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               Recent Discoveries in the Field of Gustation
                             Taste Research Breakthroughs
In virtually every field of science, or anything else for that matter, there are innumerable areas of research work underway. The most elusive thing about taste research is that there has been no clearly stated, universally accepted criterion for defining what a ‘basic taste’ really is.
In spite of that long- persistent handicap, many neuroscientists and taste researchers continue to press on to discover more and better new ways to make   discoveries in taste. That is surely true, and it is obvious from the tremendous sums of money being poured into studies in order to expand taste knowledge. It is becoming increasingly apparent that the extreme importance of 'tasting' in so many aspects of the human experience impacts the quality of essentially all life.                             
Despite man's inability to accurately define 'basic tastes,' work is being done by hundreds of psycho scientists and neural scientists to list other 'basic tastes,’ such as piquancy from chili peppers; metallic from calcium and other compounds; fatty acids from many kinds of fats; and water, although the receptivity of water as a basic taste is far from being accepted generally.
Some very interesting 'breakthroughs' are occurring in the various fields of taste research. Much work is being done to give us healthier foods with improved tastes, and this is driving much of the development work.
From research in the 'lands down under' have come studies that indicate humans can detect fats in taste receptor cells, and have made it appear that this new flavor breakthrough will lead to fat becoming the sixth 'basic taste.'
Another very recent find is a chemical substance known as GIV3727 and discovered by the Givaudan Flavor Company within the last year. These researchers have found a way to 'block bitter flavors' with this new compound.
An extremely significant 2010 breakthrough seems to be one in which salt can be reduced in our diet, while we still sense enough salt to satisfy our tastes. Researchers are working to try to change the actual salt flavor reception by our taste buds to make low sodium foods yield a saltier taste. Modifying a receptor protein can possibly make the salt taste stronger. Imagine the saving of heart- and high blood pressure-induced sicknesses and death, by lessening the intake of sodium chloride.
Umami, being the most recent taste accepted universally as a 'basic taste' is often in the news. The most recent discovery of umami-related significance seems to be from an ancient tomb in Hunan, Changsha, China. Experts date remains of umami-bearing foods from that ‘archeological dig’ to the 2nd century BC. The savory taste came from a fermented condiment called 'douchi' in China. These foods that were found were prepared from meat or fish, both of which are involved in the
taste of umami.
A field under exploration among a few taste researchers is an old time, 8thcentury Middle East favorite, rose water. While it is famed for its fragrance and is used in many functions because of that good aroma, it has been a taste favorite in countries like old Persia, Turkey, and India, for over 1,000 years. The ‘flavor’ comes from damask roses and other purple shaded varieties, which are extensively grown throughout the Middle East. That is the explanation for such popularity in that part of the world. The ‘rose’ flavor blends favorably with ingredients of ice cream, tea, and pastries. Rose is used to develop flavors much as do spices, and it blends and compliments baked chicken, apples, white chocolate and bananas. 
                                    While this is not a true Damask Rose,
                                          it does exhibit a similar appearance and  
                                         aroma, which is like the rose water flavor.
                                           The roses pictured are grown in Texas.                    
Deeper studies and research are being considered for modifying some actual foods to make them yield better and stronger flavors. For example, apples are being studied for modification to make them tastier and crispier. Chicken made from soy protein has been basically equal in taste and texture with real chicken, and provides even better nourishment.
It has been shown that the even foods that were disliked before fasting, taste good after the fast is complete. That is logical since one comes out of a fast ‘hungry.’ Look what the implications are for changing to a healthier diet by fasting and restarting with good-for-you foods…and developing a sincere enjoyment for them. A real life-style change can be made.
The drive of the research in taste is for better tasting and healthier foods, as far as commercial concerns are concerned. University research departments pursue taste improvements in the cause of science’s thirst for knowledge. But in the end, it seems to be a given that it is for the consumer’s welfare and advantage that taste research continues. Indeed it appears the heavy emphasis on taste breakthroughs will continue. dp
References for this article.
Seeking Salt - Discoveries and Breakthroughs (Biology)
taste - recent discoveries - AOL Search Results
How Taste Works
Current Taste Research
Taste Research - what will be coming next
New Taste Research - AOL Search Page
Current Taste Research Centers
2010 Taste Research Breakthroughs
Seeking Salt - Discoveries and Breakthroughs (Biology)
Bringing Research to the Table
Green-food Breakthrough: Fake Chicken that "Tastes Like Chicken"
Asian Food Journal, July - August 2010, Story titled, "The Fifth Taste",
written by the Umami Information Center. Website: www.umamiinfo.com

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