It has been a strong consumer interest to choose high quality food products with clear information about their origin and composition. In the present study, a total of 22 Asian soy sauce samples have been analyzed in terms of 13
C-NMR spectroscopy. Spectral data were analyzed by multivariate statistical methods in order to find out the important metabolites causing the discrimination among typical soy sauces from different Asian regions. It was found that significantly higher concentrations of glutamate in Chinese red cooking (CR) soy sauce may be the result of the manual addition of monosodium glutamate (MSG) in the final soy sauce product. Whereas lower concentrations of amino acids, like leucine, isoleucine and valine, observed in CR indicate the different fermentation period used in production of CR soy sauce, on the other hand, the concentration of some fermentation cycle metabolites, such as acetate and sucrose, can be divided into two groups. The concentrations of these fermentation cycle metabolites were lower in CR and Singapore Kikkoman (SK), whereas much higher in Japanese shoyu (JS) and Taiwan (China) light (TL), which depict the influence of climatic conditions. Therefore, the results of our study directly indicate the influences of traditional ways of fermentation, climatic conditions and the selection of raw materials and can be helpful for consumers to choose their desired soy sauce products, as well as for researchers in further authentication studies about soy sauce.
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