Acrylamide is a probable carcinogen found in processed potato products. The compound is formed at elevated temperatures by the Maillard reaction from two primary precursors - reducing sugars (fructose and glucose) and asparagine. Significant advances have been made in reducing acrylamide formation by selecting varieties with low precursor concentrations through conventional breeding or genetic modification techniques. However, acrylamide in many of the traditional varieties processed for fries or chips is sometimes found at elevated levels. Both agronomic and storage practices can significantly influence glucose, fructose, and asparagine concentrations and therefore the potential to form acrylamide during processing. This summary of a symposium presentation given at the 99th Annual Potato Association of American Meeting is to provide a general overview of previous studies that have examined the effects of agronomic factors such as nutrient and water management and storage factors such as temperature and duration on acrylamide precursors and/or acrylamide in processed potato products. A better understanding of how these factors affect acrylamide precursors is a first step in minimizing acrylamide formation during processing and improving the quality of processed potato products.
- Reducing sugars