Monosodium glutamate                  

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Information @ a Glance

  • MSG, is a sodium salt of glutamic acid. MSG is a food additive, popularly marketed as a "flavour enhancer.
  • It was discovered and patented in 1909 by Ajinomoto Corporation in Japan.
  • In its pure form, it appears as a white crystalline powder.
  • When dissolved in water (or saliva) it rapidly dissociates into free sodium and glutamate ions.


  • MSG is usually produced through fermentation a process similar to that used in making vinegar and yogurt.
  • The process begins with the fermentation of corn, sugar beets, or sugar cane.
  • The finished product is a pure, white crystal, which dissolves easily and blends well with many foods.
  • The fermentation method has the advantage of mass production at low cost, which was the great impetus for expanding the amino acid market.
  • The manufacturing method of glutamate shifted from the extraction method to the fermentation method in the 1960s.
  • Subsequently, a similar shift to the fermentation method took place for the other amino acids in rapid succession.


  • MSG helps bring out the best natural flavors in a variety of foods such as meat,poultry, seafood, and vegetables.
  • Soups, casseroles, gravies, and sauces are examples of dishes that can benefit from the proper use of MSG.
  •  MSG harmonizes well with salty and sour tastes, it contributes little or nothing to sweet or bitter foods


  •  The MSG global market is approximately 1,700,000MT, with a projected annual growth rate of 4 per cent.
  •  Ajinomoto claims to have a 34 per cent share of the market.
  • In Vietnam Ajinomoto intends to lift annual MSG production capacity from 45,000MT to 60,000MT with construction slated for completion by mid-2006.
  • The MSG manufacturers and Government of Indonesia officials determined that the color of the fortified MSG must not deviate from the color of unfortified MSG.
  • MSG is marketed in clear multilaminate packets showing its purity.
  • Various initial attempts to coating the 250 CWS VA were tried including agglomeration of the VA beadlets with small MSG crystals or whitening of the beadlets with Klucel (hydroxypropylcellulose) -TiO2 combination.
  •  The whitening options were chosen to mask the yellow color of the VA beadlets. Due to the successful field bioavailability study, the chemical stability of VA in fortified MSG was not considered.

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