Tara pod extract may slash acrylamide levels in bread: Study

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

© Getty Images / Zerbor
© Getty Images / Zerbor
A polyphenol-rich extract from tara pods may reduce the formation of acrylamide in “hallulla” bread by 85%, says a new study from Chile.

Extracts from tara pod (Caesalpinia spinosa​) were also associated with 90% reductions in the formation of hydroxymetylfurfural in "hallulla", a highly consumed type of bread in Chile, reported scientists from the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, the Universidad de Chile, and the Universidad Tecnológica Metropolitana.

“The higher the amount of the added concentration extract, the higher the reduction of [acrylamide] and [hydroxymetylfurfural] formation in hallulla bread,”​ they wrote in the food science and technology journal LWT​.

“At an extract concentration of 1500 mg/kg of wheat flour, [acrylamide] and [hydroxymetylfurfural] formation in hallulla was mitigated in 97% and 40%, respectively, without affecting negatively their sensorial attributes.”

The acrylamide story

Acrylamide is a suspected carcinogen that is formed during by heat-induced reaction between sugar and an amino acid called asparagine. Known as the Maillard reaction, this process is responsible for the brown color and tasty flavor of baked, fried and toasted foods.

The compound first hit the headlines in 2002, when scientists at the Swedish Food Administration first reported unexpectedly high levels of acrylamide, found to cause cancer in laboratory rats, in carbohydrate-rich foods.

Since the Swedish discovery, a global effort has been underway to amass data about this chemical and the food industry has a toolbox of solutions to mitigate the formation of acrylamide.

Approaches already used by the food industry to help reduce acrylamide levels include converting asparagine into an impotent form using an enzyme, binding asparagine to make it inaccessible, adding amino acids, changing the pH to alter the reaction products, cutting heating temperatures and times, and removing compounds from the recipe that may promote acrylamide formation.

Enzymes such as DSM’s PreventASe​ and Novozyme's Acrylaway​, work by converting asparagine into aspartic acid, thereby preventing it from being converted into acrylamide. The effect is a reduction in acrylamide in the final product by as much as 90%.

Tara pod potential

Similar reductions were reported in the new study, which used a tara pod polyphenolic extract (TPPE) in hallulla bread. Tara is a leguminous tree native to South America. The results showed that acrylamide formation was reduced by approximately 90% at a TPPE level of 1500 mg/kg.

For hydroxymetylfurfural – another potential carcinogen – the highest reduction was 85% when 3000 mg/kg of TPPE was used, said the researchers.

Additional tests showed that the taste, texture, flavor, and color were unaffected by the addition of the tara pod extract.

“Our results highlight the potential of using polyphenolics from tara pod extracts to reduce the exposure of consumers to dietary neo-formed contaminants,”​ the researchers concluded.

Source: LWT
Volume 95, Pages 116-122, doi: 10.1016/j.lwt.2018.04.086
“Tara pod (​Caesalpinia spinosa) extract mitigates neo-contaminant formation in Chilean bread preserving their sensory attributes”
Authors: F. Pedreschi et al.