Umami, known as the savory taste, was discovered more than a century ago; yet recent research continues to document the benefits of umami. Currently underway is a year-long recognition of umami's 110th anniversary since its discovery in 1908.
At one event this year, participants at the Asian Congress of Dietetics (ACD) will discuss the latest research on umami, including its dietary significance, during an ACD lunch symposium on Friday, July 6. The symposium ties in directly to the theme of the 7th ACD, which is "The Rise of Nutrition and Dietetics in Asia," being held July 6-8 at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University.
The principal speaker at the lunch symposium will be Dr. Snigdha Misra, who is chair of the Department of Nutrition and Dietetics at International Medical University, in Malaysia. Dr. Snigdha will present the latest research demonstrating that umami improves the palatability of foods and stimulates appetite regulation, supporting nutrition among the elderly. Dr. Snigdha also will discuss how foods with umami seasonings are effective in reducing sodium intake and can help maintain normal blood pressure.
According to the International Glutamate Information Service (IGIS), sponsor of the symposium, "It is fitting that ACD is focusing on the rise of nutrition in Asia. It was in Japan that 110 years ago Professor Kikunae Ikeda identified the 'glutamic taste' after isolating it from kelp broth. Dr. Ikeda was the first scientist to identify the unique properties of glutamate. He named the taste of glutamate 'umami,' which has a distinctive taste that is different from sweet, sour, bitter, and salty. Umami is now recognized as one of the five basic tastes. Dr. Ikeda's driving goal was to improve nutrition of the Japanese with his umami seasoning."