Monday, May 24, 2021

Strecker degradation: Contribution to food flavor

The reaction of an α-amino acid with an oxidation reagent to give carbon dioxide and an aldehyde containing one carbon atom less is known as Strecker degradation.

In 1862, Adolph Strecker encountered an unexpected reaction of a-amino acids which has since proven to be a rich source of novel food flavor compounds.

The Strecker degradation plays an important role in the formation of flavor compounds in processed foods. The importance of Strecker degradation lies in its ability to produce Strecker aldehydes and 2-aminocarbonyl compounds, both are critical intermediates in the generation of aromas during Maillard reaction, however, they can also be formed independently of the pathways established for Strecker degradation.

In raw foods, there are a large number of free amino acids and sugars. α-Amino acids can be the reactants in the Maillard reaction, or alternatively, they can undergo a Strecker degradation reaction. This reaction converts α-amino acids into aldehydes. α-Amino acids have both a carboxylic acid group and an amine group on the α-carbon, and an R group is typically used to indicate a side chain.

The Strecker degradation provides a relatively low energy route for mobilizing amino acids’ nitrogen and sulfur to form ammonia, hydrogen sulfide and many flavor-significant S/N/O-containing heterocyclic compounds.
Strecker degradation: Contribution to food flavor

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