Umami is one of 5 basic tastes that make foods savory and palatable. The umami aftertaste is a long-lasting taste sensation that is important for Japanese broth (dashi) utilized for various Japanese foods. Soy sauce is usually added when making dashi-based dishes; however, different soy sauces produce distinct effects on the umami aftertaste. In this study, we attempted to identify the substances that cause the suppression of the umami aftertaste in soy sauce by combining sensory analysis, size fractionation, chemical analysis, and enzymatic treatment. The suppressive substance was revealed to be polysaccharides with molecular weights between 44900 and 49700. The results of acid hydrolysis and enzymatic treatment suggested that the polysaccharides were cellulose. These results indicate that a type of water-soluble cellulose derived from soybean, wheat, or microorganisms has a suppressive effect on the umami aftertaste of soy sauce. Future studies should focus on developing a strategy that regulates the amount of these polysaccharides generated during soy sauce production, to maintain or enhance the umami aftertaste.
The umami aftertaste has been shown to have a strong correlation with palatability. In this study, we demonstrated that a type of cellulose in soy sauce suppresses the umami aftertaste of dashi-based food. Our finding will contribute to the development of a strategy to maintain or enhance the umami aftertaste in food products.