Acrylamide scare is moving scientists to develop necessary means to tackle this issue at the processing level itself with minimum added cost to the processor. Though the danger posed by this chemical is not yet confirmed, there appears to be concerted move to "exploit" this "scare" and make a quick buck for the industry and fast fame for some scientists! Earlier there was this enzyme manufacturer in Europe offering appropriate enzyme system to preempt the Maillard reaction responsible for generating Acrylamide during high temperature processing. Now comes the report regarding the use of bacteria in making the precursors of Acrylamide innocuous and thus preempt the undesirable reaction.
"He and his research team found a method that limits the formation of acrylamide during the production of potato products and coffee. It was the patent for this method that provided the springboard for the company Zeracryl". "Our method is based on lactic acid fermentation," explains Dr Blom. "Acrylamide is formed as a reaction between the amino acid asparagine and simple sugars such as glucose and fructose. Put simply, the lactic acid bacteria remove these compounds and inhibit the formation of acrylamide." The team's ongoing experiments show that 10 to 15 minutes' immersion in lactic acid bacteria culture before cooking reduces acrylamide formation in the final product by roughly 90 per cent.
What effect LAB will have on the eating quality of fries made by the modified process has not been spelt out clearly. How far the modification will affect the continuous process of making fries is also an issue to be addressed by the industry while considering incorporation of the 15 min pretreatment step in the main process. Since maximum bacterial activity is obtained under optimum growing conditions and beyond the lag phase of growth, the 15 min process must have been based on an in vitro system where high density cell suspensions are used for eliciting the relevant enzyme activity to modify the constituents in the raw material responsible for Acrylamide reaction.V.H.POTTY