12 January - 20 June 2016

Acrylamide and antioxidants

5 June 13

A review paper in Food Research International presents a broad overview of the role of antioxidants on acrylamide formation.  The authors, from Zhejiang University in China, note that since the detection of high levels of acrylamide (which is both neurotoxic and carcinogenic) in heat-treated foodstuffs in 2002, there has been an intensive research effort to elucidate and mitigate the reaction mechanisms that lead to the formation of acrylamide. Whereas some research reports that antioxidants and antioxidative extracts appear to inhibit acrylamide formation, others report the opposite effect.  The authors argue that this apparent contradiction can be attributed to the ability of antioxidants with different structures or functional groups to react with acrylamide precursors, with intermediates of the reaction or with acrylamide itself, leading to either reducing or promoting effects. The fact that the same kind of antioxidant, or extract and its representative components behaves differently in different studies might be due to the different reaction conditions among the studies, concentrations of the antioxidant, as well as preparative methods of the extract. Since the reaction conditions can dramatically influence the final concentration of acrylamide, the confusing fact that the same kind of antioxidant acts differently may be attributed to the variety of reaction conditions among studies. The fact that several antioxidants show different effects under different concentrations may also help explain this phenomenon, for the concentrations applied in various research studies are mostly different. However, the mechanism still remains unclear. What is clear is that adding antioxidants will not necessarily reduce acrylamide formation.

RSSL’S Functional Ingredients Laboratory has a validated ORAC method which can be used to test the antioxidant capacity of foods.  For more information please contact Customer Services on Freephone 0800 243482 or email enquiries@rssl.com

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