Why does ear wax taste sour?
I am interested in both the physiochemical mechanisms and the evolutionary reasons behind the sour taste of earwax.
Earwax, also called cerumen, is slightly acidic (1), with a pH of about 6, and acidic foods or substances taste sour. The composition of earwax, upon which its taste depends, is related to its functions. Earwax aids in cleaning and lubrication of the ear canal and has an antimicrobial effect. The antimicrobial effect is in part attributed to its acidity, which might give an evolutionary reason for the sour taste.