Background: Recent progress in discernment of molecular pathways of taste transduction underscores the need for comprehensive phenotypic information for the understanding of the influence of genetic factors in taste. To obtain information that can be used as a base line for assessment of effects of genetic manipulations in mice taste, we have recorded the whole-nerve integrated responses to a wide array of taste stimuli in the chorda tympani (CT) and glossopharyngeal (NG) nerves, the two major taste nerves from the tongue. Results: In C57BL/6J mice the responses in the two nerves were not the same. In general sweeteners gave larger responses in the CT than in the NG, while responses to bitter taste in the NG were larger. Thus the CT responses to cyanosuosan, fructose, NC00174, D-phenylalanline and sucrose at all concentrations were significantly larger than in the NG, whereas for acesulfame-K, L-proline, saccharin and SC45647 the differences were not significant. Among bitter compounds amiloride, atropine, cycloheximide, denatonium benzoate, L-phenylalanine, 6-n-propyl-2-thiouracil (PROP) and tetraethyl ammonium chloride (TEA) gave larger responses in the NG, while the responses to brucine, chloroquine, quinacrine, quinine hydrochloride (QHCl), sparteine and strychnine, known to be very bitter to humans, were not significantly larger in the NG than in the CT. Conclusion: These data provide a comprehensive survey and comparison of the taste sensitivity of the normal C57BL/6J mouse against which the effects of manipulations of its gustatory system can be better assessed.