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„Umami taste is signalling the protein content of food“ – Prof. Dr. Kees de Graaf

07 August 2017
Why does umami play such an important role, that babies all over the world get used to it by drinking mother milk? Which function does umami have for human diet. We talked about that with Prof. Dr. Kees de Graaf, professor in Sensory Science and Eating Behavior at the Division of Human Nutrition of Wageningen University, the Netherlands.
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Umami – the sexy flavour

07 August 2017
The chef and cookbook author Laura Santtini calls herself a “cognitive cook” because her work is all about exploring the inextricable link between flavours and feelings, she says. She has published a cookbook entitled “At Home with Umami: Home-Cooked Recipes Unlocking the Magic of Super-Savory Deliciousness“. And she leaves the reader in no doubt about why she finds umami so fascinating.
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Basic umami taste with yeast extract

07 August 2017
Yeast extract is a seasoning that appeals to the receptors for the basic umami taste. It therefore serves an important culinary function. Every chef is aware that the taste of a dish can be enhanced by sprinkling a pinch of sugar or salt over it. Similarly, a small amount of yeast extract adds the umami taste highlighted in Laura Santtini´s cookbook. This is especially important for vegetarians or vegans. Often the cooking times of their dishes are shorter and hence the glutamic acid is released from the proteins in smaller quantities. In this case, natural yeast extract can be used to provide an intense umami flavour.
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Tracing yeast back to its origins

01 December 2016
With the help of modern genetic analysis techniques, a Belgian research team has proved that the many thousands of strains of Saccharomyces cerevisiae – the most commonly used cultured yeast in modern-day food and beverages production – can be traced back to five subgroups that were domesticated as early as the 16th century. This means that the food ingredient yeast extract, which itself has a 100-year-old tradition, is directly linked to the beginnings of yeast cultivation.
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Yeast extract ≠ glutamate

01 December 2016
Analysis of glutamate content of packet soups. In media reports, the food ingredient yeast extract is often merely reduced to the amino acid glutamate, which is a natural protein building block contained in yeast. However, scientific analysis shows that yeast extract not only contains glutamate, but micronutrients and the entire spectrum of protein building blocks as well. Together, these constituents account for the inherent spicy taste of yeast extract. The glutamate content of yeast extract is generally around five per cent. This is low compared with other commonplace foodstuffs.
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