The Effect of Temperature on Umami Taste

Chem Senses. 2016 Jul;41(6):537-45. doi: 10.1093/chemse/bjw058. Epub 2016 Apr 20.


The effect of temperature on umami taste has not been previously studied in humans. Reported here are 3 experiments in which umami taste was measured for monopotassium glutamate (MPG) and monosodium glutamate (MSG) at solution temperatures between 10 and 37 °C. Experiment 1 showed that for subjects sensitive to MPG on the tongue tip, 1) cooling reduced umami intensity whether sampled with the tongue tip or in the whole mouth, but 2) had no effect on the rate of umami adaptation on the tongue tip. Experiment 2 showed that temperature had similar effects on the umami taste of MSG and MPG on the tongue tip but not in the whole mouth, and that contrary to umami taste, cooling to 10 °C increased rather than decreased the salty taste of both stimuli. Experiment 3 was designed to investigate the contribution of the hT1R1-hT1R3 glutamate receptor to the cooling effect on umami taste by using the T1R3 inhibitor lactisole. However, lactisole failed to block the umami taste of MPG at any temperature, which supports prior evidence that lactisole does not block umami taste for all ligands of the hT1R1-hT1R3 receptor. We conclude that temperature can affect sensitivity to the umami and salty tastes of glutamates, but in opposite directions, and that the magnitude of these effects can vary across stimuli and modes of tasting (i.e., whole mouth vs. tongue tip exposures).

Keywords: TRPM5; human; psychophysics; taste; temperature; umami.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Glutamic Acid / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Sodium Glutamate / pharmacology*
  • Taste / drug effects*
  • Taste / physiology*
  • Temperature*
  • Tongue / drug effects*
  • Tongue / physiology*


  • Glutamic Acid
  • Sodium Glutamate