BBC Home

Explore the BBC

h2g2
3rd March 2015
Accessibility help
Text only

Guide ID: A322336 (Edited)

Edited Guide Entry


SEARCH h2g2
Edited Entries only
Search h2g2Advanced Search


or register to join or start a new conversation.

BBC Homepage
The Guide to Life, The Universe and Everything.

1. Life / Biology / Human Anatomy
1. Life / Food & Drink / Food Issues
3. Everything / Maths, Science & Technology / Biology / Human Anatomy

Created: 30th June 2000
Umami - the Fifth Taste
Contact Us


Like this page?
Send it to a friend!

 

Scientists have argued for a long time that there are more than four tastes1 which we can experience. A fifth taste, named 'umami', was identified in 1908 by Kikunae Ikeda of Tokyo Imperial University. The taste, also known as the monosodium glutamate taste, appears in a lot of protein, so biologically it would have been an important sense to develop. Oriental cuisine has used monosodium glutamate for centuries to add a little kick to food.

It was not, however, until early in 2000 that a team at the Miami School of Medicine led by Nirupa Chaudhari was able to confirm the umami taste and identify the causes of the it.

The flavour works like this: the body is very sensitive to glutamate, which is detected by a protein molecule called mGluR4. This protein is so sensitive to glutamate that all the other flavours are rendered undetectable. The taste buds use a taste receptor that is basically mGluR4 minus its tip (it has been truncated). This version of mGluR4 is not quite as sensitive as the complete version, and does not mask other tastes.


1 Sweet, sour, salty, bitter.


Clip/Bookmark this page
This article has not been bookmarked.
ENTRY DATA
Written and Researched by:

Mike A (snowblind)

Edited by:

BuskingBob

Referenced Entries:

How Proteins are Made
Miami, Florida, USA



CONVERSATION TOPICS FOR THIS ENTRY:

Start a new conversation

People have been talking about this Guide Entry. Here are the most recent Conversations:

TITLE
LATEST POST
So interesting.Oct 19, 2008
5th tasteJan 29, 2003
MSG tasteJan 3, 2003




Disclaimer

Most of the content on h2g2 is created by h2g2's Researchers, who are members of the public. The views expressed are theirs and unless specifically stated are not those of the BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of any external sites referenced. In the event that you consider anything on this page to be in breach of the site's House Rules, please click here. For any other comments, please start a Conversation above.




About the BBC | Help | Terms of Use | Privacy & Cookies Policy