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If you have ever enjoyed the savory flavor of soy sauce or the rich, full flavor of Parmesan cheese, then you have experienced the taste sensation known as umami. The term “umami” was first coined in 1908 by Dr. Kikunae Ikeda to describe the unique savory taste of seaweed broth [1,2]. Although umami was initially associated only with Asian cuisines, researchers all over the world have now established umami as one of the five basic taste groups .
In his original study of umami, Dr. Ikeda isolated the amino acid glutamate from dried seaweed and found that this molecule was sufficient to create a strong umami flavor . As an amino acid, glutamate is an important component of proteins and occurs naturally in all living things. When it is not incorporated into a protein, “free glutamate” can readily bind to glutamate receptors in our taste buds to trigger the…
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