Umami and kokumi

Umami and kokumi: from deliciousness to mouthfullness. Professor inauguration lecture by Professor Jorge Ruiz-Carrascal from the Department of Food Science at University of Copenhagen.

Umami and kokumi are Japanese terms referring to specific perceptions that positively contribute to the overall liking of savoury foods. Umami is known as the fifth taste and is mainly exerted by glutamate and nucleotides, while kokumi is a complex mouth feeling that is typically used to describe a sensation of ‘richness’ and ‘mouthfulness’. Kokumi seems to be linked to the presence of different compounds, but some peptides are among the main kokumi contributors in cheese, chicken broth and legumes. Some processing technologies, such as fermentation or dry-curing, boost the formation of compounds involved in both perceptions. A deeper understanding of such processes could contribute to developing strategies aimed at improving the liking of other foodstuffs and creating specific food flavouring ingredients.