31 Jan Chemistry – The Science Behind Taste
We eat a lot of different kinds of food, ever wondered about the science behind the food and the tastes. You will have noticed that when you cut up bananas for lunch and pack it, it turns brown. The science behind this is that there is release of ethylene gas in the cut banana which causes it to over ripen and eventually results in the browning. Similarly, when bananas are placed with apples, it has an accomplice chemical PPO or polyphenol oxidase which results in apples getting ripened faster. Many fruit sellers, use the chemical processes, without knowing the science behind it to ripen fruit faster.
When you eat a chilly or some spicy Indian curry, you will feel the heat in your mouth and soon you are salivating and getting teary eyed. Here is what happens from the science or chemical perspective of things. The chilly or curry that is so spicy and causing your mouth to water has a chemical constituent named capsaicin. This chemical causes calcium ions to flood the cells which in turn trigger the heat reaction or pain. Reaching for cold water is the common reaction but, capsaicin is not soluble in water, yogurt or other milk products which contain casein. Science comes to the rescue again, Casein will wash away the heat producing capsaicin molecules away.