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Smell & Taste
Next Generation: MS.LS1.8 MS.LS1.8

Smell & Taste


This lesson will describe how receptors allow you to detect smells & tastes and will will describe the link between taste and smell.

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Terms to Know

A perception of taste often associated with spoiled or undesirable foods (examples: sour milk, nicotine).

Chemical senses

Special senses that are detected by highly specialized, chemical receptors (olfaction and gustation) that detect dissolved chemicals and gases; olfactory and gustation receptors are encapsulated nerve endings that are embedded with mucous membranes (olfactory) or muscle & epithelial tissues (gustation).

Olfactory receptors

Receptors embedded within the mucous membranes of the nose that are specialized in detecting odor molecules/various odors; encapuslated nerves that synapse with the olfactory bulb on the superior/upper aspect of the roof of the nose.


Foods that are rich in salts/minerals elicit the sensation of saltiness (sodium, calcium salts, etc).


A perception of taste triggered by acidic foods (example: citrus fruits).


Foods that are naturally rich in carbohydrates elicit the sensation of sweetness; there are also artificial compounds designed to stimulate sweetness (artificial sweeteners).

Taste receptors

Encapsulated receptors found within taste buds; taste buds are located on lingual papillae on the tongue, in the roof of the mouth and your throat; there are 5 different tastes that human taste buds are capable of detecting.


A perception of taste triggered by amino acids and is often associated with savory foods (example: meat).