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Study: Researchers Discover New Taste

290px-Eating a Georgia peachResearchers in Australia claim to have discovered a new taste category. The human tongue's sensitivity to sweet, sour, bitter, salty and umami flavors has been well-known for decades. Umami was the last of the five to be accepted scientifically as a basic taste. It is the sensation of savory flavors based on glutamates and nucleotides found in foods such as meat, mushrooms and soy. Its official recognition in 1985 unleashed a flood of conversations in the world of food and drink.

Now a new study has tongues wagging again. The research, conducted by staff and graduate students at Yarra University, Melbourne have identified something they call omimi. Omimi doesn't involve newly discovered taste receptors nor chemical triggers. Stimulating the known taste receptors in certain complex combinations and at varying levels of intensity opens up sensitivity to this new taste sensation.

“It’s like a combination lock on a door to another dimension of flavor,” said Dr. Sue-Ann Sauer, one of the study's co-authors, during a teleconference announcing the study’s release. “We can reproduce it, but don’t yet have a full understanding of the mechanism behind the reaction.

The study is not conclusive and it's authors warn both further investigation and peer review are required. "We are already beginning a new phase of trials,"said Ian Debacon, head of research in the Department of Food Science at Yarra University. "Fortunately, the new flavor profile is quite pleasant and we have no shortage of volunteers for current and future testing."

Debacon's optimism is understandable given published comments from some of the first study's volunteers. "I've signed up for other research in the past, because I need the money," said undergraduate Sheila Havanatha. "Most were boring or even painful. This was amazing. I put the flavor sample in my mouth and I couldn’t describe the flavors. All I could say was, ‘Oh, my, my! I want some more.’"

Inspired by Havanatha's exclamation, the research team dubbed the sensation omimi. The study has stimulated more than test subjects. Funding for additional research has poured in from domestic food and beverage companies and some as far away as France. They all want to learn how to stimulate the new taste sensation identified at the Australian university whose acronym, YUM, has never been more appropriate.

Enjoy your April 1st.

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This article is original to NorCalWine.com. Copyright 2014 NorCal Wine. Photograph of Grayson by Bruce Tuten. All rights reserved.

Comments   

 
Bob Henry
#1 Bob Henry 2014-05-02 03:00
IT IS THOUGHT THAT "TASTE" COMPRISES A SIXTH SENSATION: FAT.

NO FOOLIN' . . .

From Specialty Food “Food Trends” Section
(June 2010, Page 64):

“Adding to the Senses: Fat"

[Link: not available ]

By Denise Shoukas
Contributing Editor

Some people love salty, some love sweet. But researchers have discovered another taste sense to add to the list. According to a recent study published in the latest issue of the "British Journal of Nutrition," researchers at Deakin University in Australia have found that in addition to the five other tastes -- sweet, sour, salty, bitter and umami -- fat is the sixth taste people can identify. And those who have a sensitive enough palate to discern this "fat flavor" tend to eat less of it and are less likely to be overweight. The researchers hope that the discovery of this new taste sense will lead to helping people lower their fat intake and aid in the development of new low-fat foods and diets.

PERSONALLY, I'M WAITING FOR THE "OMIGAWD" TASTE RECEPTOR TO BE DISCOVERED.

~~ BOB
Quote
 

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