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Food chemistry

Acrylamide from Maillard reaction products

Abstract

The discovery of the adventitious formation of the potential cancer-causing agent acrylamide in a variety of foods during cooking1,2 has raised much concern3,4, but the chemical mechanism(s) governing its production are unclear. Here we show that acrylamide can be released by the thermal treatment of certain amino acids (asparagine, for example), particularly in combination with reducing sugars, and of early Maillard reaction products (N-glycosides)5. Our findings indicate that the Maillard-driven generation of flavour and colour in thermally processed foods can — under particular conditions — be linked to the formation of acrylamide.

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References

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    WHO FAO/WHO Consultation on the Health Implications of Acrylamide in Food (Geneva, 25–27 June 2002) http://www.who.int/fsf/

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    European Commission Scientific Committee on Food (SCF) Opinion of the Scientific Committee on Food on New Findings Regarding the Presence of Acrylamide in Food (SCF/CS/CNTM/CONT/4 Final, 3 July 2002) http://europa.eu.int/comm/food/fs/sc/scf/index_en.html

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Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Correspondence to Richard H. Stadler.

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Figure 1: Production of acrylamide from N-glycosides.

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