Scientist discovers “sixth taste”

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 7th September 2016
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A US scientist has found that ‘starchy’ could be a humans’ ‘sixth taste’, joining the likes of salty, sweet, bitter and sour.

The discover is the latest taste to be discovered since 2009 when scientists added ‘umami’ –  a sweet and savoury combination, to the list of tastes alongside salty, sweet, bitter and sour.

Discussing her findings with New Scientist, Juyun Lim from Oregon State University explained she found evidence humans can taste starch after giving volunteers different carbohydrate solutions. The participants were able to detect starch like tastes in the solutions with Asians explaining the taste was like rice whilst Caucasians would either say it was like eating bread, pasta or flour.

Lim explained that whilst carbohydrates are broken down into sugar molecules when eaten, the volunteers were also given a compound to block sweet tastes, leaving them open to taste the starch.

It is the first time starch as a flavour has been investigated and research is still ongoing.