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**1. Umami Overview:**
– Etymology: Loanword from Japanese (うま味) meaning pleasant savory taste.
– Coined in 1908 by Japanese chemist Kikunae Ikeda.
– Represents taste of L-glutamate and 5-ribonucleotides.
– Described as meaty, savory, and broth-like.
– Enhances palatability and balances overall flavor of dishes.

**2. Umami Discovery and Properties:**
Umami first identified in 1908 by Kikunae Ikeda.
– Glutamate responsible for palatability of kombu seaweed broth.
– Ribonucleotides IMP and GMP found in bonito flakes and shiitake mushrooms.
– Stimulates salivation and has a mild but lasting aftertaste.
– Enhances foods’ palatability with matching aroma.

**3. Foods Rich in Umami Components:**
– Glutamate in meats and vegetables.
– Inosine (IMP) from meats, guanosine (GMP) from vegetables.
– Mushrooms, especially dried shiitake, rich in guanylate.
– Common in fish, shellfish, cured meats, vegetables, green tea, fermented products, cheeses, and breast milk.

**4. Consumer Usage and Safety:**
– Popular for enhancing low sodium foods.
– Chefs use umami ingredients like fish sauce for flavorful dishes.
– FDA considers monosodium glutamate (MSG) safe.
– Sensitivity to MSG similar between Japanese and Americans.
– Enduring popularity in products like ketchup.

**5. Umami in Health and Research:**
Umami flavor can enhance appetite and increase feelings of satiety.
– Dietary supplementation of umami substances may benefit the elderly.
– Research explores umami’s effects on taste perception and overall health.
– Studies on umami’s role in gut-brain axis and human salivation.
– Books, articles, and scientific studies available on umami’s significance.

Umami (Wikipedia)

Umami (/ˈmɑːmi/ from Japanese: 旨味 Japanese pronunciation: [ɯmami]), or savoriness, is one of the five basic tastes. It has been described as savory and is characteristic of broths and cooked meats.

Soy sauce, ripe tomatoes and miso are examples of foods rich in umami components

People taste umami through taste receptors that typically respond to glutamates and nucleotides, which are widely present in meat broths and fermented products. Glutamates are commonly added to some foods in the form of monosodium glutamate (MSG), and nucleotides are commonly added in the form of disodium guanylate, inosine monophosphate (IMP) or guanosine monophosphate (GMP). Since umami has its own receptors rather than arising out of a combination of the traditionally recognized taste receptors, scientists now consider umami to be a distinct taste.

Foods that have a strong umami flavor include meats, shellfish, fish (including fish sauce and preserved fish such as Maldives fish, Katsuobushi, sardines, and anchovies), tomatoes, mushrooms, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, meat extract, yeast extract, cheeses, and soy sauce.

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