Free asparagine and sugars profile of cereal species: the potential of cereals for acrylamide formation in foods

<p>Cereals-based food is one of the major source of Maillard reaction products in the diet. Free amino acids and reducing sugars are considered to be the main precursors in the formation of these heat-induced compounds. In order to determine genetic resources with reduced potential for acrylamide formation, the content of sugars as well as free asparagine were analysed in a total of 30 cultivars of 10 varieties belonging to eight species (<i>Triticum aestivum</i> var. <i>lutescens</i>, <i>T. aestivum</i> var. <i>alba</i>, <i>T. aestivum</i> var. <i>compactum</i>, <i>T. durum</i>, <i>T. spelta</i>, <i>T. dicoccum</i>, <i>Secale cereale</i>, <i>Hordeum vulgare</i> var. <i>nudum</i>, <i>Avena sativa</i> var. <i>nudum</i>, and <i>Zea mays</i> var. <i>indentata</i>) grown at the same location in the 2015 growing season. Our results provide evidence of differences in the content of sugars and asparagine between and within species of small grain cereals and maize. The highest content of glucose, fructose and asparagine was found in cultivars of rye and hull-less oat. All maize varieties examined contained significantly higher amounts of non-reducing and total sugars (on average 1.25% and 2.36%, respectively) than small cereal grain species. Principal component analysis showed a high positive correlation between monoreducing sugars and asparagine in bread wheat, durum wheat and hull-less barley.</p>