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Heston Blumenthal's experiments with umami taste published in SCI journal

Heston Blumenthal

18 Jun 2013

Heston Blumenthal, the UK's celebrated chef and culinary researcher, has joined a study group aiming to maximise the taste of umami in meat using natural ingredients. A research article on the study appears in the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture (JSFA) in June 2013, and is free to view.

Umami, loosely translated as 'pleasant savoury taste,' makes many foods more palatable, and increases salivation. It is mostly elicited by the presence of glutamic acid and 5_-ribonucleotides.

This study aimed to use natural ingredients to maximise umami taste of a meat formulation and determine how much it was liked by older consumers.

Cooked meat products with added natural ingredients, such as yeast extract and soy sauce, or monosodium glutamate (MSG), were compared with a control sample, and taste detection thresholds of salt and MSG were collected from a number of volunteers.

The study found that four of the seven cooked meat products had a significantly higher content of umami-contributing compounds compared with the control. All of the products, except those containing MSG or tomato puree, were scored higher in umami and/or salty taste compared with the control. Consumer tests showed that the older cohort especially liked the salty taste.

JSFA is published by Wiley on behalf of SCI.

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