DENNIS KUNKEL MICROSCOPY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DENNIS KUNKEL MICROSCOPY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Light micrograph (LM) of Glutamic acid (glutamate) crystals. Glutamic acid or glutamate is one of the 20 most common natural amino acids. As its name indicates, it is acidic, with a carboxylic acid component to its side chain. Glutamic acid is critical for proper cell function, but it is not considered an essential nutrient in humans because the body can manufacture it from simpler compounds. In addition to being one of the building blocks in protein synthesis, it is the most widespread neurotransmitter in brain function, as an excitatory neurotransmitter and as a precursor for the synthesis of GABA in GABAergic neurons. The sodium salt of glutamic acid, monosodium glutamate (MSG) is responsible for one of the five basic tastes of the human sense of taste, and MSG is extensively used as a food additive. Magnification: x30 when shortest axis printed at 25 millimetres.
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