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Reducing Dietary Acrylamide Exposure from Wheat Products through Crop Management and Imaging

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posted on 2023-02-06, 17:38 authored by Joseph Oddy, John Addy, Andrew Mead, Chris Hall, Chris Mackay, Tom Ashfield, Faye McDiarmid, Tanya Y. Curtis, Sarah Raffan, Mark Wilkinson, J. Stephen Elmore, Nicholas Cryer, Isabel Moreira de Almeida, Nigel G. Halford
The nutritional safety of wheat-based food products is compromised by the presence of the processing contaminant acrylamide. Reduction of the key acrylamide precursor, free (soluble, non-protein) asparagine, in wheat grain can be achieved through crop management strategies, but such strategies have not been fully developed. We ran two field trials with 12 soft (biscuit) wheat varieties and different nitrogen, sulfur, potassium, and phosphorus fertilizer combinations. Our results indicated that a nitrogen-to-sulfur ratio of 10:1 kg/ha was sufficient to prevent large increases in free asparagine, whereas withholding potassium or phosphorus alone did not cause increases in free asparagine when sulfur was applied. Multispectral measurements of plants in the field were able to predict the free asparagine content of grain with an accuracy of 71%, while a combination of multispectral, fluorescence, and morphological measurements of seeds could distinguish high free asparagine grain from low free asparagine grain with an accuracy of 86%. The acrylamide content of biscuits correlated strongly with free asparagine content and with color measurements, indicating that agronomic strategies to decrease free asparagine would be effective and that quality control checks based on product color could eliminate high acrylamide biscuit products.

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