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Hydrocolloids may inhibit acrylamide formation

By Stephen Daniells , 08-Mar-2010
Last updated on 08-Mar-2010 at 14:12 GMT

Common hydrocolloids like pectin may inhibit the formation of acrylamide in French fries by up to 60 per cent, according to new research from China.

Similar results were also observed when alginic acid was used but other hydrocolloids like xanthan gum and carrageenan did not inhibit acrylamide formation to the same extent, suggest findings published in the journal Food Chemistry.

“Because hydrocolloids have been widely used as ingredients of coating formulae, to improve the quality of various fried food products, the findings of the present study have discovered further beneficial properties of hydrocolloids, especially with respect to fried starch-rich foods that are the major dietary sources of acrylamide,” wrote the authors, led by Xiaohui Zeng from the University of Hong Kong.

The study potentially adds another option to formulators seeking to reduce the acrylamide content of their fried or baked foods.

Approaches already used by the food industry to help reduce acrylamide levels include converting asparagine into an impotent form using an enzyme, binding asparagine to make it inaccessible, adding amino acids, changing the pH to alter the reaction products, cutting heating temperatures and times, and removing compounds from the recipe that may promote acrylamide formation.

Enzymes such as DSM’s Preventase and Novozyme's Acrylaway, work by converting asparagine into aspartic acid, thereby preventing it from being converted into acrylamide. The effect is a reduction in acrylamide in the final product by as much as 90 per cent.

While the new study reports acrylamide reduction of only 60 per cent in the final product for alginic acid and pectin, there may exist room for improvement.

Study details

The Hong Kong-based researchers examined the effects of eight hydrocolloids at a concentration of 2 per cent on the formation of acrylamide in a model system, and then in

The hydrocolloids tested included alginic acid, carrageenan, carob gum, hydroxypropyl distarch phosphate (HDP), pectin and xanthan gum, all of which were provided by Cargill, and agar and gelatine from Sigma.

Results showed that pectin and alginic acid reduced acrylamide formation by over 50 per cent in the model system, and xanthan gum by 20 per cent, but the other hydrocolloids needed to be increased to 5 per cent before an effect was observed.

In the potato strip test, when added to a solution into which the strips were immersed, the time of immersion was found to be critical, with a 60 per cent reduction in acrylamide levels after five hours in a 5 per cent alginic acid solution. Similar results were observed for pectin, said the researchers.

“The findings suggest alginic acid and pectin are promising inhibitors of acrylamide formation, and immersion time is an important determinant for their effects against acrylamide formation in fried potato products,” concluded the researchers.

Source: Food Chemistry
Volume 121, Issue 2, Pages 424-428
“Activities of hydrocolloids as inhibitors of acrylamide formation in model systems and fried potato strips”
Authors: X. Zeng, K-W. Cheng, Y. Du, R. Kong, C. Lo, I.K. Chu, F. Chen, M. Wang

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