Acrylamide: New European Risk Management Measures and Prospects for Reducing the Acrylamide-Forming Potential of Wheat

Acrylamide (C3H5NO) is a processing contaminant formed from free asparagine and reducing sugars during high-temperature cooking and processing. It is a Group 2A carcinogen, and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) Panel on Contaminants in the Food Chain (CONTAM Panel) has expressed concern for the potential tumor-inducing effects of dietary exposure. Potato, coffee, and cereal products are the major contributors to dietary acrylamide intake. The European Commission recently introduced strengthened risk management regulations for acrylamide in food, including compulsory mitigation measures and new benchmark levels. Measures adopted to reduce acrylamide formation in potato chips in Europe resulted in a 53% decrease from 2002 to 2011. However, since 2011 there has been a leveling off, suggesting that the easy gains have already been made. Acrylamide levels in chips are influenced by seasonal and geographical factors, making regulatory compliance more difficult. In cereals, acrylamide formation is determined by free asparagine concentration, and this differs substantially between varieties. We would support the inclusion of information on grain asparagine concentration in variety descriptions. However, crop management, including ensuring good disease control and sulfur sufficiency, is also important. A key enzyme in asparagine synthesis is asparagine synthetase. Wheat has four asparagine synthetase genes, TaASN1–4. Gene expression and biochemical data have identified TaASN2 as a prime target for genetic interventions to reduce wheat’s acrylamide-forming potential.

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Field Value
Author Halford, Nigel G.
Last Updated August 7, 2019, 13:53 (UTC)
Created July 31, 2019, 16:30 (UTC)
Article Is Open Access false
Citation Report
DFW Organisation RRes
DFW Work Package 1
DOI 10.1021/bk-2019-1306.ch003
Journal Is Open Access false
Open Access Status closed