New kit in
acrylamide 'war' targets asparagine analysis
of Article: http://www.foodproductiondaily.com/Quality-Safety/New-kit-in-acrylamide-war-targets-asparagine-analysis
By Lindsey Partos, 07-Apr-2009
Snack makers on the alert for
acrylamide formation in their baked products have a new tool at their
disposal to rapidly analyse asparagine levels.
Designed by laboratory equipment giant Thermo Fisher Scientific, an
automated photometric method uses the firm's Arena analyser to determine asparagine
levels in both raw and processed foods.
In a process known as the Maillard reaction, asparagine, an amino
acid commonly found in food, reacts with reducing sugars at temperatures
above 160°C, to produce acrylamide, a suspected carcinogen.
Since 2002 when Swedish food regulators first revealed the chemical
was present in a number of baked goods, including crisps, French fries and
baked cereals, efforts by the food industry have been underway to mitigate acrylamide
levels, with a distinct focus on asparagine's role.
But minimising, or preventing, the formation of acrylamide is a key
processing challenge for fried, baked or roasted foods.
Ready-to-use 'asparagine' kit
Thermo Fisher Scientific claims its automated photometric method is
a "simple and effective" way to establish asparagine levels.
In addition, the firm states that its Arena system applications are
available for measuring reducing sugars that are an integral part of
All Arena products – the Arena 20, 20XT, 30 and 60 – use "disposable
multicell cuvette technology" to provide a "true discrete
analysis, virtually eliminating carryover".
With regards to the time factor, the company claims that "several
analytes can be measured simultaneously from a single sample", and
many blanking possibilities are available "to eliminate interfering
substances like the sample matrix effects."
The acrylamide trail
Since the Swedish discovery in 2002, more than 200 research projects
have kicked-off across the world, co-ordinated by trade groups, national
governments, and the United Nations.
Europe's Confederation of Food and drink industries, for example,
has built up an acrylamide 'toolbox' to help businesses, particularly SME's
with limited R&D resources, confront the issue of acrylamide.
As it stands, the 'toolbox' is the summation of several years of
industry co-operation to understand acrylamide formation, and potential
intervention steps in the manufacturing process that could be undertaken to
"It is important that they assess the suitability of proposed
mitigation steps in the light of the actual composition of their products,
their manufacturing equipment, and their need to continue to provide
consumers with quality products consistent with their brand image and
consumer expectations," said the CIAA.
Market solutions to acrylamide
Ingredients firm DSM and major Danish enzyme player Novozymes have
both rolled out acrylamide-fighting enzymes onto the market. DSM's
Preventase and Novozyme's Acrylaway both convert asparagine into another
amino acid called aspartic acid.
The convertion prevents asparagine from being converted into
acrylamide, resulting in a potential 90 per cent reduction in acrylamide in
the final product. Preventase is derived from Aspergillus niger, and
Acrylaway from a different strain, Aspergillus oryzae.