Umami Information Center


Umami Seasoning Day Webinar

July 2020

Although the whole world was hit by the COVID-19 disaster in 2020, the Umami Information Center (UIC) is proactively disseminating umami information through online seminar.

On July 28, the International Glutamate Information Service (IGIS) (*1) held a special online seminar for Umami Seasoning Day (*2).
Two of the board members of UIC, Dr. Takashi Yamamoto, the chairman of UIC and a Professor at Kio University in Nara, and Dr. Kumiko Ninomiya, a director of UIC were invited to the webinar.
Dr. Yamamoto explained unique properties of umami and MSG that differs from other four basic taste. Umami has weak unpalatable taste by itself,
but adding umami substance to some foods makes them more palatable and flavorful. The taste becomes milder, deeper, more balanced and round out.
He showed data on preference of MSG solution in new born baby, and explained that simple umami taste may not be innately preferable, but people become prefer the taste of foods with umami substances after repeated experiences of those foods.
Dr. Ninomiya introduced history of discovery of umami and invention of umami seasoning ‘MSG’ by Kikunae Ikeda. She explained that the discovery was greatly based on unique Japanese soup stock ‘dashi.’ In which glutamate is the major taste substance.
Ikeda presented his discovery of umami in the congress of American Chemical Society in 1912, but he received little response. His enthusiasm did not reach to the audience because they did not have knowledge of Japanese cuisine.

IGIS holds an annual seminar to commemorate Umami Seasoning Day on July 25, but this year it was held online due to COVID-19.
The seminar was held in English, and 68 people from various organizations in 9 countries, including universities, research institutes, and companies, participated in it.

After the lecture, there was a Q & A session with the participants, such as " Is there any sweet food which can be better by adding MSG?” or “Are there body mechanism to ensure that excess umami is not consumed?”

(*1) IGIS: International Glutamate Information Service is an international organization that provides accurate, scientific evidence-based information on glutamate, umami, and monosodium glutamate (MSG).

(*2) Umami Seasoning Day: The discovery of the umami seasoning is commemorated every year on July 25, which is the day the patent for the mass production of the umami seasoning monosodium glutamate (MSG) was certificated.