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Transcript of Monosodium Glutamate
With so many different additives, flavorings and artificial substances going into our food these days, how do we know what is good and bad for us to eat?
The scientific name for MSG is
Sodium, is also often listed on food labeling. Its most well known form is in our common table salt, which is also called Sodium Chloride. Sodium has the symbol Na on the periodic table.
Glutamate, is formed from the amino acid, Glutamic Acid. The Chemical formula for Glutamic Acid is C H NO . Lets take a deeper look at what an amino acid actually is (NWS Food Authority).
Sodium+Glutamic Acid = Monosodium Glutamate
Na + C H NO --> C H NO Na
It has the chemical formula C H NO Na
NaOH(aq) + C5H9NO4(s) --> C5H8NO4Na(s) + H20(l)
Neutralization Reaction: is the reaction between an acid and a base to make a salt.
Is therefore the combination of sodium and glutamic acid into one molecule. But how do these substances react in order to come together?
How do neutralization reactions relate to MSG?
Since you are all interested in a bit of science...
Salt does not refer to your every day common table salt. A salt in chemistry is put simply as the product produced by the ions of an acid and base reaction.
Acid + Base --> Salt + Water
Glutamic Acid + Sodium --> Monosodium Glutamate + Water
Ions are the elements or groups of elements that have a net positive or negative charge.
Sodium (Na) in this reaction, exists in a compound or exists with a group of elements. In this case is comes in the form Sodium Hydroxide NaOH. Therefore Sodium is bonded with Oxygen (O) and Hydrogen (H).
A further note is that Sodium Hydroxide is the base in this reaction.
Amino acids are the essential building blocks of proteins. They form the primary structures for every protein (Geoffrey Neuss).
About 20 of these amino acids are produced naturally. They are found in hundreds of foods that we eat such as meat, milk and some vegetables (Geoffrey Neuss). Our body also contains amino acids that help us to function in a healthy way (DNews).
Long chains of amino acids formed into complex structures form the large macromolecules proteins (Steven S. Zumdahl, Donald J. DeCoste).
Firstly, lets take a look at what MSG actually is broken down into...
Glutamic Acid is a naturally occurring amino acid that is used and produced by our bodies (DNews)!
What is looks like
In this simplified equation we can see how the sodium moves to the other side of the equation to create MSG.
Note however that the amount of Hydrogen decreases from 9 to 8. This is because this is a simplified equation
Wants to give H ion
Wants to give a OH ion
We can see how the MSG is formed, but lets take a look at how the ions from the acids and bases form the water. Also note that MSG is the salt formed in this equation, in fact MSG is the "sodium salt of glutamic acid," (Addison Ault).
Ionic Equations are similar to chemical equations, however they focus on how the ions react with eachother rather than the molecules and compounds.
In a neutralization reaction the acid wants to give a (H+) ion and a base wants to give an (OH-) ion. These two ions are attracted to each other as a result of the opposite charge, and therefore react. This can be shown by the following equation.
Why is MSG Used?
MSG is used as a flavor enhancer. MSG was placed in food since the discovery of another flavor that is recognized by our taste buds. This flavor is called umami. It was found that the umami flavor we get is a result of our taste buds picking up the MSG in the food we eat.
MSG is found naturally in foods like cheese and meat, but is now also artificially synthesized and placed into packaged food such as two-minute-noodles.
On a chemical level, we have seen that MSG is a combination of sodium and an amino acid. We have seen how it can be directly synthesized and have seen the products produced from its reaction. From this it can be concluded that MSG would not be harmful to health, as the Glutamic Acid is naturally occurring and the reaction produces no toxic compounds that may contaminate MSG.
1. NSW Food Authority. Monosodium Glutamate (MSG). NSW food Authority. http://www.foodauthority.nsw.gov.au/_Documents/consumer_pdf/MSG.pdf.
2. Geoffrey Neuss. IB Diploma Programme Chemistry Course Companion. Oxford: Oxford University Press; 2010.
3. Steven S. Zumdahl, Donald J. DeCoste. Introductory Chemistry, 7th ed. Charles Hartford; 2010.
4. DNews. Why MSG Isn’t Really That Bad. [Video:Online] Youtube AU: July 2013.
5. Addison Ault. The Monosodium Glutamate Story: The Commercail Production of MSG and Other Amino Acids. Journal of Chemical Education 2004; 81(3).