The aim of the present study was to determine individuals' taste threshold for monosodium glutamate (MSG) alone and in combination with inosine 5'-monophosphate (IMP-5) and to examine if this threshold was related to an increase in sensory properties (including pleasantness of taste) and/or to one's preference for dietary protein over carbohydrate and fat. Using the triangle tasting method, the taste threshold was determined for thirty-six women and twenty-four men. Thresholds varied from zero to infinite as determined using a clear soup with added MSG in the concentration range of 0.1 to 0.8 % (w/w) MSG. Subjects rated fourteen sensory properties of the soup and also their 'liking', 'eating frequency' and 'preference' of twenty-two common high-protein, high-carbohydrate and high-fat food items. The taste threshold (and therefore sensitivity) of MSG was lowered from 0.33 (sem 0.24) to 0.26 (sem 0.22) % MSG when 0.25 % (w/w) IMP-5 was added. None of the sensory properties assessed was associated with the taste threshold of MSG +/- 0.25 % IMP-5 in the overall study population. However, the taste descriptor 'meatiness' was associated with the threshold data for individuals who could taste concentrations of <or= 0.4 % MSG. 'Liking' and 'preference' scores for protein were found to be related to the threshold of MSG +/- 0.25 % IMP-5. From this study population we conclude that the taste threshold of MSG in combination with IMP-5 does appear to predict one's 'liking' of as well as 'preference' for high-protein foods.