Monday 11 May 2015

You Smell That

As you walk along in a shopping mall, your nose catches a whiff of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies. Your tongue starts to salivate and your stomach growls. You know that those cookies will taste sweet. 

How do you know what something will taste like just by smelling it? When a food or beverage nears the mouth, the vapour molecules from the food or beverage, also known as aroma, will enter the nose. Then, it will travel further up the nasal passage and reach a group of cells which detect those molecules. Once these cells are stimulated, signals will be sent to the brain that will translate this signal as taste. When you have a flu or cold, food will be almost tasteless. This is because your nose is filled with mucus, thus blocking your nose from the vapours of food and beverages. 

Animals like dogs have a sense of smell that is thousands of times better than a human's. This is because they have many, many more receptor cells in their noses, which enable them to identify more things just by smelling it. Golden retrievers and German shepherds are widely used to detect drugs, prohibited fruits and plants, as well as humans who are trapped in landslides or avalanches. Dogs are even used to detect tumours in the human body!

So, when you finally reach the stall that sells the chocolate chip cookies, not only do you get to smell those cookies, but you get to see them as well. This will even further excite you and you will have a stronger desire to get your hands on some of them. Besides the nose and tongue, the eyesight plays a crucial role in how something tastes like.

Experiment: To show that smell influences taste

small-sized pieces (of the same size) of apples, pears and potatoes and a blindfold.

1. Cover your eyes with a blindfold.
2. Pinch your nose as tightly as possible.
3. Get a friend to place a small-sized piece of apple into your mouth. Chew it.
4. Repeat steps 1 to 3 but with small-sized pieces of pears and potatoes.

Glossary of terms:
Vapour [vey-per] particles from something that floats in the air.
Nasal [ney-zuhl] pertaining to the nose.
Mucus [myoo-kuhs] a slimy mixture of mucins, water, electrolytes and cells that are secreted in the nose and throat.
Tumours [tyoo-mer] an abnormal growth of cells.

Shared by Surain A. Victor
Guest blogger

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