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More bad news about that tasty browning.

More bad news about that tasty browning

The Maillard reaction--a heat-activated chemical interactionbetween sugars and amino acids--is what browns the edges of cookies, the crusts of breads and the surfaces of meats. While it makes these smell and taste good, it can also reduce the presence of some amino acids (SN: 4/24/82, p.282) and the bioavailability of some proteins (SN: 6/30/84, p.410). Now researchers at the University of Parma in Italy report that Maillard reactions in meat also produce mutagens, substances that cause genetic mutations.

Because ribose is present in relatively high amounts in redmeat, white meat and fish, and is also one of the most reactive sugars in the Maillard reaction, the Parma scientists ran products of its Maillard activity at 100|C through the Ames mutagenicity assay. In the May-June JOURNAL OF FOOD SCIENCE, they report that this sugar "forms mutagenic products with most of the amino acids normally present in meat.' They suspect these mutagens, perhaps with others produced by broiling or frying, may help cause the human cancers that have been linked to eating cooked meat.
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Title Annotation:browning food can create mutagens
Publication:Science News
Date:Jul 11, 1987
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