Maillard Reaction in Processed Foods—Reaction Mechanisms

  • Salvatore ParisiEmail author
  • Weihui Luo
Part of the SpringerBriefs in Molecular Science book series (BRIEFSMOLECULAR)


The ‘Maillard reaction’ is one of the most exciting research areas in the field industrial and artisanal food production. Many of the most known and marketed packaged foods in the current market may be correlated with Maillard reaction, especially when speaking of desired aroma, taste and colour modifications. In other words, the ‘non-enzymatic browning’ can be a distinctive advantage in certain situations, and an important challenge in other ambits, depending on two antithetical factors: the hedonistic expectations of common food consumers, and the demonstrated toxicity and undesired health effects of Maillard reaction products on the human being. Marketing and hedonistic desires on the one side, and health risks on the other side define the current situation with relation to Maillard reaction in foods. Processing operations can be classified and grouped in a few specific categories with relation to non-enzymatic browning in foods: ‘strong’, ‘possible’ or ‘exclusion of’ influence. This classification is chemically explained here by means of basic Maillard reaction steps, from the production of Amadori or Heyns compounds to the final melanoidins (and other intermediate products).


Acrylamide Advanced glycation end Amino compound 5-Hydroxymethylfurfural Maillard reaction Melanoidin Reducing sugar 



Advanced glycation end




Maillard reaction product


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Industrial ConsultantPalermoItaly
  2. 2.Kangdexin (KDX) Composite Material GroupShangaiChina

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