Taste Buds

Taste buds are special structures that help detect tastes. We all have about 10,000 taste buds, mainly on the tongue with a few at the back of the throat and on the palate. Taste buds surround pores within the protuberances on the tongue's surface and elsewhere.

A taste bud is a taste receptor. There are four types of taste receptors: (1) sweet, as produced by table sugar; (2) sour, as produced by vinegar; (3) salty, as produced by table salt; and (4) bitter, as produced by caffeine...

Anatomy Explorer

Full Taste Buds Description

[Continued from above] . . . or quinine. All tastes are formed from a mixture of these basic elements.

Each of these taste receptors is most highly concentrated in certain regions of the tongue's surface. Sweet receptors are mostly on the tip of the tongue (noted in a child's preference to lick a candy sucker rather than chew it). Sour receptors occur primarily along the sides of the tongue and are stimulated mainly by acids. Salt receptors are most common in the tip and upper front portion of the tongue. Mainly inorganic salts stimulate them. Bitter receptors are located toward the back of the tongue. They are stimulated by a variety of chemical substances, most of which are organic compounds, although some inorganic salts of magnesium and calcium produce bitter sensations too.