Effect of amino acids in the Maillard reaction products generated from the reaction flavors of Tenebrio molitor (mealworm) protein and d-xylose

Food Sci Biotechnol. 2022 Oct 12;31(13):1647-1660. doi: 10.1007/s10068-022-01158-0. eCollection 2022 Dec.


In this study, Tenebrio molitor (mealworm) protein and reducing sugar were thermally reacted without (MP-RF) or with amino acids (MPA-RFs, A is then replaced with three-letter abbreviation of amino acid used in the reaction), and their Maillard reaction products (MRPs) and sensory characteristics were compared to explore the amino acids that contributed to desirable meat-related odor attributes in MP-RF. The odor characteristics perceived from MP-RF were changed based on the amino acid that was added to MP-RF and then reacted. Noticeably, a 'dried shrimp-like' attribute, which was the most intense in MP-RF, was weakened in all MPA-RFs. The 'meaty' and 'sulfur-like' odor notes were higher in MP-RF reacted with cysteine (MPCys-RF) than those in MP-RF and most MPA-RFs. In addition, 2-methyl-3-furanthiol and 2-furfurylthiol, which are the most important key odorants in a meat flavoring material, were also found only in MPCys-RF. These results show that the meaty flavoring potential of MP-RF was significantly enhanced when reacted with cysteine.

Keywords: Cysteine; Meat flavor; Reaction flavor; Tenebrio molitor (mealworm) protein; Volatile Maillard reaction product.