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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Your Questions Answered.

Discovery of Umami


At the beginning of the twentieth century, Professor Kikunae of Tokyo Imperial University was thinking about the taste of food: "There is a taste which is common to asparagus, tomatoes, cheese and meat but which is not one of the four well-known tastes of sweet, sour, bitter and salty."

It was in 1907 that Professor Ikeda started his experiments to identify the source of this distinctive taste. He knew that it was present in the "broth" made from kelp (a type of seaweed, kombu) a traditional ingredients in Japanese cuisine. Starting with a tremendous quantity of kelp soup stock, Dr. Ikeda succeeded in extracting crystals of glutamic acid, an amino acid, and a building block of proteins. 100 grams of dried kelp contain about 1 gram of glutamate, the ionic form of glutamic acid. Professor Ikeda found that glutamate had a distinctive taste, different from sweet, sour, bitter and salty, and he named this taste "umami".

Find out more about Professor Ikeda

umami seasoning

A New Product

Professor Ikeda decided to make a seasoning using his newly-isolated and distinctive-tasting ingredient. To be used as seasoning, glutamic acid had to have some of the same physical characteristics of sugar and salt: it had to be easily soluble in water but neither absorb humidity nor solidify. Professor Ikeda found that monosodium glutamate, a salt that contains glutamate and sodium, had good storage properties and a strong umami or savory taste. It turned out to be an ideal seasoning. Because monosodium glutamate , abbreviated MSG, has no smell or specific texture of its own, it can be used in many different dishes where it naturally enhances the original flavor of the food.

Click here to download a translation of Prof. Ikeda's original paper on the discovery of umami