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Science & Technology

Is the human tongue able to 'taste' water ?

By T.K. Randall
June 14, 2017 · Comment icon 42 comments

What does water actually taste like ? Image Credit: CC BY-SA 4.0 Charity: water
New research has suggested that we can actually taste water and that it has a distinctly sour flavor.
A drink of clean, fresh water will typically taste of nothing at all, a view that has been held for thousands of years with even Aristotle referring to it as "tasteless" as far back as 330 B.C.E.

Some types of animals however, such as insects and amphibians, are known to have nerve cells capable of tasting water and more recently there has been growing evidence to suggest that mammals, including humans, may actually possess this ability as well.

In a series of recent experiments conducted by researchers at Caltech University, California, it was discovered that in mice, the taste sensors for sour were being stimulated when they drank water.
A second experiment using a technique known as optogenetics to stimulate those sour cells using light rather than a liquid also indicated that they had come to associate that taste with water.

"The tongue can detect various key nutrient factors, called tastants - such as sodium, sugar, and amino acids - through taste, however, how we sense water in the mouth was unknown," said Assistant professor of biology, Yuki Oka.

"Many insect species are known to 'taste' water, so we imagined that mammals also might have a machinery in the taste system for water detection."

Source: Science Magazine | Comments (42)

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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #33 Posted by The Silver Thong 7 years ago
Do you know of Nakusp. I lived west of town. It`s funny the guy in the video is called Jeff, thats my name damn it.  
Comment icon #34 Posted by .ZZ. 7 years ago
Megs looks like a nice person though.
Comment icon #35 Posted by The Silver Thong 7 years ago
I thought the funny part was when the dog found the source of the hot sping stepped in burnt his foot then tryed drinking from it lol I know that sounds mean but it`s like watching your buddy do something really stupid and gets hurt. Ok that sounds mean too but who doesn`t laugh at first and then go, you ok. Cleanest water ever just don`t fall in it`s berrrr I use to eat alot of snow too.  
Comment icon #36 Posted by WoIverine 7 years ago
Anyone ever looked into the Ph of bottled waters?  It's pretty interesting. I guess some prefer alkaline, while others don't really pay much attention to it. Alkaline water (Fiji water) gives me raging heartburn for some reason, which is really weird.
Comment icon #37 Posted by The Silver Thong 7 years ago
It`s almost like you just can`t trust water anymore. I have read up on bottled water and your right, most of it is just tap water. Hope it`s not from Flint Michigan.
Comment icon #38 Posted by glorybebe 7 years ago
I lived in both Nelson and Castlegar.  I grew up in the Kootenays.  I am now in the Okanagan, but really miss the Kootenays.  Best water straight from the ground
Comment icon #39 Posted by The Silver Thong 7 years ago
Oh wow I like Nelson but it`s been awhile. I hear they have a Wallmart now lol. The best water is the water filtered through moss, sure you get bit`s in your mouth but you know it`s clean. Oh and watch out for bear turds, that tastes yucky. Don`t ask how I know that Castlegar that`s on crystal lake right, well not on it but you know what I meen. If I`m right there is some awsome cliff diving there or jumping. I was to scared to dive.  
Comment icon #40 Posted by glorybebe 7 years ago
The Arrow Lakes.  Instead of left to Nelson from the valley, you would turn right.  We always had such nice clear water there
Comment icon #41 Posted by The Silver Thong 7 years ago
Hey I didn`t know that. I thought Castlegar was closer to Trail. Nakusp is in th upper Arrow Lakes. I know but I hope to live there again one day. My folks still live there. I try to go often as I can but I have a crappy car lol    
Comment icon #42 Posted by glorybebe 7 years ago
If you haven't been there for a while, Castlegar has really grown.  It is before Trail.  The loop of three cities: Nelson, Castlegar and Trail.  I wouldn't live near Trail with Cominco there dumping into the river .  Nakusp being at the North end is not only quieter, but cleaner.  When I would go hiking in the Valley, we would drink right out of the creeks and rivers.  They were so fresh 

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