Differences in glutamic acid and 5'-ribonucleotide contents between flesh and pulp of tomatoes and the relationship with umami taste

J Agric Food Chem. 2007 Jul 11;55(14):5776-80. doi: 10.1021/jf070791p. Epub 2007 Jun 14.


A difference in taste characteristics between the outer flesh and the inner pulp of tomatoes has been observed; in particular the pulp, which contains the seeds, had more umami taste. Analysis of the free amino acids and 5'-ribonucleotides in the different parts of 13 varieties of tomatoes showed that in all cases the pulp contained higher levels of glutamic acid, 5'-adenosine monophosphate (AMP), 5'-guanosine monophosphate, 5'-uridine monophosphate, and 5'-cytidine monophosphate. The mean concentration of glutamic acid in the flesh was 1.26 g/kg and that in the pulp 4.56 g/kg but in some varieties the difference between pulp and flesh was more than 6-fold. For AMP, the mean concentration in the flesh was 80 mg/kg and that in the pulp was 295 mg/kg with one variety showing an 11-fold difference between pulp and flesh. These differences in concentration of these compounds, which are known to possess umami characteristics, provide an explanation for the perceived difference in umami taste between the flesh and pulp of tomatoes.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Fruit / chemistry*
  • Glutamic Acid / analysis*
  • Humans
  • Lycopersicon esculentum / chemistry*
  • Ribonucleotides / analysis*
  • Seeds / chemistry
  • Smell
  • Taste*


  • Ribonucleotides
  • Glutamic Acid