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AChems Members in the News

SPIT Lab Finds How Saliva Shapes Taste

Bitter flavors like red wine and dark chocolate are often acquired tastes. New research hints there may be an actual, biological change in our saliva that could help explain how we acquire them.

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When these flies want to sniff out food and mates, they wing it

Fruit flies don't appear to use their tiny, translucent wings for optimal flight, as one might expect. The speedy appendages seem to be doing double duty, helping the insect sniff out food, mates and other important scents, according to new research.

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VCU Research Aims To Reconnect Brain With Sense Of Smell

It’s not unusual for people to lose some degree of hearing and vision as they age, and it turns out our sense of smell also declines over time.
Accidents and disease might also be to blame when people have trouble detecting odors.
Until now, there have been no good treatments, but scientists at Virginia Commonwealth University say they may have a solution.

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Want Your Child To Eat (Almost) Everything? There Is A Way

Experts will tell you that if you want to raise a kid who eats just about everything, you should feed them what you eat — assuming you're eating a varied, healthy diet. It's what most cultures have done for most of human history.
But American culture sends parents a very different message. Kids menus full of so-called "kid foods" like chicken nuggets, pizza and french fries are everywhere. There's good reason why salty, sweet and fatty foods appeal to kids: It's basic biology.

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Sugar-free alternative sweetens drinks tax for shoppers

Ribena has been branded “devious”, Lucozade has seen a plunge in sales and across Scotland a black market has opened up in cans of “real” Irn-Bru.
It seems safe to say that the low-sugar versions of Britain’s favourite drinks, introduced before the new sugar tax, have not been met with universal acclaim. But while consumers see a problem, a British biotechnology company sees an opportunity: to produce a sweetener without the bitter aftertaste.

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CALHM3 Is Essential for Rapid Ion Channel-Mediated Purinergic Neurotransmission of GPCR-Mediated Tastes

Binding of sweet, umami, and bitter tastants to G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) in apical membranes of type II taste bud cells (TBCs) triggers action potentials that activate a voltage-gated nonselective ion channel to release ATP to gustatory nerves mediating taste perception. Although calcium homeostasis modulator 1 (CALHM1) is necessary for ATP release, the molecular identification of the channel complex that provides the conductive ATP-release mechanism suitable for action potential-dependent neurotransmission remains to be determined.

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NIDCD Director Jim Battey retires after 35 years of public service

For more than two decades, James F. Battey, Jr., M.D., Ph.D., has been a pillar of support and leadership for the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), expertly guiding research in hearing, balance, taste, smell, voice, speech, and language.

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Highlight: A tasteful conversation with atypical mitochondria at atypical synapses

The exocytotic release of neurotransmitters at chemical synapses is a major mode of intercellular communication in animals with nervous systems. This phylogenetically ancient signaling pathway is defined by a functional unit of three juxtaposed subcellular compartments: a focal zone of presynaptic neurotransmitter vesicle release sites, a restricted extracellular synaptic space, and a postsynaptic site of clustered neurotransmitter receptors. However, for taste perception in vertebrates, nature has evolved an atypical mode of synaptic transmission involving nonexocytotic release of ATP from presynaptic taste cells to target ionotropic P2X purinergic receptors on postsynaptic gustatory nerves.

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Here’s How Scientists are Tricking you into Eating your Veggies

There are people in this world who genuinely love vegetables. Some snack on frozen broccoli straight from the bag. Others crave carrots, adore asparagus, and even finish their kale without being bribed, begged, or threatened.

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How Many Smells Can One Marijuana Strain Have?

When describing the smell of marijuana, people usually use one word: skunky. But instead of using one word, a research team recently put 48 odor descriptors before participants in a study examining the unique aromatic traits of individual weed strains.

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Nicole Garneau: Taking Taste Tests to the Next Level

Garneau has welcomed the community into the realm of scientific research, offering visitors the chance to co-create the research she conducts on human taste by helping select, co-design, launch and execute the human genetics studies in the Lab. As part of this open-door initiative, museum visitors can also choose to become crowdsourced participants in the annual research studies, donating their data, DNA and tongues to science. Garneau has worked extensively to make the experience inclusive, and in 2016 was awarded a $1 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to expand her innovative community model to both English and Spanish.

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This strange condition makes you feel like you just burned your mouth on hot coffee—indefinitely

The pain came without warning. It was February of last year, and the man was eating dinner. He’d just reached for a glass of wine.

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Unlocking Secrets of Sour Flavors With Something Found in Your Ears

Of the five tastes — sweet, salty, sour, bitter and umami — sour is one of the most mysterious. Bite into a piece of lemon and — bing! — your brain gets a message that something sour has arrived. But unlike sweet and bitter, for example, for which biologists have identified proteins on the tongue’s taste cells that detect the molecules involved, the sourness of acids like lemon juice and vinegar has remained enigmatic, with the exact details of how we pick up on it little understood. Now, however, in a paper published last month in Science, researchers report that they have found a protein in mouse taste cells that is likely a key player in the detection of sour flavors.

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Review of Rachel Herz's new book, "Why You Eat What You Eat"

In this factual feast, neuroscientist Rachel Herz probes humanity’s fiendishly complex relationship with food from the inside out. We learn that a fetus detects aromatic compounds from food its mother eats, paving the way for preference; that we eat less of snacks served in red dishes; and that olive oil’s aroma may help to control weight.

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The Circadian Clock in Your Nose

When people tell you, “wake up and smell the roses,” they might be giving you bad advice. Your sense of smell may fluctuate in sensitivity over the course of 24 hours, in tune with our circadian clocks, with your nose best able to do its job during the hours before you go to sleep, according to a study published last month.

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Why the Scent of Blood Lures Wolves But Repels People

A single molecule released from fresh blood, the one that gives it that metallic smell, causes humans to recoil and other animals to lick their lips in predatory anticipation, reveals a new study.

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CU researchers win prestigious $2 million NIH grant for brain study

Researchers from the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus and the University of Colorado Boulder have won a $2 million grant allowing them to refine a unique microscope they have developed while expanding its use to other scientists across the country.

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