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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: CHEMICAL BASIS FOR BIOLOGICAL EFFECTS OF ACRYLAMIDE. A REVIEW

Author
item Friedman, Mendel

Submitted to: Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: May 30, 2003
Publication Date: August 1, 2003
Citation: Friedman, M. 2003 Chemical basis for biological effects of acrylamide. a review. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. v 51 p.4504-4526

Interpretive Summary: Recent reports that acrylamide is present in food formed during their processing, under conditions that also induce the formation of Maillard browning products, stimulated hightened interest in the underlying chemistry that may be responsible for its formation as well as in the chemical and biochemical basis of the biological effects of this vinyl compound. It has been reported to be a reproductive toxin, neurotoxin, and animal carcinogen. To contribute to a better understanding of the chemical basis of the biological effects of acrylamide, this integrated review of published information presents data on the chemistry, analysis, and biological effects of acrylamide and outlines possible approaches to reduce the acrylamide content in food. These include the use of microbial enzymes (asparaginases, amidases) that can hydrolyze asparagine, the major precursor of acrylamide in unprocessed food as well as of acrylamide in processed food. Understanding the chemistry of formation of acrylamide during food processing and its reactions both in vitro and in vivo will make it possible to design effective means to prevent or arrest undesirable consequences of acrylamide in the diet.

Technical Abstract: Acrylamide has been reported to be a reproductive toxin, neurotoxin, and animal carcinogen. Because of the potential of exposure to acrylamide, effects of acrylamide in cells, tissues, animals, and humans have been extensively studied. Recent reports that acrylamide is present in food formed during their processing, under conditions that also induce the formation of Maillard browning products, stimulated hightened interest in the underlying chemistry that may be responsible for its formation as well as in the chemical and biochemical basis of the toxicological effects of this vinyl compound. Because exposure of humans to acrylamide can come from both external sources and the diet, a need exists to develop a better understanding of its role in human health. To contribute to this effort, this integrated review of the literature presents data on the chemistry, analysis, pharmacology, and toxicology of acrylamide. Specifically covered are the following aspects -non-food and food sources; exposure; mechanism of formation in food from asparagine and glucose; acrylamide-asparagine-asparaginase relationships; Maillard browning-acrylamide relationships; quenching of protein fluorescence; biological alkylation of amino acids, proteins, and DNA; protection against adverse effects; and reducing levels in food. A better understanding of the impact of pure acrylamide in general and in a food matrix in particular can facilitate the development of improved food processes to reduce the acrylamide content of the diet.

Last Modified: 9/1/2014
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