MSG Facts vs. Fiction Explained in Recent News Reports

MSG glutamate umami facts.jpg

Science Friday, a nonprofit organization and trusted source for news about science, reports that there is no basis for claims that MSG may cause allergies. And a new study finds that umami flavor in the form of MSG promotes feelings of fullness, helping to satisfy appetite and potentially help with...

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New Video and Infographic Explain Why MSG is Perfectly Safe


According to the American Chemical Society (ACS), monosodium glutamate (MSG) has suffered from inaccurate consumer perceptions for too long - so the non-profit organization has decided to put the consumer myths about MSG to rest. In a new video released in August 2014, ACS corrects the myths about ...

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Glutamate Is Natural

Glutamate Is Natural

Glutamate is common throughout nature. It is a component of your body and your foods. The taste-imparting property of glutamate has long been used around the world to enhance the palatability of foods.

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MSG Safe Use

MSG Safe Use

Over one hundred years ago, Professor Kikunae Ikeda of Tokyo Imperial University discovered the taste that is now recognized internationally as “umami.” It has been established for more than 10 years now that umami, which is the taste imparted by monosodium glutamate (MSG), stands alongside sweet, sour, salty and bitter as one of the five recognized basic tastes.

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Biography of Professor Ikeda

Professor Ikeda

Dr. Ikeda first studied Chemistry at Tokyo Imperial University, before going to further his studies abroad with Professor Ostwald (Nobel Prize Award Winner, 1909) at Leipzig University, Germany. Ikeda then returned to Japan where he became a Professor at Tokyo Imperial University. As well as playing a part in the establishment of basic physical chemistry in Japan, Ikeda was interested in improving the nutrition of the Japanese people. Japan was a developing country at that time and during his studies in Germany, Ikeda observed that Germans had a stronger physique and were taller than the Japanese. The first Japanese doctor of medicine and contemporary to Ikeda, Hiizu Miyake, hypothesized that "good taste stimulates digestion." This encouraged Ikeda to find the substance responsible for the taste of kelp broth, frequently used in Kyoto where he was born. Ikeda recognized this taste as being common to the taste of the tomatoes and asparagus he ate in Germany for the first time.

Dr. Ikeda Discovers the Umami Taste

Umami Taste

With this in mind, Ikeda started research on the substances that are responsible for the taste in kelp (kombu in Japanese). He discovered that glutamate was a key component of the soup stock from kelp and called this new taste "umami" which is also known in English as savory taste. Ikeda succeeded in transforming glutamate from kelp into an easy-to-use seasoning that was rich in the umami taste. In 1908, he was granted a patent for the method to manufacture the seasoning, "The production method of seasoning, with glutamate as a key component." One year later, Mr. Saburosuke Suzuki launched a business venture and with Ikeda's patent went on to market the umami seasoning as AJI-NO-MOTO®. The Japan Patent Office selected Dr. Ikeda as one of Japan's 10 greatest inventors for his discovery on the production of the umami seasoning. The commercialization of AJI-NO-MOTO®is regarded as one of the greatest collaborations between industry and academia in the Meiji era.

Born in Kyoto
Graduated from Tokyo Imperial University, College of Chemistry
Became Associate Professor in the Chemistry Dept. at Tokyo Imperial University
Studied at Leipzig University, Germany with Professor Ostwald
Returned to Japan, became Professor at Tokyo Imperial University
Started research on umami
Authorization of the patent for "The production method of seasoning, with glutamate as a key component"
Became President of the Tokyo Chemical Society
Retired from Tokyo Imperial University
Began research in Leipzig
Returned to Shinagawa, Japan and started research
Died on May 3rd