Understanding Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)

by Masda Chemical on Feb 2 , 2024

What is MSG?

Monosodium glutamate (MSG) is a refined glutamic acid with increased absorption and enhanced digestive properties. Utilising a couple of processes, MSG derived from glutamic acid elicits rapid ingestion, thereby permitting and promoting more quantities of glutamate in the body with eight to ten times more effectiveness. The glutamic acid in MSG is made by fermenting starches, but there is no chemical difference between the glutamic acid in MSG and that in natural foods. However, MSG prominently enhances the flavour and is a significant food additive for optimal health and better performance.

The Features of MSG

MSG has a unique savoury flavour called “umami,” which is now widely accepted as the fifth taste. Interestingly, glutamic acid does not have umami flavouring, but MSG in food activates glutamate receptors in the taste buds. These transmit signals to distinct brain regions, causing the characteristic taste. Refined MSG is characterised by a white lucent crystalline solid with high water solubility, low hygroscopic nature, and marked insolubility in organic solvents. It exhibits typical stability under food processing and cooking, which is inimitable to other amino acids. It also depicts a browning colouration at very high temperatures in the presence of sugars.

What MSG Can Be Used For

Monosodium glutamate (MSG) is an essential ingredient in the cuisines of China and Japan. It is used commercially in broths, soups, canned and frozen vegetables, flavouring and spice blends, gravies, meats, poultry, sauces and other combinations. MSG, or monosodium glutamate, is a fine powder that adds a distinctive taste known as umami, different from the basic tastes like bitter, salty, sour, and sweet. This umami flavor enhances the natural flavors of foods such as meat, poultry, seafood, and vegetables, making them more delicious and easier to enjoy. In addition to its flavor-enhancing properties, MSG offers a pleasant aroma that enriches the overall sensory experience. It's also used in other products, such as tobacco, and has medical applications, including treating hepatic coma. MSG is valued for its ability to preserve food by eliminating harmful germs, and its unique scent and taste contribute to its widespread popularity.