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Contribution of mass spectrometry to the study of the Maillard reaction in food

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Abstract

The Maillard reaction or non-enzymatic browning corresponds to a set of reactions occurring between amines and carbonyl compounds, especially reducing sugars. The Maillard reaction is known to occur in heated, dried, or stored foods and in vivo in mammalian organisms. In food, the Maillard reaction is responsible for changes in colour, flavor, and nutritive value but also for the formation of stabilizing and mutagenic compounds. Because of the complexity of the Maillard reaction, mass spectrometry, coupled or not to separation techniques, is a key tool in this research area and we will review in this article the contribution of mass spectrometry to the understanding of this reaction. Different steps of Maillard reaction will be described and the importance and the role played by mass spectrometry will be highlighted. In addition, different approaches to investigate the Maillard reaction from the formation of Amadori products (early Maillard reaction product) to the flavor and melanoidin production will also be covered. © 2004 Wiley Periodicals, Inc., Mass Spec Rev 24:487–507, 2005

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