The five basic tastes have sixth sibling: oleogustus | Science News

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The five basic tastes have sixth sibling: oleogustus

Perception of fat gets pride of place alongside sweet, salty and the others

By
6:00am, July 31, 2015
Olive oil

TASTY  Fats like one found in olive oil don’t just please the palate; they fall under a taste category distinct from the five well-known ones, researchers argue.

Oleogustus
/OH-lee-oh-GUHS-tuhs/ n.

The taste of certain fats.

Move over, umami. Fat is the newest member of the pantheon of basic tastes, joining salty, sweet, sour, bitter and savory, or umami.

Researchers at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind., conducted taste tests pitting a variety of fats against flavors in the other taste categories, such as monosodium glutamate for umami. The result: People recognize some fats as separate from the other five taste categories, even with plugged noses. The researchers dub this sixth sense oleogustus.

For instance, nearly two-thirds of tasters identified one type of fat — linoleic acid, found in vegetable and nut oils — as a distinct flavor. Texture wasn’t a factor; the researchers whipped up tasting samples that gave the same mouthfeel.

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