Recommendations & Advice

Acrylamide reduction strategies

Acrylamide is formed from asparagine and reducing sugars during the Maillard reaction at food processing temperatures. Therefore, food manufacturers should be monitoring the level of asparagine and reducing sugars in their ingredients.

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Asparagine testsAcrylamide tests

General Advice for FBO’s

The formation of acrylamide is determined by the levels of its precursors in food ingredients. To mitigate the problem of acrylamide formation, FBO’s should be monitoring the levels of these precursors. The most common precursors of acrylamide formation in wheat products are free asparagine and the reducing sugars, glucose, fructose and maltose.Therefore, FBOs should monitor and reduce the levels of precursors before thermal processing through mitigation strategies.

We offer testing for both asparagine and reducing sugars; please get in touch to find out more.

Advice for the Food Industry

Asparagine Monitoring

Asparagine is traditionally measured by liquid or gas chromatography. We use both of the gold-standard methods to measure asparagine in wheat, potato, coffee and other matrices. We also use our new, innovative approach to measure asparagine instantly using the sensor-based ” ASNInsta Test”.

Asparagine Reduction

Asparagine reduction is achieved through selection of naturally low-asparagine ingredients and by the addition of asparagine reducing enzymes. Certain yeast species also reduce the asparagine levels in raw dough.

Sugars Monitoring

Reducing sugars, which are one of the precursors of acrylamide formation, include fructose, glucose, sucrose and maltose. Similar to the amino acid analyses, potato and cereal samples are processed immediately for sugars analyses. We use HPAEC to analyse simple/reducing sugars.

Sugar reduction

Sugars should be reduced or replaced with alternatives where possible

Mitigation measures

Reducing the precursors of acrylamide formation at an industrial scale is not a simple task. Multiple publications have presented methods for the reduction of acrylamide at laboratory scale; however, this does not always translate to factory establishments.

Factory processes are complex, with additional interference to methods and factors involved in production processes. Due to the complexities of production, more precursor measurements are required at every step in those processes. The traditional methods are lengthy and expensive; therefore, we offer our ASNInsta testing to shorten the time for processing and give feedback in real-time as the process is underway. This will allow food manufacturers to reduce the levels of acrylamide precursors (asparagine in this case), in a targeted way. This allows for easier optimisation of the processes used in practice.

Benchmarks

FoodIndicative Value 2011 (ppb)Indicative Value 2013 (ppb)Benchmark Level 2017 (ppb)
French fries600600500
Potato chips (UK crisps)10001000750
Soft bread (wheat)1508050
Soft bread (other)
150100
Breakfast cereals: bran products, whole grain cereals, gun puffed grain400400300
Breakfast cereals: wheat and rye based300300
Breakfast cereals: maize, oat, spelt, barley and rice based200150
Biscuits500500350
Crackers500500400
Crispbread500450350
Gingerbread1000800
Cereal-based baby foods1005040
Baby foods (not cereal based) without prunes8050
Baby foods (not cereal based) with prunes80
Biscuits and rusks for infants and young children250150
Roast coffee450450400
Instant coffee900900850
Coffee substitute (cereal-based)2000500
Coffee substitute (chicory)40004000

Guidance

We recommend regular measurements of asparagine and sugar levels in your ingredients. Analysis should be completed only when there is an ingredient change. Asparagine and sugar levels may vary in ingredients. By measuring food, manufacturers will show that they are aware of the problem and have a system in place to reduce acrylamide precursors in their wheat, potato, and vegetable-based products. The method for measuring ingredients is simple and does not require any optimisation. The samples are sent to a laboratory which carries out the analyses and the measurement data are sent back to the factory as a report.

Food manufacturers should apply mitigation measures when the level of asparagine is too high in their ingredients. Currently, food manufacturers with higher levels of acrylamide use asparagine-breaking enzymes such as “asparaginase”. This enzyme breaks the asparagine into aspartate and ammonium. The PreventASe® enzyme reduces the level of acrylamide in food by 95%.

Another strategy includes a yeast:“AcryleastTM”, which reduces acrylamide in food by up to 90%.

Acrylamide reduction strategy

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Measurement of all your ingredients

  • Sugar analyses
  • Asparagine analyses
  • Acrylamide analyses

Mitigation strategies and advice

Bespoke method development, tailored specifically to your processes

Reports and clear recommendations for mitigation strategies

Book

Acrylamide in Food (2019)

N. Halford and T. Curtis.  WSPC (Europe)

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