Brief Communication | Published:

Food chemistry

Acrylamide from Maillard reaction products

Nature volume 419, pages 449450 (03 October 2002) | Download Citation



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.

Access optionsAccess options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.


  1. 1.

    Swedish National Food Agency website

  2. 2.

    & The Analyst 127, 880–882 (2002).

  3. 3.

    WHO FAO/WHO Consultation on the Health Implications of Acrylamide in Food (Geneva, 25–27 June 2002)

  4. 4.

    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)

  5. 5.

    & Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. Engl. 29,565–594 (1990).

  6. 6.

    & in The Carbohydrates – Chemistry and Biochemistry (eds Pigman, W. & Hortin, D.) Vol. 1B, 881–927 (Academic, New York, 1980).

  7. 7.

    & Chem. Ber. 59, 1581–1585 (1926).

  8. 8.

    , & Z. Naturforsch. B 44, 459–464 (1989).

Download references

Author information


  1. Nestlé Research Center, Nestec, Vers-chez-les-Blanc, 1000 Lausanne 26, Switzerland

    • Richard H. Stadler
    • , Imre Blank
    • , Natalia Varga
    • , Fabien Robert
    • , Jörg Hau
    • , Philippe A. Guy
    • , Marie-Claude Robert
    •  & Sonja Riediker


  1. Search for Richard H. Stadler in:

  2. Search for Imre Blank in:

  3. Search for Natalia Varga in:

  4. Search for Fabien Robert in:

  5. Search for Jörg Hau in:

  6. Search for Philippe A. Guy in:

  7. Search for Marie-Claude Robert in:

  8. Search for Sonja Riediker in:

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Richard H. Stadler.

About this article

Publication history



Further reading


By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.