Submitted to: Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: August 13, 2006
Publication Date: September 22, 2006
Citation: Fan, X., Mastovska, K. 2006. Effectiveness of ionizing radiation in reducing furan and acrylamide levels in foods. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. 54:8266-8270. Interpretive Summary: Furan and acrylamide are two possible carcinogens found in many thermally-processed foods. New food processing techniques and treatments are needed to reduce the levels of the two compounds in foods. In the present study, the possibility of using ionizing radiation to reduce the levels of the thermally-induced furan and acrylamide in water and selected foods was investigated. Our results suggest that irradiation at low doses (less than 2 kGy) destroyed virtually of all the furan and acrylamide in water. In real foods, irradiation, at doses (2.5-3.5 kGy) that are commonly used for pathogen inactivation, reduced furan levels by a third. However, radiation, even at doses up to 10 kGy, had very limited effect on acrylamide levels. Unlike thermal treatment, irradiation did not induce acrylamide formation from a mixture of asparagine and a reducing sugar. The degree of furan and acrylamide reduction in any particular food will very likely depend on its composition, with water content being one of the most crucial factors. This information is useful for scientists and food industry to explore means to minimize the formation of these two chemicals.
Technical Abstract: Furan and acrylamide are two possible carcinogens commonly found in many thermally-processed foods. The possibility of using ionizing radiation to reduce the levels of thermally-induced furan and acrylamide in water and selected foods was investigated. Aqueous furan solutions, and foods (frankfurters, sausages, infant sweet potatoes) that contained furan were irradiated to various doses of gamma rays. Water and oil spiked with acrylamide, and potato chips (a known furan-containing food), were also irradiated. In addition, possible irradiation-induced formation of acrylamide in glucose and asparagine solutions was analyzed. Results showed that irradiation at 1.0 kGy destroyed almost all furan in water. In frankfurters, sausages, and infant sweet potatoes, the rate of irradiation-induced destruction of furan was much lower than the rate in water, though significant reductions in furan levels were observed in all foods. Irradiation at 2.5-3.5 kGy, doses that can inactivate 5-log of most common pathogens, reduced furan levels in the food samples by 25-40%. Similarly to furan, acrylamide in water was also sensitive to irradiation. After 1.5 kGy irradiation, most of the furan was degraded. Irradiation, however, had a very limited effect on acrylamide levels in oil and in potato chips, even at a dose of 10 kGy. No detectable acrylamide was formed in the mixture of asparagine and glucose upon irradiation. Our results suggest that low dose irradiation easily destroys furan and acrylamide in water. In real foods, however, the reduction of furan was less effective than in water, while the reduction in acrylamide was minimal.