Heat is essential for the production of foods which are microbiologically safe, have increased nutritional quality and reduced levels of toxic or potentially toxic compounds. Heat is also used to improved the sensory properties of food, particularly flavour and colour. One of the important transformations that happens during heating of food, is the reaction between reducing sugars (monosaccharides or disaccharides) and proteins and/or amino acids. This reaction is a type of non-enzymic browning and is often referred to as the Maillard Reaction, after the researcher who first discovered it. The overall objective of the proposed research is to understand the factors and inter-relationships between factors that affect flavour, colour and nutritional quality and toxicological safety of all the foods that undergo the Maillard Reaction during thermal processing and to obtain better control of the Maillard Reaction via process optimisation. Control of the reaction may be interpreted in two ways. First, it can mean preventing the reaction, as far as possible, by inhibiting it or by minimising it. Second, control may involve optimising the reaction to achieve optimum flavour and colour development coupled with reduced levels of toxic compounds and maximised nutritional value. The ability to control the reaction simultaneously, with regard to flavour, colour, nutrition and toxicology, represents a challenge for the food technologist.
Means of achieving better control requires a deeper understanding of the processes concerned, and will result in improved quality and safety of food for the ultimate benefit of the consumer.
Since a much better understanding on the Maillard Reaction is required in order to improve the flavour, colour, nutritional and toxicological properties of heated foods, the objectives of the proposal are :
- to obtain a deeper understanding of the complex processes known as the
- to gain a better appreciation of how the controlling factors influence the
reaction. This information will greatly aid the production of foods with improved
safety and sensory quality;
- to obtain an improved kinetic understanding of the processes involved;
- to apply the data obtained to important foods such as milk, milk products, meat
products, fish and fish products, and process flavourings.
The problem of the lack of satisfactory control of the Maillard Reaction will be approached from different angles. All factors which can influence the reaction between protein and/or amino acids and sugars in foods are important and each participant will deal with a different aspect.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts
1400 CA Bussum
244 24 Kävlinge
221 00 Lund
RG6 6AP Reading
LS2 9JT Leeds
6703 HD Wageningen