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TASTE BUDDIES: Pucker Up! It's The Science Of Sour

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TASTE BUDDIES: Y U Salty?

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Boxes of lemons are packaged for sale at the New Covent Garden fruit and vegetable wholesale market, Nine Elms on February 4, 2017 in London, England. Jack Taylor/Getty Images hide caption

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Jack Taylor/Getty Images

TASTE BUDDIES: Science of Sour

Pucker up, duderinos! Short Wave's kicking off a series on taste we're calling, "Taste Buddies." In today's episode, we meet Atlantic science writer Katherine Wu and together, we take a tour through the mysteries of sourness — complete with a fun taste test. Along the way, Katie serves up some hypotheses for the evolution of sour taste because, as Katie explains in her article, "The Paradox of Sour," researchers still have a lot to learn about this weird taste.

TASTE BUDDIES: Science of Sour

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People were more likely to try mealworms — such as these mealworm chocolate truffles sprinkled with coconut — when the ad focused on taste and experience, a study showed. Oliver Brachat/for NPR hide caption

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Oliver Brachat/for NPR

Jana Krocakova and Petra Plankova of Mamma HELP show off their new brew aimed at helping breast cancer patients undergoing chemo to "feel normal" and overcome their impaired sense of taste. Elizabeth Zahradnicek-Haas hide caption

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Elizabeth Zahradnicek-Haas

Already, Ripple has expanded its offerings to include a creamy half-and-half and, this month, a Greek-style yogurt, both of which can be used in cooking. Caitlin Maddox-Smith/Ripple Foods hide caption

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Caitlin Maddox-Smith/Ripple Foods

You're born with roughly 9,000 taste buds, and they're very good at regenerating — which is why you can recover the ability to taste just days after burning your tongue. But that changes as we age. CSA Images/Getty Images hide caption

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CSA Images/Getty Images

Flavor wheels stem from lexicons, the carefully, often scientifically selected words used to describe a product, be it food, wine, carpet cleaner or dog food. Scott Suchman/The Washington Post/Getty Images hide caption

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Scott Suchman/The Washington Post/Getty Images
Cornelia Li for NPR

With No Sense Of Smell, The World Can Be A Grayer, Scarier Place

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"It now pays to get a lot of pleasure out of a little bit of sugar," says Danielle Reed, a scientist at the Monell Chemical Senses Center. Ryan Kellman/NPR hide caption

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Ryan Kellman/NPR

The Gene For Sweet: Why We Don't All Taste Sugar The Same Way

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A slice of pork belly, with a thick layer of fat. "If we confirm that fat is a basic taste quality, it's the equivalent of saying chartreuse is a primary color," Richard Mattes of Purdue University says. "It changes our basic understanding of what taste is." Xiao He/Flickr hide caption

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Xiao He/Flickr

The first taste of an olive can be a bit shocking. But eventually, many of us start to enjoy bitter fruits, nuts and beverages. Screenshot from TEDxTalks/Youtube.com hide caption

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Screenshot from TEDxTalks/Youtube.com

The very sight of this lacy, green herb can cause some people to scream. The great cilantro debate heats up as scientists start pinpointing cilantrophobe genes. lion heart vintage/Flickr.com hide caption

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lion heart vintage/Flickr.com