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Acrylamide in foods: chemistry and analysis, a review

J. Keramat, A. LeBail, C. Prost, and N. Soltanizadeh. 2011. Acrylamide in foods: chemistry and analysis, a review. Food and Bioprocess Technology. 4:340-363.


Acrylamide is a potential cause of a wide spectrum of toxic effects and is classified as probably “carcinogenic in humans”. The discovery of acrylamide in human foods has given rise to extensive studies exploring its formation mechanisms and levels of exposure and has spurred search into suitable analytical procedures for its determination in foodstuffs. However, the exact chemical mechanisms governing acrylamide formation are not yet known and cheap, convenient and rapid screening methods are still to be developed. Acrylamide in food is produced by heat-induced reactions between the amino group of asparagine and the carbonyl group of reducing sugars along with thermal treatment of early Maillard reaction products (N-glycosides). Similarly, the decarboxylated Schiff base and decarboxylated Amadori compounds of asparagine as well as the Strecker aldehyde have been proposed as direct precursors and intermediates of acrylamide. Corresponding chromatographic methods are used to determine various structural groups present in Maillard reaction model systems. Gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) and liquid chromatography with tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) analysis are both acknowledged as the main, useful and authoritative methods for acrylamide determination. This review is an attempt to summarize the state-of-the-art knowledge of acrylamide chemistry, formation mechanisms and analytical methods. Special attention is given to comparison of different chromatographic techniques, particularly the novel, simple, and low cost methods of its determination.

Key words: Acrylamide chemistry, mechanism of acrylamide formation, acrylamide analysis.

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