July 17/Eddyville, Iowa/Press Release -- Ajinomoto this month celebrates the 20th anniversary of its MSG production facility in Eddyville, Iowa. The milestone was acknowledged and an event held at the plant on July 17.

“Our company has a rich heritage built on good science, good taste and good health,” said Brendan Naulty, senior vice president of Ajinomoto North America. “We take great pride in our Eddyville employees and the high quality product they deliver for our customers.”

Participating dignitaries at the event included Iowa Governor Terry Branstad, and Ajinomoto general manager of the Global Food Ingredients Department, Hiroyuki Suzuki. The Eddyville plant is the first in the Ajinomoto system to invest and operate a process that maximizes the conversion of glucose to the amino acid glutamate. It is considered cutting edge technology that positions the company well as the premier MSG supplier in North America.

The unique taste of glutamate, an amino acid, was discovered by a Japanese scientist, Dr. Kikunae Ikeda, more than a century ago. Dr. Ikeda and Mr. Saburosuke Suzuki, who owned and operated a seaweed company, later collaborated to form the Ajinomoto Company. Originally extracted from seaweed, MSG now is produced using a fermentation process. The word “Aji-no-moto” in Japanese means “essence of taste.”

Glutamate is widely found in foods, including breast milk, Parmesan cheese, tomatoes and steak. In 2000, a research team at the University of Miami identified and mapped the glutamate receptor, also known as the “umami receptor.” This finding validated the now accepted fact that umami, the meaty, brothy taste of glutamate, is a true fifth taste, joining sweet, salty, sour and bitter.

As an ingredient, MSG brings life to a broad array of consumer foods, from chips to soups to sauces. It is characterized by both FDA and USDA as a “natural” ingredient for labeling purposes. The fermentation production process is a large scale replication of a natural biological system.

“What I ask you to remember in this celebration today is simply that MSG makes foods taste great and that Ajinomoto helps our customers provide brands that taste great and consumers love,” Naulty said as he concluded his remarks.