Report Highlights Acrylamide-Cutting TechniquesReport Highlights Acrylamide-Cutting Techniques
December 11, 2007
A final report on methods to help reduce acrylamide in foods was recently released following a three-year study, dubbed the Heatox Project and funded by the European Union. Heatox researchers note that following the recommendations can reduce acrylamide levels by up to 80%.
Recent findings focus on methods to cut acrylamide in french fries, chips, bread and other baked goods, breakfast cereal, and coffee. When manufacturing potato products, the researchers note that adding a blanching step can greatly reduce content of the heat-generated chemical compoundby up to 80% when employing acidic blanching using citric or lactic acid. Vacuum frying also shows promise in cutting acrylamide levels.
When it comes to baking, the Heatox researchers note that the asparagine content of the grain and/or flourparticularly in the bran and germ fractionsaffects resultant acrylamide levels in the products. But they note that these components of grain also contribute health benefits. Whole-grain products are beneficial from many nutritional points of view, so the risk to benefit balance must always be taken into consideration, they write. Higher degrees of yeast fermentation also showed the ability to reduce the level of asparagine contentand subsequently, acrylamidein baked goods. Other methods of reduction include adding free glycine, an amino acid, during baking and incorporating steam during the baking process, as well as alternative baking technologies like air jet impingement and infrared radiation heating.
For coffee, the researchers note that the choice of bean type and the degree of roasting appears to affect the level of acrylamide in the product. For example, they found that Arabica beans tend to form less acrylamide than Robusta types. However, roasting, a process that greatly influences coffee flavor, poses challenges, noting that this knowledge is very difficult to implement rapidly into practical minimization actions, since roasting and the choice of coffee bean are the key determinants for the flavor properties of the final product.
This research also showed that acrylamide isnt the only compound that might prove problematic to product developers. In the course of compiling a database of 800 heat-induced compounds, they found 52 that might have potential carcinogenic properties based on their chemical structure. The researchers noted that future research should focus on these compounds.
For more information, visit The Heatox Project Website.
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