Markers for the Quality of Food

Markers for the Quality of Food

Published on 26/04/2016

Maillard Reaction Products (MRPs) result from the reaction of Arg and Lys side chains with reducing carbohydrates. MRPs are valuable markers for food quality and are used in many different branches of industry such as food, pharma, cosmetics and biochemistry.

Proteins contained in meat and other comestible goods are usually rich in the amino acids arginine and lysine. The side chain functional groups of Arg and Lys react with reducing carbohydrates such as glucose or lactose to form Amadori reaction products. These characteristic intermediates decompose particularely at elevated temperatures to various Maillard reaction products (MRPs) which are responsible for the distinctive flavours of many food products. MRPs are widely used as markers for the nutritional quality of food and have gained broad attention in cosmetics, biochemistry, food, and pharma industry.

Schematic representation of Maillard reaction products formation

MRPs reduce the availability of essential amino acids such as arginine and lysine in food, and therefore influence their nutritional quality. They are responsible for deterioration of food during storage and processing. From a pharmacological point of view they may cause kidney damage and show carcinogenic, but also antiallergenic, antibiotic, anti-mutagenic, and antioxidant properties.

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