Acrylamide formation in almonds (Prunus dulcis): influences of roasting time and temperature, precursors, varietal selection, and storage

J Agric Food Chem. 2011 Aug 10;59(15):8225-32. doi: 10.1021/jf201595q. Epub 2011 Jul 12.


Acrylamide is a probable human carcinogen that is found in many roasted and baked foods. This paper describes two sensitive and reliable LC-(ESI)MS/MS methods for the analysis of (1) acrylamide and (2) common acrylamide precursors (i.e., glucose, fructose, asparagine, and glutamine) in raw and roasted almonds. These methods were used to evaluate the impact of roasting temperatures (between 129 and 182 °C) and times on acrylamide formation. Controlling the roasting temperature at or below 146 °C resulted in acrylamide levels below 200 ppb at all roasting times evaluated. Six varieties of almonds collected in various regions of California over two harvest years and roasted at 138 °C for 22 min had acrylamide levels ranging from 117 ± 5 μg/kg (Sonora) to 221 ± 95 μg/kg (Butte) with an average of 187 ± 71 μg/kg. A weak correlation between asparagine content in raw almonds and acrylamide formation was observed (R(2) = 0.6787). No statistical relationship was found between acrylamide formation and almond variety, orchard region, or harvest year. Stability studies on roasted almonds indicated that acrylamide levels decreased by 12.9-68.5% (average of 50.2%) after 3 days of storage at 60 °C. Short-term elevated temperature storage may be another approach for mitigating acrylamide levels in roasted almonds.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acrylamide / chemistry*
  • Asparagine / chemistry
  • California
  • Cooking / methods*
  • Food Handling
  • Hot Temperature
  • Prunus / chemistry*
  • Time Factors


  • Acrylamide
  • Asparagine