Skip to main content
ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Albany, California » Western Regional Research Center » Healthy Processed Foods Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #384654

Research Project: New Sustainable Processes, Preservation Technologies, and Product Concepts for Specialty Crops and Their Co-Products

Location: Healthy Processed Foods Research

Title: Low acrylamide flatbreads from colored corn and other flours

item LI, XUEQI - University Of California, Davis
item Kahlon, Talwinder
item WANG, SELINA - University Of California, Davis
item Friedman, Mendel

Submitted to: Foods
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/15/2021
Publication Date: 10/18/2021
Citation: Li, X., Kahlon, T.S., Wang, S.C., Friedman, M. 2021. Low acrylamide flatbreads from colored corn and other flours. Foods. 10(10). Article 2495.

Interpretive Summary: Flatbreads originated in the Stone Age in parts of the world where grains were the chief food in the ancient diet. Various versions of flatbreads are currently widely consumed in different parts of the world including Greek pita, Italian pizza, Indian chapati and roti, Middle Eastern lavash and matzos, Latin American tortillas, and North American johnnycakes. Food processing is used to make food edible, to alter flavor and texture, and to destroy pathogenic microorganisms and toxins. The processing methods include baking, broiling, cooking, and roasting. Exposure of foods to these processing methods have both beneficial and harmful effects that include the formation of potentially toxic acrylamide. The present and our earlier studies show that flatbreads prepared from ancient grains that include millet, oat, quinoa, rye, and sorghum and from pigmented (colored) rice and corn flours seem to have low acrylamide levels suggesting that they might be safer to consume than some processed foods with much higher levels. Because the flatbreads prepared from colored grains contain health promoting phenolic and anthocyanin compounds, they also might ameliorate adverse effects associated with various diseases. Flatbreads prepared from grains other than wheat with a high-protein and low-fat content also provide consumers with a gluten-free readily available food. Because the amounts of essential amino acids tryptophan and lysine are low (nutritionally limiting) in corn, the preparation and nutritional evaluation of flatbreads from available high-tryptophan/high-lysine corn varieties will have a beneficial effect on human nutrition.

Technical Abstract: Dietary acrylamide formed during baking and frying of plant-based foods such as bread and other cereal products, almonds, coffee, fried potatoes, and olives is reported to induce genotoxic, carcinogenic, neurotoxic, and antifertility properties in vivo, suggesting the need to keep the acrylamide content low of widely consumed heat-processed food including flatbreads. Because pigmented corn flours contain biologically active and health-promoting phenolic and anthocyanin compounds, the objective of this study was to potentially define beneficial properties of flatbread by evaluating the acrylamide content determined by high-performance liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry (HPLC/MS) with a detection limit of 1.8 µg/kg (parts-per-billion) and percent proximate composition by standard methods of six experimental flatbreads made from two white, two blue, one red, and one yellow corn flours obtained by milling commercial seeds. Acrylamide content was also determined in experimental flatbreads made from combinations of quinoa flour, wheat flour, and peanut meal with added broccoli or beet vegetables and of commercial flatbreads including tortillas and wraps. Proximate analysis of flatbreads showed significant differences in protein and fat but not in carbohydrate, mineral, and water content. The acrylamide content of 16 evaluated flatbreads ranged from 0.0 to 49.05 µg/kg, suggesting that these flatbreads have the potential to serve as low-acrylamide functional foods. The dietary significance of the results is discussed.