There are various chemical reactions that can occur between materials.

  1. Which chemical reactions occur with the tongue?
  2. How come all reactions are reversible (nothing sticks to my tongue)?
  3. What's special about the tongue-water interaction that makes it tasteless?
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ 1. There shouldn't necessarily be sticking to determine a chemical reaction. 2. All reactions are reversible. Some just don't get reversed cuz it's not favorable for them (i.e.: Thermodynamically or such) 3. What has your first question to do with the second?! (Separate questions should be asked in separate posts.) Sorry, I don't mean to be harsh or picking on you or something. All I intend to do is help improve the quality of the question. $\endgroup$
    – M.A.R.
    Feb 10, 2015 at 18:30
  • $\begingroup$ @MARamezani, by "reversible" I meant easily removed by mechanical means; I think the nature of the chemical reaction gives the food its taste, hence the question about water: what's so special about it that it's tasteless..? $\endgroup$
    – Sparkler
    Feb 10, 2015 at 18:44
  • $\begingroup$ About water, it's simply because our tongue buds do not sense any taste. Water isn't the only thing that "our tongue considers tasteless". About the other one, I'm not ready to answer yet. $\endgroup$
    – M.A.R.
    Feb 10, 2015 at 18:51

1 Answer 1


1) I would guess that all of the different interactions are possible except for ionic and covalent because those are much stronger than the rest and it would be difficult for the food molecules to disassociate from the taste receptors to be used again. Enzymes in saliva break down complex food molecules to smaller and simpler ones.

2) Started explaining in 1, molecules are not usually permanently bound to the taste receptor in order for the taste receptor to be used again (another molecule being able to bind to it). Some toxins form covalent bonds to receptors, such as curare. I'm not sure what kinds of receptors taste ones are but toxins target different specific receptors. Curare binds to nicotinic acetylcholine receptors, found in muscles.

3) We don't taste things unless a molecule binds to a taste receptor.


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