History of Ajinomoto – Monosodium Glutamate or MSG

Ajinomoto is the trade name for monosodium glutamate or MSG. Monosodium glutamate is made from the mixing of glutamate with water and salt.  Glutamate is glutamic acid that is broken down through cooking, fermentation, or other processes. Glutamic acid is one of the non-essential amino acids making up protein molecules.
Ajinomoto history can be traced back to the beginning of the 20th century. Research on seaweed started towards the end of the 19th century, Chinese who first discovered that a broth made from certain types of seaweeds could enhance foods’ natural flavor.

with the production of iodine from seaweed at a facility in Hayama by Naka Suzuki. In 1907, Naka’s son, Saburosuke Suzuki II, established the S. Suzuki Pharmaceutical Co. An important milestone in Ajinomoto history is that in 1907, Professor Ikeda, a chemist at the University of Tokyo, isolated glutamate from a broth of dried Konbu kelp. He found that the most important compound within seaweed broth for common use was actually a glutamate salt, which he identified with the taste umami, a word meaning ‘pleasant taste’ or ‘savoriness’. As the simplest such salt for human consumption, the popularity of MSG helped the company rapidly expand to other countries,

History of Ajinomoto


In July 1908, he got a patent for monosodium glutamate. Another important milestone in Ajinomoto history is that two months later, Mr. Suzuki approached Dr. Ikeda and became part owner of the patent. The additive was given the Ajinomoto trade name and production started at S. Suzuki Pharmaceutical Co.’s Zushi factory in December 1908. S. Suzuki Pharmaceutical Co. was renamed S. Suzuki and Co. in 1912. The bigger Kawasaki plant was completed in 1914. The company ventured into New York, its first overseas market, in 1917. The company got its current name, Ajinomoto Co., Inc., in 1946. The company started advertising Ajinomoto on TV in 1954.

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