Gustation describes the detection of taste by chemoreceptors in the oral cavity (predominantly on the tongue)

  • The tongue is covered by thousands of small bumps called papillae, which each contain hundreds of taste buds
  • Each taste bud consists of many specialised sensory cells (gustatory epithelial cells), which detect chemicals in the mouth
  • The gustatory cells are not neurons, but will release neurotransmitters upon stimulation to activate neural pathways

The perception of taste by gustatory cells is limited, but can be expanded by olfactory information (smells)

  • This is why food may taste comparatively flavourless when an individual has a virus or cold

Perception of Taste