Maillard reaction

The Maillard reaction is one of the most common and most complex reaction that takes place mainly in foods.

The Maillard reaction has been named after the French chemist Louis Camille Maillard (1878–1936) who initially described it. He observed the formation of yellow-brown pigments in the reaction among sugars and amino acids, polypeptides, or proteins; and among polysaccharides and polypeptides, or proteins, in a heated solution.

This led to the discovery of the browning reaction, which is now more commonly known as the Maillard reaction. Two types of browning are normally observed in foods, namely enzymatic and non-enzymatic browning. The Maillard reaction is a type of non-enzymic browning which involves the reaction of carbonyl compounds, especially reducing sugars, with compounds which possess a free amino group, such as amino acids, amines and proteins.

Hodge in 1953 first described the steps involved in Maillard reaction products (MRPs), also known as advanced glycation end-products (AGEs), formation.

Maillard reactions lead to changes in food color, organoleptic properties, protein functionality, and protein digestibility. The Maillard reaction occurs on heating or on prolonged storage and is one of the deteriorative processes that take place in stored foods.

The sugar component must contain a reactive carbonyl group (reducing sugar) and amino acids may be present in foods either as free or as part of a protein. Apart from resulting in nutritional damage, the Maillard reaction is also primarily responsible for the development of aroma and color, which may be desirable or undesirable, in heated foods.

Maillard reaction can also take place in living organisms. It has been reported that some maillard reaction products particularly melanoidins have beneficial effects on health such as antioxidative and antibiotic effects.
Maillard reaction

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