Humans can 'taste' carbon dioxide in fizzy drinks
The human tongue can taste the "flavour" of carbon dioxide in the bubbles of fizzy drinks, which may explain why flat Champagne is not so much fun as drinking it fresh from the bottle.
Scientists have found that taste receptors on the tongue which detect the flavour of sour food can also respond to the gases of carbonated or fermented drinks, which may explain why the bursting of Champagne bubbles on the tongue is so pleasurable.
Charles Zuker, a neuroscientist at Columbia University in New York, found that a class of taste-receptor cells in the tongue respond to carbon dioxide, and specifically identified an enzyme called carbonic anhydrase 4 in the detection of the gas. Previous research had concluded that the tingling sensation produced from fizzy drinks was due to the bursting of CO2 bubbles but the new research revealed that the way we taste may also be responsible.
The study, published in the journal Science, was carried out on laboratory mice genetically modified to lack sour-sensing taste cells. The scientists found that the mice also lacked the ability to detect carbon dioxide in carbonated water, but those that retained the sour-sensing cells showed a neurological response when drinking carbonated water.
The finding could explain why champagne, beer and other fizzy drinks taste flat and uninteresting when people are given acetazolamide, a prophylactic taken to avert altitude sickness. The drug is also known to inhibit the carbonic anhydrase 4 enzyme in the sourness taste receptors of the tongue.
- 2 Company breaks open Apple Watch to discover what it says is 'planned obsolescence'
- 4 The most powerful passports in the world
- 5 Chinese student carries disabled friend to school every day for three years
Nepal earthquake: How you can help victims of the Kathmandu disaster
Nepal earthquake in pictures: Photos show devastation caused by 7.8 magnitude earthquake
Royal baby: Live updates as superbug closes ward at St Mary's Hospital in London where Duchess of Cambridge is due to give birth
Teaching profession headed for crisis as numbers continue to drop and working lives become 'unbearable'
General Election 2015: The photo of a tree that proves the Tories have an image problem
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Migrant boat disaster: Ukip candidate mocks victims in sickening Twitter post
Nigel Farage wants the BBC to stop making programmes like Doctor Who, Strictly Come Dancing, and Top Gear
Global warming: Scientists say temperatures could rise by 6C by 2100 and call for action ahead of UN meeting in Paris
General Election 2015: Britain would become a 'communist dictatorship' under Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon, claims wife of Michael Gove
£26000 - £28000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistan...
£24000 - £26000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...
£22000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is part of a Group...
£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a a young, dynamic pers...