Acrylamide from Maillard reaction products

Nature. 2002 Oct 3;419(6906):449-50. doi: 10.1038/419449a.


The discovery of the adventitious formation of the potential cancer-causing agent acrylamide in a variety of foods during cooking has raised much concern, but the chemical mechanism(s) governing its production are unclear. Here we show that acrylamide can be released by the thermal treatment of certain amino acids (asparagine, for example), particularly in combination with reducing sugars, and of early Maillard reaction products (N-glycosides). Our findings indicate that the Maillard-driven generation of flavour and colour in thermally processed foods can -- under particular conditions -- be linked to the formation of acrylamide.

MeSH terms

  • Acrylamide / chemistry*
  • Amino Acids / chemistry
  • Asparagine / chemistry
  • Food*
  • Glucose / chemistry
  • Glutamine / chemistry
  • Glycosides / chemistry
  • Hot Temperature
  • Maillard Reaction*
  • Methionine / chemistry


  • Amino Acids
  • Glycosides
  • Glutamine
  • Acrylamide
  • Asparagine
  • Methionine
  • Glucose