Thanks for the reply.
"Why it should be stabilized."
Well, it's been a while since my last organic class, but don't most acids have to be stabilized in order to remain in solid form. Either by making the salt, adding HCL, forming dimers, or some other method.
"One is the acid, one the sodium salt. The difference is the taste."
Well, and thats really the conundrum for me.
The sodium salt of glutamic acid, as soon as it hits water (like saliva on the tongue), separates into a sodium ion, and then the carboxylic acid forms Rcoo-
In theory, glutamic acid (Rcooh) should ALSO hydrolyze into Rcoo- upon hitting water ... unless it is prevented from doing so by some form of stabilization (like forming a dimer between the Rcoo- ends of two molecules...which I believe it can do).
Ultimately, then, this begs the question of why does sodium-glutamate enhance the flavor of food - and glutamic acid does not.
If Sodium-glutamate's flavor enhancing capability comes from the sodium, there should be no difference to flavor enhancement than using NaCl...but there appears to be a difference.
This means its the Rcoo- of the (now separated from Na) glutamate that is the enhancer. If THIS is the case, then why DOESN'T Glutamic acid in water (which should otherwise form Rcoo-) act as a flavor enhancer.
Does that question make sense?