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Author: Subject: Taste of different acids?
bolbol
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[*] posted on 3-3-2015 at 19:20
Taste of different acids?


This may seem like a crazy idea but I dont see a why not in it :D. I am interested to try out very very very very dilute solutions of different acids(the non poisonous kind) without actually swallowing it. I know HCl, citric acid, phosphoric acid, occur in foods or beverages that we drink at very low concentrations obviously.
I would like to try them each separately and see if there is any difference in taste since all acids are described to have a "sour, sharp" taste to them. Before I do that I would like to how much do you guys think I should dilute a solution with to be able to notice an actual taste without posing any harm?

I'd like to try HCl for starters and then Phosphoric acid. I heard HNO3 is toxic so Ill have to read more about it before I attempt anything.
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[*] posted on 3-3-2015 at 19:50


I've tasted almost all my inorganic acids (and of course vinegar besides) including nitric, sulfuric, hydrochloric, phosphoric, hydrobromic, hydroiodic and several others.
They all have different tastes although all the halide acids taste very similar. I would consider nitric non-toxic, especially if only a drop and then rinsed and spit out.
I diluted a mL with 50 mLs of water where each concentration for the above acids where originally 68%, 98%, 37%, 85%, >30% and >40% respectively IIRC.
Some acids I would not taste are, hydrofluoric acid, hexavalent chromic acid :o, nickel acids and acidic salts thereof, cobalt acids and acidic salts, most other organic acids and many, many more.
[EDIT] Oh and I can't forget the common ones I do taste, or at least injest: ascorbic acid (vitamin C), acetylsalicylic acid (aspirin), citric acid and nasty butyric acid- not in pure form or on purposes but rather rancid butter.
BTW, as Jesus said "you're not a real man unless you drink fluoroantimonic acid with your coffee every morning." Well at least I say that...


[Edited on 4-3-2015 by Molecular Manipulations]




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BobD1001
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[*] posted on 3-3-2015 at 19:54


Having had an accidental whiff of HF, I can tell you it smells much like an off vinegar but with much more sting to the nostrils and back of the throat. I'm assuming it may taste as such also, just not wanting to be part of that experiment!
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bolbol
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[*] posted on 3-3-2015 at 21:41


Anyone tasted Perchloric acid? lol
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[*] posted on 3-3-2015 at 21:51


Hmm, I don't think so. I'm guessing it will be much less corrosive than sulfuric or nitric acid. Probably equivalent to hydrochloric or even less. Chloric on the other hand...



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[*] posted on 4-3-2015 at 00:13


If very dilute (e.g. 0.1% or so), you could safely taste HNO3 and HClO4. They are not really toxic.

But on the other hand, why taste acids? The problem is not in tasting the dilute acids, but in the chance of making mistakes. What if you accidently take some of your concentrated acid (e.g. 96% H2SO4 or 65% HNO3 :o) or some of a wrong acid (e.g. taking some of your arsenic acid or cacodylic acid while thinking you are taking some malic acid or citric acid)? You always can make mistakes, but when it comes to tasting things, the consequences of making mistakes can be much nastier than in other experiments.

For me, the rule is simple: never taste any chemical, not even NaCl or NaHCO3. You can always by accident take something else which is much more harmful.




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[*] posted on 4-3-2015 at 00:23


I understand your concern but obviously I put my safety and health first and if I was unsure of the kind of the acid that I was using, then I probably wouldn't take the chance at all.

And I don't know about HNO3s toxicity much, I guess its when ingested. I remember I read somewhere that in your body Nitrates turn into Nitrites??? And apparently thats bad
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[*] posted on 4-3-2015 at 00:55


Nitrites are used to preserve a very wide range of 'cured' and processed meats. There's some controversy around their use, not because of the toxicity of the nitrites directly per say, but because of the potential formation of highly carcinogenic nitrosamines in the gut supposedly aided by bacteriological action. Whether that's fact or fiction, I do not know.



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[*] posted on 4-3-2015 at 01:34


Nitrites indeed are not really toxic by themselves (unless ingested in larger quantities), but they can react with secondary amines with formation of nitrosamines. Fish (especially somewhat less fresh fish) always contains some dimethylamine and at low pH (as is the case in the stomach) this can react with nitrous acid (from nitrite) to form dimethylnitrosamine. These nitrosamines are known carcinogens. So, eating certain types of flesh (e.g. salami, which frequently contains some NaNO2) combined with fish is not healthy, but of course if you do that infrequently, then I would not worry too much.



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[*] posted on 4-3-2015 at 05:38


Since gastric acid is up to 0.1M Hydrochloric acid (pH 1)
I would use a much lower maximum concentration than that for safety, e.g. 0.001M (pH 3) maximum.

Maybe different acids and bases are detectable at different concentrations,
or the concentration of any one particular may affect the taste.
So maybe you could do an experiment to determine minimum 'tasteable' concentration for each of your known, non-toxic acids and bases.
Then 10, 20, 30.. years from now you could do the same experiment to see how your taste sensitivity changes over time?
assuming that you don't poison yourself too soon :D

P.S spit, don't swallow :o
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[*] posted on 4-3-2015 at 07:05


Hydrocyanic acid would taste like your last seconds in this mortal coil.



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[*] posted on 4-3-2015 at 08:10


Since we're listing mineral acids NOT to taste, hydrazoic acid is another definite no.



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[*] posted on 4-3-2015 at 08:17


While we're at it: Hydrogen cyanide, sometimes called prussic acid is something I would not drink by the gallon, or the mL for that matter.



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[*] posted on 4-3-2015 at 12:35


Other straight-chain carboxylic acids would be interesting, considering we consume so much vinegar. Formic acid, propionic acid, butyric acid, lauric acid, etc.



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[*] posted on 4-3-2015 at 13:11


Tartaric, citric, malic, maleic, acetic, oxalic, lactic and malonic should be safe to taste in small enough quantities. But I've smelled lactic acid, and don't want to taste it.



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[*] posted on 4-3-2015 at 13:23


Tartaric acid is in my fake ginger beer, citric acid is in my fake lemon juice, malic acid is in my fake orange squash concentrate (could have been malonic, I forget), acetic is in my fake vinegar, oxalic is in my spinach, lactic is in my yoghurt... pretty sure we all know what those taste like :D

...oh and phosphoric acid's in my Coke along with carboxylic acid :mad:

[Edited on 4-3-2015 by deltaH]




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[*] posted on 4-3-2015 at 15:12


Tasting acids, or any chemicals, is extremely stupid.

However, it does sound like a great idea !

Dilution is clearly the right thing to do.

How to make the Descriptions of a Sensory Experience useful or anywhere near standard is the biggest problem.

Perhaps someone will look up how wine tasters work and try to come up with a Standard.

It's certainly Unknown information, scientifically.




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[*] posted on 4-3-2015 at 15:57


in my youth i tasted some lysergic acid. it was good.
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[*] posted on 4-3-2015 at 16:31


This is an outstanding idea! I love to taste things. How come this never occurred to me?! We could create an etiquette and all, and sell 10ml bottles of 0.001M acids as gourmet stuff. It could even be marketed as "digestive" or "firebrand". Listen guys, possibilities here are endless.

Fatty acids taste nice. I wonder why the lower cousins are so nasty. What about phenols? I find tannin at low concentrations quite not displeasing.




Bromine, definitely bromine.
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[*] posted on 4-3-2015 at 17:32


Quote: Originally posted by NexusDNA  
What about phenols? I find tannin at low concentrations quite not displeasing.

Google search: site:www.thegoodscentscompany.com chemical name

Click the Organoleptics tab. There is often flavor data.
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[*] posted on 4-3-2015 at 18:13


Woa! That's awesome Etaoin, thank you very much!

[Edited on 5-3-2015 by NexusDNA]




Bromine, definitely bromine.
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[*] posted on 4-3-2015 at 19:21


Btw just curious can arsenic acid be absorbed through the mouth? :D:D
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[*] posted on 5-3-2015 at 15:47


Quote: Originally posted by bolbol  
Btw just curious can arsenic acid be absorbed through the mouth? :D:D
Wouldn't risk it!

Also, don't try formic acid. Concentrated, it can make you go blind, or even kill you. Diluted, it will still probably make you feel like you just put a handful of live fire-ants in your mouth.

[Edited on 3-5-2015 by zts16]




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[*] posted on 6-3-2015 at 09:27


In the old days using taste was considered a standard method in chemistry and students were taught to taste chemicals as part of their analysis.

Within reason, this method can still be used, assuming precautions are taken.

There are no hard and fast guidelines as how to render harmless a given substances. It depend entirely on the item. It is unwise to expose yourself to organic or radioactive compounds (internally) because they can be hazardous even in very small quantities.

It is usually better to sniff something before tasting it. In this case a very powerful caustic or corrosive can often be detected before doing tissue damage. To sniff something, you "waft" it, which means you open the container and then using your hand wave over it gently, thus pushing a small amount of the vapor towards you. (Do not stick your face over the container)

Wafting will give you the odor of the substance which is related to the taste.

If the waft is stinging or noisome, then the substance must be diluted before further investigation. If the waft is not unpleasant then usually the pH is such that item can be tasted without harm. Redo the waft more vigorously to make sure the concentration is harmless. Do an explicit pH test if there is any uncertainty. Anthing between 2 and 12 is relatively safe. By comparison, lemon juice is 2, stomach acid is 1. If you have ever barfed into your mouth, you know what pH 1 is like.

When tasting make sure to have water rinse and a pH antidote (acid/base) available.



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[*] posted on 6-3-2015 at 09:41


Quote: Originally posted by jsc  

It is usually better to sniff something before tasting it. In this case a very powerful caustic or corrosive can often be detected before doing tissue damage. If the waft is not unpleasant then usually the pH is such that item can be tasted without harm.

Umm, what about non-volatiles corrosive substances like sodium hydroxide solutions or sulfuric acid?




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