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Reducing acrylamide precursors in raw materials derived from wheat and potato

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  • Nira Muttucumaru
  • J. Stephen Elmore
  • Tanya Curtis
  • Donald S. Mottram
  • Martin A J Parry
  • Nigel G. Halford
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>13/08/2008
<mark>Journal</mark>Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry
Issue number15
Number of pages6
Pages (from-to)6167-6172
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


A review of agronomic and genetic approaches as strategies for the mitigation of acrylamide risk in wheat and potato is presented. Acrylamide is formed through the Maillard reaction during high-temperature cooking, such as frying, roasting, or baking, and the main precursors are free asparagine and reducing sugars. In wheat flour, acrylamide formation is determined by asparagine levels and asparagine accumulation increases dramatically in response to sulfur deprivation and, to a much lesser extent, with nitrogen feeding. In potatoes, in which sugar concentrations are much lower, the relationships between acrylamide and its precursors are more complex. Much attention has been focused on reducing the levels of sugars in potatoes as a means of reducing acrylamide risk. However, the level of asparagine as a proportion of the total free amino acid pool has been shown to be a key parameter, indicating that when sugar levels are limiting, competition between asparagine and the other amino acids for participation in the Maillard reaction determines acrylamide formation. Genetic approaches to reducing acrylamide risk include the identification of cultivars and other germplasm in which free asparagine and/or sugar levels are low and the manipulation of genes involved in sugar and amino acid metabolism and signaling. These approaches are made more difficult by genotype/environment interactions that can result in a genotype being "good" in one environment but "poor" in another. Another important consideration is the effect that any change could have on flavor in the cooked product. Nevertheless, as both wheat and potato are regarded as of relatively high acrylamide risk compared with, for example, maize and rice, it is essential that changes are achieved that mitigate the problem.