds work and chemicals are needed to wake up the basic tastes.

  • LiCausiM-Sua
    4/28/2015 - 07:36 p.m.

    Taste buds are based on chemicals because your taste buds tell you if your food is sweet or sour. I know this because it said it in the story. Also I know this because it says it in the video. One other reason I know that is because a month age a did research on your taste buds. These are the reasons that I know that taste buds are based on chemicals.

  • KerrF-Sua
    4/28/2015 - 07:54 p.m.

    Tastes are based on chemicals because they send a signal to the brain. They are geared to tune into the chemical. It tells the brain what tastes it is, like sweet, sour, or salty. Those are some things about the chemicals.

  • HocogJ-Sua
    4/28/2015 - 07:57 p.m.

    Tastes are based on chemicals because the hairs on fruits like oranges tune into a particular chemical. When they get to the chemical it sends a signal to the brain. Another thing is that when it signals to the brain it says if it is sour, sweet, bitter, or umami. These are how our tastes are based on chemicals. I figured this out by looking at the first two paragraphs for information.

  • MangayayamB-Sua
    4/28/2015 - 08:16 p.m.

    I think taste buds are based on chemicals because They can taste food like salty sweet and other things to also I think that because it helps us keep away from position food. Taste buds are on many places in your mouth like in your throat and tongue and the roof of your mouth. I think we have taste buds because it helps us taste are food and to help us not eat poison. Also I think this because if we did not have taste buds we would probably be eating poison foods. My summary is about why I think having taste buds are good to have.

  • DorrN-Sua
    4/28/2015 - 09:03 p.m.

    Taste buds are based on chemicals because the particular chemical sends a signal to your brain and it says your eating something sour, sweet, or salty. Another way taste buds are based on chemicals is by finding tastes in the roofs of our mouths and the roof of your mouth also sends a signal of what your eating like something sour, or sweet. The final way taste buds are based on chemicals is by the sense of smell because the smell could tell whether your going to eat something sour or sweet.

  • StoneM-Sua
    4/28/2015 - 09:48 p.m.

    How your taste buds go with the chemicals in the food we eat are from these three reasons. First, the chemicals in a food is very sweet or sour and the tastes buds will tell the brain so you no if you like it or not. Second, is your taste buds need have to know if the food is good so the chemicals in the food help it know what is good and what is not good. Last, you have to know what the food taste like so the chemicals will help you know. And, that is how your taste buds work with the chemicals in food.

  • MayerS-Sua
    4/28/2015 - 10:13 p.m.

    A chemicals can be different flavor's on your foods. If your taste buds do not like that chemical it will tell you. If your taste buds do not like what is in your mouth it will tell the brain that you do not like it. Chemicals have something called taste hair and the taste hair tells your taste buds if it is sour or sweet. That is why taste is based on chemicals.

  • CirilloP-Sua
    4/28/2015 - 10:19 p.m.

    tastes are based on chemicals. They are based on chemicals because there are three buds one is salty. Another bud is sweet. And two other ones are bitter and sour. those are the buds and chemicals.

  • HokettK-Sua
    4/28/2015 - 10:29 p.m.

    Tastes are based on chemicals because that's what our tastes buds can pick up. Taste buds are made up of 50-150 cells with small little taste hairs. The hairs trigger the chemicals and they respondto what they taste. They then tell the human brain if it was sour, sweet, salty, umami and bitter. Then you know if you like it or not. That is how taste buds work.

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