Glutamic acid

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199 °C decomp.

Glutamic acid (abbreviated as Glu or E) is one of the 20 proteinogenic amino acids, and its codons are GAA and GAG. It is a non-essential amino acid. The carboxylate anions and salts of glutamic acid are known as glutamates. In neuroscience, glutamate is an important neurotransmitter which plays a key role in long-term potentiation and is important for learning and memory.[1]

Contents

Chemistry

The side chain carboxylic acid functional group has pKa of 4.1 and exists in its negatively charged deprotonated carboxylate form at physiological pH.

History

Although they occur naturally in many foods, the flavor contributions made by glutamic acid and other amino acids were only scientifically identified early in the twentieth century. The substance was discovered and identified in the year 1866, by the German chemist Karl Heinrich Leopold Ritthausen. In 1907 Japanese researcher Kikunae Ikeda of the Tokyo Imperial University identified brown crystals left behind after the evaporation of a large amount of kombu broth as glutamic acid. These crystals, when tasted, reproduced the ineffable but undeniable flavor he detected in many foods, most especially in seaweed. Professor Ikeda termed this flavor umami. He then patented a method of mass-producing a crystalline salt of glutamic acid, monosodium glutamate.[2][3]

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