Acid-hydrolyzed vegetable protein

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Acid-hydrolyzed vegetable protein, or HVP,[1] is produced by boiling cereals or legumes, such as soy, corn, or wheat, in hydrochloric acid and then neutralizing the solution with sodium hydroxide. The acid hydrolyzes, or breaks down, the protein in vegetables into their component amino acids. The resulting dark coloured liquid contains, among other amino acids, glutamic acid, which imparts an umami flavor. It is used as a flavor enhancer in many foods. Hydrolysis is a digestive process that occurs naturally in the human and animal stomach and can happen as part of a cooking process.

Other sources of free glutamate, sometimes used in conjunction with HVP, include autolyzed yeast extract and hydrolyzed yeast extract. A similar product, from dairy origin, is hydrolyzed whey protein.


Because of the high levels of glutamate in hydrolyzed vegetable protein, people sensitive to MSG should avoid hydrolyzed vegetable protein.[2]

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