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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Albany, California » Western Regional Research Center » Healthy Processed Foods Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #357229

Research Project: Adding Value to Plant-Based Waste Materials through Development of Novel, Healthy Ingredients and Functional Foods

Location: Healthy Processed Foods Research

Title: Acrylamide content of experimental and commercial flatbreads

item CRAWFORD, LAUREN - University Of California, Davis
item Kahlon, Talwinder
item Chiu, Mei Chen
item WANG, SELINA - University Of California, Davis
item Friedman, Mendel

Submitted to: Journal of Food Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/7/2019
Publication Date: 2/6/2019
Citation: Crawford, L.M., Kahlon, T.S., Chiu, M.M., Wang, S.C., Friedman, M. 2019. Acrylamide content of experimental and commercial flatbreads. Journal of Food Science. 84(3):659-666.

Interpretive Summary: Interest in the chemistry, distribution in food, consumption, and adverse effects in humans of potentially toxic acrylamide arises from the fact that heat processing (baking, cooking, frying) induces the formation of acrylamide in plant-based foods, as supported by numerous reports. In plant foods, but not in muscle foods such meat and fish, acrylamide is largely formed by the reaction of the amino acid asparagine with the reducing sugar glucose. To a much lesser extent, acrylamide can also be derived from lipids such as high-oil-olives in the absence of glucose. Because acrylamide is reported to induce numerous adverse effects that include antifertility, teratogenicity, carcinogenicity, and neurotoxicity, there is a need to reduce the dietary consumption of acrylamide. The main objective of the present collaborative study between WRRC with the University of California, Davis was to determine the acrylamide content using a validated chromatography/tandem mass spectrometry method of a series of new flatbreads baked with different food flours (corn, millet, oat, quinoa, rye, sorghum, soy, wheat) that contain different edible proteins with a parallel set of widely consumed flatbreads obtained from commercial markets. Such a scale of acrylamide content could allow consumers to make informed choices about products that contain acrylamide, as well as assist the food processing industry, bakers, restaurants, and homemakers in making low-acrylamide products. The results indicate that several flatbreads prepared using different commercial flours have low acrylamide levels, thus minimizing any adverse effects associated with acrylamide after consumption. The results of the present study and related efforts to reduce the acrylamide content of the diet by other investigators are expected to contribute to food safety and improved nutrition and human health.

Technical Abstract: Acrylamide, a bioactive biological alkylating agent formed in baked and fried plant-based foods, is reported to induce numerous adverse effects in cells, animals, and humans. A review of the worldwide literature on dietary acrylamide content shows that processed potato- and cereal-based products seem to be two major food types that contribute the highest amounts of acrylamide to the diet. There is therefore a need to reduce both acrylamide levels of processed foods as well the toxicity of dietary acrylamide after consumption. To contribute to this effort, the present study was undertaken to determine the acrylamide content of experimental and commercial flatbreads, which represent a major food category in many countries, prepared with a variety of food flours containing different proteins. The application of a validated, highly sensitive high-performance liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry method revealed that flatbreads made with the following flours baked at 195.5 °C for 2 min had very low (< 10 µg/kg) levels of acrylamide: brown rice, buckwheat, quinoa, millet, cornmeal, and oat. The acrylamide levels of the following flatbreads were 14-59 µg/kg: rye, sorghum, soy, wheat, organic rustic pizza, Tandoori naan and Lavash. Potato-based flatbreads and commercial matzo products, especially gluten-free matzos made with potato flour, showed high or very high acrylamide levels (100-2070 µg/kg). These findings suggest that consumers can select flatbreads with low acrylamide content, high nutritional value, and added health benefits. The relevance of the results for food safety, nutrition, and human health and suggestions for further research are discussed.