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Food Addit Contam Part A Chem Anal Control Expo Risk Assess. 2014;31(2):226-33. doi: 10.1080/19440049.2013.871584. Epub 2014 Feb 13.

N,N-dimethylpiperidinium (mepiquat): Part 1. Formation in model systems and relevance to roasted food products.

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  • 1a Nestlé Research Centre, Vers-chez-les-Blanc , CH-1000 Lausanne 26, Switzerland.


This preliminary study reports for the first time the formation of N,N-dimethylpiperidinium (also termed mepiquat, a plant growth regulator used widely on cereal crops) by Maillard-driven degradation of lysine under dry thermal conditions and in the presence of the naturally occurring alkaloid trigonelline. The heat treatment was carried out at 240°C, and the resulting samples were analysed by liquid chromatography coupled to a high-resolution mass spectrometer (LC-HRMS) operating based upon Orbitrap technology. Results confirmed that lysine undergoes cyclisation by decarboxylative deamination in the presence of a carbonyl source (e.g. reducing sugars) to yield piperidine. Moreover, methyl rearrangement in the presence of trigonelline and under typical temperatures of roasting generates detectable amounts of mepiquat, identified by detailed mass fragmentation studies. The essential role of lysine in the formation of mepiquat was confirmed in a model system using (13)C₆-lysine, which showed the expected incorporation of five (13)C atoms into the mepiquat nitrogen heterocycle. These findings are relevant to the potential occurrence of mepiquat in roasted products such as coffee and cereals.

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