Monosodium glutamate (MSG) induces a favorable taste, termed umami. The action of MSG on lipid membranes of a taste sensor was investigated. In general, food constituents monotonously increase the electric potential of the negatively charged membranes. Contrary to this, MSG decreases the potential at lower concentration and increases it at higher concentration, thus the effect of MSG on lipid membrane is biphasic. On the decrease of the membrane potential, a model was proposed in which the dissociated carboxyl group of MSG accelerates the dissociation of phosphate group of the membrane lipid.
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