From bugs to drugs

A new study led by Prof Shoumo Bhattacharya has decoded the structure of unique proteins found in tick saliva and created new ones not found in nature, paving the way for a new generation of "Swiss-army knife' anti-inflammatory ...

Mosquito protein controls blood feeding

Biting insects use a range of tools when sucking blood from hosts to maximize their chances of a good meal. Only female mosquitos feed on blood, which provides a high level of nutrients for egg production. The saliva of biting ...

Researchers develop smartphone-based ovulation test

Investigators from Brigham and Women's Hospital are developing an automated, low-cost tool to predict a woman's ovulation and aid in family planning. Capitalizing on advancements in several areas, including microfluidics, ...

Saliva could influence taste preferences

Saliva is crucial for tasting and digesting food, but scientists have now found that it may have another, more subtle role. Salivary proteins could be part of a feedback loop that influences how food tastes to people—and ...

Pungent tasting substance in ginger reduces bad breath

The pungent compound 6-gingerol, a constituent of ginger, stimulates an enzyme in saliva that breaks down foul-smelling substances. It thus ensures fresh breath and a better aftertaste. Citric acid, on the other hand, increases ...

Saliva proteins could explain why some people overuse salt

Many Americans consume too much salt. Now in a study appearing in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, scientists report that people who can easily taste salt have differing amounts of certain proteins in their ...

Blood spatters reveal a suspect's age through new technique

Researchers at King's College London have discovered a new method of forensic analysis which could more accurately predict the age of criminal suspects based on samples of blood and saliva found at crime scenes.

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Saliva

Saliva (also referred to as spit , spittle or slobber) is the watery and usually frothy substance produced in the mouths of humans and most other animals. Saliva is produced in and secreted from the salivary glands. Human saliva is composed mostly of water, but also includes electrolytes, mucus, antibacterial compounds, and various enzymes. As part of the initial process of food digestion, the enzymes in the saliva break down some of the starch and fat in the food at the molecular level. Saliva also breaks down food caught in the teeth, protecting them from bacteria that cause decay. Furthermore, saliva lubricates and protects the teeth, the tongue, and the tender tissues inside the mouth. Saliva also plays an important role in tasting food by trapping thiols produced from odourless food compounds by anaerobic bacteria living in the mouth.

Various species have evolved special uses for saliva that go beyond predigestion. Some swifts use their gummy saliva to build their nests. Some Aerodramus swiftlet nests are made only from saliva and used to make bird's nest soup. Cobras, vipers, and certain other members of the venom clade hunt with venomous saliva injected by fangs. Some arthropods, such as spiders and caterpillars, create thread from salivary glands.

This text uses material from Wikipedia, licensed under CC BY-SA