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New study exposes panda sweet tooth

Published on Mar 27, 2014 5:25 AM
 
In a blind taste test, eight out of eight pandas agree - sugar is delicious. -- FILE PHOTO: AFP  

WASHINGTON (AFP) - In a blind taste test, eight out of eight pandas agree - sugar is delicious.

In a new study out Wednesday, scientists put the panda taste receptors to the test, wondering whether the cuddly critters would even notice the difference between plain water and the sweet stuff.

"Generally speaking, animals that eat plants have a sweet taste receptor because that enables them to detect sugars that are in plants that are sources of calories," explained Gary Beauchamp, director of the Monell Center that carried out the research.

But unlike most herbivores, pandas stick to one plant - bamboo - which is notoriously low on sugar.

 
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