Idle question… what does water taste like? Not that flavoured stuff. Or the slightly metallic taint that happens to tap water. Or that absolute, god-awful stuff that comes out of the taps in London.
But what does water – actual water – taste like?
That was the question researchers from Caltech University in California sought to answer in a new study in journal Nature Neuroscience. Monitoring the tongues of mice while tasting water, the study found that the drinking water stimulated the animals’ sour taste receptors and the research suggested that water’s taste should be considered the sixth taste along with sweet, sour, salty, bitter, and umami (that’s ‘meaty’ or ‘brothy’ to you and me).
Assistant professor of biology Yuki Oka explained that our ability to taste water comes from our ability to sense the liquid on our tongue. "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.”
“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.”
So, yeah: water is slightly sour. Slightly. At least in this study. All that stuff about pH levels you learnt in Chemistry class probably still counts.
(Main Image: Unsplash)