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Optimisation of the Maillard reaction in foods

The results of this project could exploited in every country of the Europen community. The enterprises that are more interested in the exploitation are involved in the production of dairy products, bakery products, meat products, malt or roasted barley, beer, coffee and chocolate and their derivatives.

Although the Maillard reaction is known from many years its tremendous complexity requires further studies for optimising it in food processing. Many possible aspects were taken into consideration such as the development of colour and flavour, and the possibility of control the formation of undesirable compounds. The foods where these informations were applied are milk and dairy products, commercially cooked meat, fish, and process-flavourings.

The Maillard reaction (MR) is one of the most important reaction during the thermal treatment of foods. It involves the condensation of amino groups (proteins, peptides) with reducing sugars. It gives rise to changes in colour, the developments of flavours in dairy, bakery and meat products, and has also nutritional implications. The objectives of this FAIR project was to optimise the MR reaction with a view to improving quality and safety in thermally produced foods. New compounds responsible of colour development in foods, such as intensely coloured oligomers, were separated and characterised from model systems, and mechanistic pathways for their formation were proposed contributing to the overall understanding of the mechanism of the MR. Kinetic studied showed differences in the reaction of aldose and ketose sugars and mono and disaccharides in the reaction with proteins such as caseins. The stability of some important meat flavour impact compounds was carefully studied and procedures to increase the shelf life of process-flavourings in flavoured food-stuffs was established. The formation of some MRPs in drinkable milk and some other dairy products produced in different EU countries permitted to select molecular markers useful for their classification in respect to the thermal treatment. The differences within each single contry are larger than between countries (Germany, the Netherland, Austria, Italy, Spain).

Some researches were devoted to nutritional aspects. A kinetic model (based on a very sensitive analytical method) was built for the formation of carcinogenic heterocyclic amines with a view to minimising their presence in commercially cooked hamburgers, while retaining the sensory properties. The influence of some pure MRPs on selected enzymes of phase-I and phase-II of the biotransformation system was investigated in cell cultures. Some of them appear to act rather as bifunctional than as monofunctional inducers.

Nom de la Personne à Contacter : ARNOLDI, Anna (Professor)
Poste : Associate Professor in Food Chemistry
Service : Dipartimento di Scienze Molecolari
Agroalimentari
Organisation à Contacter : University of Milan
Adresse : Via Celoria 2
Ville : Milano
Région : LOMBARDIA
Code Postal : 20133
Pays : ITALY
Numéro de Téléphone : +39-02-2362721
Numéro de Fax : +39-02-70633062
Courrier Electronique : anna.arnoldi@unimi.it

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