Term of Japanese origin for the now scientifically recognized fifth taste sensation, which is perceived through the presence of glutamate in food or drink. Chemically speaking, glutamate is the sodium salt of the amino acid glutamine. Amino acids are the basic building blocks for proteins. This substance develops taste-enhancing properties in food and plays a special role in the palatability and acceptance of many foods. Glutamate (or glutamic acid) is found as a building block in almost all proteins, which means that it is consumed with almost every meal. Vegetable proteins can even contain up to 40% glutamic acid. However, glutamate should never be confused with gluten (glue protein), to which some people are allergic.