This month in Biology, our student associates engaged in their lab project on super tasting!

Do you hate the taste of broccoli? Or think that grapefruit is extremely bitter? If so, you may be able to blame it on your taste buds! Taste buds, located on small bumps on the tongue called fungiform papillae, are each made up of about 50 to 150 taste receptor cells. On the surface of these cells are receptors that bind to small molecules related to flavor. Each receptor is best at sensing a single flavor: sweet, salty, bitter, sour, or umami. The sum total of these sensations is the “taste” of the food.

Our Mustangs used test stripes to determine who have relatively more taste buds, which would make them  supertasters. To supertasters, foods may have much stronger flavors, which often leads to supertasters having very strong likes and dislikes for different foods. Supertasters often report that foods like broccoli, cabbage, spinach, grapefruit and coffee taste very bitter. The opposite of supertasters are non-tasters. Non-tasters have very few taste buds and, to them, most food may seem bland and unexciting.

Our Mustangs were excited to finally have a rebuttal to why they couldn’t finish the vegetables on their plate at dinner time.