Ammonium chloride is the ammonium salt of hydrochloric acid, composed of the elements nitrogen, hydrogen and chlorine and is perhaps better known to non-chemists as ammonia – the eponymous component of ammonia lozenges or licorice ammonia salt. The taste is difficult to describe, and that may be because the taste of ammonia is its own: According to a recent study, some sensory cells in the tongue appear to carry a receptor that is specifically activated by ammonium chloride molecules.
This is what a team of scientists led by Emily Lehman of the University of Southern California in Los Angeles wrote In the journal “Nature Communications”. The experts studied the interactions of the OTOP1 receptor, which is located in a specific type of taste sensory cell and transmits sour taste. As Lehmann and his team now show, OTOP1 is also activated by Salmiac. The salt alkaline the interior of the cell, causing the cell to undergo electrical stimulation.
The team of scientists tested this, among other things, on cell cultures in which they were able to directly measure the behavior of OTOP1 receptors. Using genetically modified mice, which lack, among other things, a putative ammonia receptor, Lehmann and his colleagues also demonstrated that reactions measured in a culture dish were also reflected in the animals’ behavior. Laboratory mice no longer feel aversion to ammonia, perhaps because they no longer taste it.
Of course, the taste of salmiak is not an evolutionary adaptation to confectionery products. Instead, scientists are convinced that this taste component is used to detect ammonium (NH34+) and ammonia (NH3) serves – both toxic amino acid breakdown products in high doses. This would explain why the OTOP1 receptor is so widespread in the animal kingdom, not just in humans and mice, but also in worms such as C. elegans It is happening.
Whether the scientific community will accept “salmiak graft” as a new sixth primary graft can only be seen after further research. After Japanese researcher Kikunae Ikeda first hypothesized the existence of the taste component umami in the early 20th century, it took about 80 years for experts to follow suit, Lehman University writes. In a press release. The future will show if things will be faster this time.
“Alcohol buff. Troublemaker. Introvert. Student. Social media lover. Web ninja. Bacon fan. Reader.”