Wheat flour from plants deficient in sulfur has been shown to contain substantially higher levels of free amino acids, particularly asparagine and glutamine, than flour from wheat grown where sulfur nutrition was sufficient. Elevated levels of asparagine resulted in acrylamide levels up to 6 times higher in sulfur-deprived wheat flour, compared with sulfur-sufficient wheat flour, for three varieties of winter wheat. The volatile compounds from flour, heated at 180 degrees C for 20 min, have been compared for these three varieties of wheat grown with and without sulfur fertilizer. Approximately 50 compounds were quantified in the headspace extracts of the heated flour; over 30 compounds were affected by sulfur fertilization, and 15 compounds were affected by variety. Unsaturated aldehydes formed from aldol condensations, Strecker aldehydes, alkylpyrazines, and low molecular weight alkylfurans were found at higher concentrations in the sulfur-deficient flour, whereas low molecular weight pyrroles and thiophenes and sugar breakdown products were found at higher concentrations in the sulfur-sufficient flour. The reasons for these differences and the relationship between acrylamide formation and aroma volatile formation are discussed.
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