New research suggests that humans have a sixth basic taste in addition to sweetness, sourness, saltiness, bitterness, and umami. According to Oregon State University food scientist Juyun Lim, "we can taste other chemicals that comprise foods such as starch degradation products and fatty acids." In a study published in the journal Chemical Senses, they report that "the ability to taste starch or its oligomeric hydrolysis products would be highly adaptive, given their nutritional value."
"Humans use starch as a major source of energy, which enables the body to perform its functions," Lim told CNN.
Other researchers' candidates for a sixth basic taste include fat and calcium.