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Acrylamide production in foods could be slashed 40 percent by citric acid, glycine additives

Friday, July 14, 2006 by: NewsTarget
Tags: acylamides, grocery warning, food safety

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(NewsTarget) Adding citric acid and glycine to foods could lessen the formation of acrylamide -- a carcinogen produced by baking, roasting, frying or toasting starchy foods -- without having a huge impact on flavor, a UK study shows.

In 2002, acrylamide was found in unexpectedly high amounts in cooked, carbohydrate-rich foods by the Swedish Food Administration, which reported the substance caused cancer in laboratory rats. Since that discovery, scientists all over the world have been gathering as much data about the potentially dangerous chemical as possible.

According to this latest study, published online in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, since acrylamide is formed during the Maillard reaction -- the effect of sugar molecules being heated with amino acids to temperatures in excess of 154 degrees Celsius -- any attempts to suppress it would affect the flavor of favorite foods.

"It is clear that acrylamide formation and flavor generation are intricately linked through the Maillard reaction and that attempts to mitigate acrylamide formation would have a significant impact on flavor," said the report. "However, differences in the effect on flavor between (citric acid and glycine) can be exploited to minimize the overall impact on sensory quality."

When the researchers at the School of Food Biosciences at the University of Reading added glycine and citric acid to potato cakes before baking them at 180 degrees Celsius for 10 to 60 minutes, the resulting food showed approximately 40 percent less acrylamide formation than controls, with minimal effect on volatile flavor compounds.

The researchers noted that lower concentrations of citric acid and glycine would further reduce the effect on volatile flavor compounds, but still significantly reduce the formation of acrylamide, suggesting that the additives could serve a valuable role in producing popular cooked snacks with slightly healthier properties.


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