Maillard Reaction

The Maillard reaction (/maɪˈjɑr/my-YAR; ) is a form of nonenzymatic browning. It results from a chemical reaction between an amino acid and a reducing sugar, usually requiring heat.

Vitally important in the preparation or presentation of many types of food, it is named after chemist Louis-Camille Maillard, who first described it in 1912 while attempting to reproduce biological protein synthesis.

The reactive carbonyl group of the sugar reacts with the nucleophilic amino group of the amino acid, and forms a complex mixture of poorly characterized molecules responsible for a range of odors and flavors. This process is accelerated in an alkaline environment (e.g., lye applied to darken pretzels), as the amino groups are deprotonated and, hence, have an increased nucleophilicity. The type of the amino acid determines the resulting flavor. This reaction is the basis of the flavoring industry. At high temperatures, acrylamide can be formed.

In the process, hundreds of different flavor compounds are created. These compounds, in turn, break down to form yet more new flavor compounds, and so on. Each type of food has a very distinctive set of flavor compounds that are formed during the Maillard reaction. It is these same compounds flavor scientists have used over the years to make reaction flavors.

Read more about Maillard ReactionFoods and Products With Maillard Reactions, The Process, Factors, Physiology

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Asparaginase - Mechanism of Action - As A Food Processing Aid
... acid asparagine, naturally present in starchy foods, undergoes a process called the Maillard reaction, which is responsible for giving baked or fried foods their brown color, crust and toasted flavor ... such as acrylamide and some heterocyclic amines in also formed in Maillard reaction ... As a result, asparagine cannot take part in the Maillard reaction, and therefore the formation of acrylamide is significantly reduced ...
Maillard Reaction - Physiology
... The Maillard reaction also occurs in the human body ... Although the Maillard reaction has been studied most extensively in foods, it has also shown a correlation in numerous different diseases in the human body ... the oxidation and dehydration of Amadori adducts, which themselves are products of nonenzymatic Maillard reactions ...
Browning (food Process) - Nonenzymatic Browning
... The two main forms of nonenzymatic browning are caramelization and the Maillard reaction ... Both vary in reaction rate as a function of water activity ... The Maillard reaction is a chemical reaction between an amino acid and a reducing sugar, usually requiring the addition of heat ...

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