The amino acid L-Glutamate is one of the most abundant and important amino acids
of proteins. It is found in all foods that contain protein, such as cheese, milk,
mushrooms, meat, fish, and many vegetables. The natural flavour-enhancing levels
of glutamate in food varies greatly, but are high in foods such as tomatoes, mushrooms,
soy sauce and fish sauce.
Monosodium glutamate, abbreviated as MSG, was discovered more than a century ago
by the Japanese scientist Kikunae Ikeda, who gave this unique taste the name "umami",
the fifth taste beside sweet, sour, salty and bitter. Today, MSG is mostly produced
by a natural fermentation process that has been used for centuries to make such
common foods as beer, vinegar and yogurt.
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