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Food chemistry: Acrylamide is formed in the Maillard reaction

Nature volume 419, pages 448449 (03 October 2002) | Download Citation



Reports of the presence of acrylamide in a range of fried and oven-cooked foods1,2 have caused worldwide concern because this compound has been classified as probably carcinogenic in humans3. Here we show how acrylamide can be generated from food components during heat treatment as a result of the Maillard reaction between amino acids and reducing sugars. We find that asparagine, a major amino acid in potatoes and cereals, is a crucial participant in the production of acrylamide by this pathway.

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Author information


  1. *School of Food Biosciences, The University of Reading, Whiteknights, Reading RG6 6AP, UK

    • Donald S. Mottram
    •  & Andrew T. Dodson
  2. †Procter Department of Food Science, University of Leeds, Leeds LS2 9JT, UK

    • Bronislaw L. Wedzicha


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Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Donald S. Mottram.

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