Nerve and behavioral responses of mice to various umami substances

Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 2011;75(11):2125-31. doi: 10.1271/bbb.110401. Epub 2011 Nov 7.


Food contains various taste substances. Among them, umami substances play an important role with regard to the perception of the taste of food, but, few studies have examined the taste characteristics of representative umami substances other than monosodium L-glutamate (MSG). By conducting mouse behavioral studies (the 48-h 2-bottle preference test and the conditioned taste aversion test) and assessing gustatory nerve responses, we investigated the taste characteristics of unique umami substances, including sodium succinate, L-theanine, betaine, and the enantiomer of MSG, D-MSG. Furthermore, we examined the synergy of umami with inosine 5'-monophoshate (IMP). In the case of the mice, sodium succinate had an umami taste and showed strong synergy with IMP. L-theanine showed synergy with IMP but did not have an umami taste without IMP. In contrast, betaine did not have an umami taste or synergy with IMP. D-MSG might have weak synergy with IMP.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Betaine / chemistry*
  • Cranial Nerves / physiology*
  • Feeding Behavior*
  • Glutamates / chemistry
  • Inosine Monophosphate / chemistry*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Sodium Glutamate / chemistry*
  • Taste Perception*


  • Glutamates
  • Inosine Monophosphate
  • Betaine
  • theanine
  • Sodium Glutamate