The taste of table salt

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


Solutions of table salt (NaCl) elicit several tastes, including of course saltiness but also sweet, sour, and bitter. This brief review touches on some of the mileposts concerning what is known about taste transduction for the Na+ ion, the main contributor to saltiness. Electrophysiological recordings, initially from single gustatory nerve fibers, and later, integrated impulse activity from gustatory nerves led researchers to predict that Na+ ions interacted with a surface molecule. Subsequent studies have resolved that this molecule is likely to be an epithelial sodium channel, ENaC. Other Na+ transduction mechanisms are also present in taste buds but have not yet been identified. The specific type(s) of taste cells responsible for salt taste also remains unknown.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)457-463
Number of pages7
JournalPflugers Archiv European Journal of Physiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 12 2015


  • ENaC channels
  • NaCl
  • Taste
  • Transduction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Physiology (medical)


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