How to test for MSG in foods?

I am looking for instructions to make a inhome testing kits for presence of Monosodium Glutamate in every day food.

mikeasaurus6 years ago
read the ingredients?
MSG is often obfuscated from the ingredient listing, especially on products labeled for US distribution.

It could be "MSG" or "monosodium glutimate" but could also be "hydrolyzed __ protein", "autoyzed yeast", or simply "natural flavouring".

A give-away for MSG hidden as "natural flavoring" is the position of the "natural flavoring" on the ingredient list.  Ingredients are listed by weight (or perhaps volume), so something like MSG or salt would show up in the middle of the listing.
Testing for glutamate wouldn't be hard with the right indicators and some ordinary bio lab equipment (a spectrophotometer, for one). General tests for free amino acids would be even easier. It is probably not something you would do at home, however.

Glutamic acid (glutamate) is one of the 20 standard amino acids that make up all proteins. Whenever a protein breaks down, as by cooking or digestion, glutamate and many other amino acids will be released.

I think your best bet is to examine the ingredients for acid-digested, stewed, fermented, or otherwise thoroughly processed proteins. Things like soy sauce, cheese, and nutritional yeast are very rich sources of free amino acids like glutamate (and the reason those foods are so tasty.) If it tastes meaty or savory, it probably has free amino acids.