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Control of the Maillard Reaction in Foods

For a food technologist, one of the most important objectives must be to limit nutritional damage of food during processing. In this sense, many studies have been performed find useful heat-induced markers derived from the Maillard reaction, and most of them have been proposed to control and check the heat treatments and/or storage of foods.

There are many indicators of different stages of the Maillard reaction, but this review cites one of the most recent indicators proposed to control the early stages of the Maillard reaction during food processing: the 2- furoylmethyl amino acids as an indirect measure of Amadori compound formation.

 Determination of the level of Amadori compounds provides a very sensitive indicator for early detection (before detrimental changes occur) of quality changes caused by the Maillard reaction as well as a retrospective assessment of the heat treatment or storage conditions to which a product has been subjected (Olano and Martínez-Castro 1996, del Castillo et al. 1999).

Evaluating for Amadori compounds can be carried out through furosine [-N-(2-furoylmethyl)- L-lysine] measurement. This amino acid is formed by acid hydrolysis of the Amadori compound -N- (1-deoxy-D-fructosyl)-L-lysine. It is considered a useful indicator of the damage in processed foods or foods stored for long periods: milks (Resmini et al. 1990, Villamiel et al. 1999), eggs (Hidalgo et al. 1995), cheese (Villamiel et al. 2000), honey (Villamiel et al. 2001), infant formulas (GuerraHernandez et al. 2002), jams and fruit-based infant foods (Rada-Mendoza et al. 2002), fresh filled pasta (Zardetto et al. 2003), prebaked breads (Ruiz et al.

 2004), and cookies, crackers, and breakfast cereals (Rada-Mendoza et al. 2004). In the case of foods containing free amino acids, free Amadori compounds can be present, and acid hydrolysis gives rise to the formation of the corresponding 2-furoylmethyl derivatives.

For the first time, 2-furoylmethyl derivatives of different amino acids (arginine, asparagine, proline, alanine, glutamic acid, and -amino butyric acid) have been detect.

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