taste bud

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taste bud A small sense organ in most vertebrates, specialized for the detection of taste. In terrestrial animals taste buds are concentrated on the upper surface of the tongue. They contain gustatory receptors, which are sensitive to four types of taste: sweet, salt, bitter, or sour. The taste bud transmits information about a particular type of taste to the brain via nerve fibres. The four types of taste bud show distinct distribution patterns on the surface of the human tongue.

In fishes, taste buds are distributed over the entire surface of the body and provide information about the surrounding water.

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taste bud • n. (usu. taste buds) any of the clusters of bulbous nerve endings on the tongue and in the lining of the mouth that provide the sense of taste.