Chemistry and Safety of Acrylamide in Food

Volume 561 of the series Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology pp 135-156

Biological Effects of Maillard Browning Products That May Affect Acrylamide Safety in Food

Biological Effects of Maillard Products
  • Mendel FriedmanAffiliated withWestern Regional Research Center, Agricultural Reseach Service, USDA

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The heat-induced reaction of amino groups of amino acids, peptides, and proteins with carbonyl groups of reducing sugars such as glucose results in the concurrent formation of so-called Maillard browning products and acrylamide. For this reason, reported studies of adverse biological effects of pure acrylamide may not always be directly relevant to acrylamide in processed food, which may contain Maillard and other biologically active products. These may either antagonize or potentiate the toxicity of acrylamide. To stimulate progress, this paper presents an overview of selected reported studies on the antiallergenic/allergenic, antibiotic, anticarcinogenic/carcinogenic antimutagenic/mutagenic, antioxidative/oxidative, clastogenic (chromosome-damaging), and cytotoxic activities of Maillard products, which may adversely or beneficially impact the toxicity of acrylamide. The evaluation of biological activities of Maillard products and of other biologically active food ingredients suggests that they could both enhance and/or ameliorate acrylamide toxicity, especially carcinogenicity, but less so neurological or reproductive manifestations. Future studies should be directed to differentiate the individual and combined toxicological relationships among acrylamide and the Maillard products, define individual and combined potencies, and develop means to prevent the formation of both acrylamide and the most toxic Maillard products. Such studies should lead to safer foods.

Key words

Acrylamide Maillard products beneficial effects adverse effects food safety