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This article was written on 19 Aug 2008, and is filled under Food Additives.

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The Truth about Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)

Facts about Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)

Fact from Wikipedia and various sources were used for this article: Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)

What is Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)?

Monosodium glutamate, also known as sodium glutamate and MSG, is a sodium salt of the non-essential amino acid glutamic acid. It is used as a food additive and is commonly marketed as a flavour enhancer. It has the HS code 29224220 and the E number E621. Trade names of monosodium glutamate include Ajinomoto, Vetsin, and Accent.

Although traditional Asian cuisine uses flavour-enhancing ingredients which contain high concentrations of MSG, it was not isolated until 1907. MSG was subsequently patented by the Japanese Ajinomoto Corporation in 1909. In its pure form, it appears as a white crystalline powder; when dissolved in water (or saliva) it rapidly dissociates into sodium cations and glutamate anions (glutamate is the anionic form of glutamic acid, a naturally occurring amino acid).

Production and chemical properties

MSG is prepared by fermentation of carbohydrate sources. Species of the genus Brevibacterium and Corynebacterium are useful. Yields of 100 g/liter can be prepared in this way. From 1909 to the mid 1960s, MSG was prepared by hydrolysis of wheat gluten, which contains about 25% of glutamic acid. Glutamic acid is one of the least soluble amino acids, thus facilitating its purification.

Like the sodium salts of other amino acids, MSG is a stable colourless solid that is degraded by strong oxidizing agents. It exists as enantiomers, but only the naturally occurring L-glutamate form is used as a flavour enhancer.

Health controversy

Monosodium glutamate as a food ingredient is the subject of a health concern controversy.

Facts about Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)?

The following interview with Vincent Bollonzi M.D., D.C., C.C.N can give you some insight about some facts concerning the use of MSG and its effects on our bodies and nervous system.

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