1. Sundowner
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    Sundowner Member

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    What gives blood it's flavor?

    Discussion in 'Research' started by Sundowner, Jun 10, 2015.

    From second-hand accounts, I've learned (or assumed at least) that all blood tastes different. Human blood tastes different from animal blood, and everyone's blood has it's own unique flavor. I've been researching how blood can have unique traits, but I can't really figure out what gives it a unique flavor.

    I'm trying to continue my vampire novel, and I need something to differentiate human blood from animal blood, primarily though taste, but perhaps I could also use antibodies if that won't do.
     
  2. Aaron Smith
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    Aaron Smith Contributing Member Contributor

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    There's only one way to do it: Sacrifice to our overlords and drink the blood of the fallen, and the tears of the lamenters!

    Anyway, I believe it's due to varying levels of iron and salt. But don't quote me. Either way, your reader probably won't care.
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2015
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  3. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    I'm going to go out on a limb - since I have no evidence and do not feel like doing research - and say the main flavor is from the hemoglobin, which is an iron compound. Iron has a useful tendency to oxidize rather easily; thus, it serves as an efficient oxygen-getter-transporter through the blood stream. Hemoglobin is also what gives blood its distinctive color. At least in vertebrates. There are other compounds that are made use of as an oxygen transport in the animal kingdom, but all vertebrates use hemoglobin.
     
  4. Woof
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    Woof Contributing Member

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    I don't know much about anything other than my own blood (which tastes predominantly of iron, based on what my very human taste buds can recognise!) but I'll watch with curiosity to see what comes up here; mostly because I wonder if you could then control the flavours by altering the prey's diet?
     
  5. ToeKneeBlack
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    ToeKneeBlack Contributing Member Contributor

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    I understand the dominant flavour of blood is the metallic component of haemoglobin, though it depends on what the person or animal has been eating.

    Salt also contributes to the flavour, but blood can also be sweet if there is enough glucose in there.
     
  6. No-Name Slob
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    No-Name Slob Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    That's exactly what I was going to say without doing any research. So I think that since two people came to the same assumption, that will suffice for spending the time necessary to find out the factual answer. ;)
     
  7. Woof
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    Woof Contributing Member

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    So, with a high-sugar westernised diet, the blood of humans would probably taste really sweet by comparison then? Curious.

    Interesting article on why mosquitoes choose to feed off people over animals: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/scientists-discover-how-mosquitos-came-to-love-the-taste-of-humans-9856770.html
     
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  8. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    For me, it is usually Tabasco. But I don't know what other people use.
     
  9. Jack Asher
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    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

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    No, absolutely not. @ToeKneeBlack is referring to diabetics, who have no way to regulate the amount of sugar in their blood. Even someone with a broken pancreas will have normal, salty, metallic blood.

    Edited to add: A diabetic's urine will be sweet though. Good luck unknowing that.
     
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  10. Aaron Smith
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    Aaron Smith Contributing Member Contributor

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    Thanks. I will strictly drink urine from diabetics now.
     
  11. Sundowner
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    Is that true? I know store-bought meat doesn't have much if any blood in it, but just from tasting my own blood from accidentally cutting myself, my blood tastes a lot sweeter than, say, cow meat. And I'm very healthy. Never tasted animal blood before though, so I don't know how much it differs from the meat.

    I'm not sure if relying purely on human taste alone would suffice for why a vampire would prefer human blood over animal blood. Perhaps I need to have their taste buds modified to detect something more specific, maybe antibodies? I'm far from a biologist though (or whatever other profession would know about that stuff), so I don't know how realistic that is.
     
  12. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Taste is a combination of the blood itself, the taster's taste buds and a heavy influence from one's olfactory senses. Anyone who has smoked for a while and then quit no doubt noticed at some point after one's sense of smell returns how much it does indeed affect the perception of taste.

    It's fiction, write whatever you want.
     
  13. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    It's a vampire, a preternatural being that does not exist in the real world as the supernatural being from myth and folklore. Why rely on science to give you an answer? Any scientifically sound answer you find is likely to be esoteric at best and not known to the average Joe/Jane reading your story. Give them something more. Give them something that you make real through your writing. Let the vampire taste the worries and angst and complexity of human life. Let the vampire crave the illogic and unreason that flows through the veins of vain humans. Let the vampire suckle from this warm teat of confusion in a way that no simple, logical, programmed lower vertebrate could ever satisfy.
     
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  14. Jack Asher
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    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

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    Well even that wouldn't matter significantly, because over 75% of what we taste is actually what we smell
     
  15. Sundowner
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    Sundowner Member

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    Haha, yeah I know taste is mostly smell. I was just trying to be a little scientific about the story, I like explaining things. But yeah, I guess sometimes explaining it just doesn't work, and it's usually more fun to make it mysterious anyway.
    The vampirism in my book changes their psyche, I suppose I could even just make them think they're addicted to human blood. Thanks for all the information.
     
  16. ToeKneeBlack
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    ToeKneeBlack Contributing Member Contributor

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    The vampirism could change their perception of the taste of blood, making it seem sweet.
     
  17. Sundowner
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    Sundowner Member

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    I've been thinking about it and I really like what @Woof posted about mosquitoes. Pheromones are kind of my go-to thing for behavior altering, I already use it for other aspects. I gotta admit BioShock introduced me to the idea and I liked it a lot.
    I suppose human blood by itself wouldn't have that pheromone though, which means it would be useless outside of a human and kind of adds some restrictions on how they can feed (can't hoard the stuff), but I suppose I'll just sort of ignore that.
     
  18. AspiringNovelist
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    Having tasted animal blood (venison), it's an earthy iron with a gamey/wild taste. When I got a busted lip in school, it tasted like iron and salt. So, I think iron in the blood provides the overpowering taste.

    Ever tasted dog food? It tastes exactly as it looks - delicious!
     

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