Current status of acrylamide research in food: measurement, safety assessment, and formation

Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2005 Jun:1043:30-40. doi: 10.1196/annals.1333.004.


Relatively high amounts of acrylamide have recently been reported in carbohydrate-rich foods under low moisture conditions. This sparked intensive investigations into acrylamide, encompassing its occurrence, chemistry, and toxicology/potential health risk in the human diet. Robust and efficient analytical methods have been developed to obtain reliable quantitative data. Recent epidemiological studies failed to evidence an association of cancer incidence and dietary acrylamide exposure. The link of acrylamide in foods to Maillard-type reactions and, in particular, to asparagine has been a major step in elucidating feasible chemical formation routes. Decarboxylation of the Schiff base derived from asparagine and a carbonyl reactant plays a key role in acrylamide formation leading to azomethine ylide intermediates, which offer an attractive mechanistic explanation of the acrylamide amounts found experimentally, including the fact that acrylamide is preferentially formed in the presence of fructose, as compared to glucose or alpha-dicarbonyls. However, the physical state of the reaction system may also affect acrylamide formation by influencing molecular mobility, particularly under low moisture conditions. Current research deals mainly with mitigation studies to reduce acrylamide during food processing and the role of water.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acrylamide / analysis*
  • Food / standards*
  • Food Analysis*
  • Food Handling*
  • Humans
  • Safety


  • Acrylamide