Advances in experimental medicine and biology

Mechanisms of acrylamide formation: Maillard-induced transformation of asparagine.

PMID 16438298


The formation of acrylamide (AA) from L-asparagine was studied in Maillard model systems under pyrolysis conditions. While the early Maillard intermediate N-glucosylasparagine generated approximately 2.4 mmol/mol AA, the Amadori compound was a less efficient precursor (0.1 mmol/mol). Reaction with alpha-dicarbonyls resulted in relatively low AA amounts (0.2-0.5 mmol/mol), suggesting that the Strecker aldehyde pathway is of limited relevance. Similarly, the Strecker alcohol 3-hydroxypropanamide generated low amounts of AA (0.2 mmol/mol). On the other hand, hydroxyacetone afforded more than 4 mmol/mol AA, indicating that alpha-hydroxycarbonyls are more efficient than alpha-dicarbonyls in transforming asparagine into AA. The experimental results are consistent with the reaction mechanism proposed, i.e. (i) Strecker-type degradation of the Schiff base leading to azomethine ylides, followed by (ii) beta-elimination of the decarboxylated Amadori compound to release AA. The functional group in beta-position on both sides of the nitrogen atom is crucial. Rearrangement of the azomethine ylide to the decarboxylated Amadori compound is the key step, which is favored if the carbonyl moiety contains a hydroxyl group in beta-position to the N-atom. The beta-elimination step in the amino acid moiety was demonstrated by reacting under pyrolysis conditions decarboxylated model Amadori compounds obtained by synthesis.

Related Materials