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J Agric Food Chem. 2003 Sep 24;51(20):5946-9.

Ionizing radiation induces formation of malondialdehyde, formaldehyde, and acetaldehyde from carbohydrates and organic acid.

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Eastern Regional Research Center, Agricultural Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Wyndmoor, PA 19038, USA.


A study was conducted to investigate irradiation-induced formation of malondialdehyde (MDA), formaldehyde (FA), and acetaldehyde (ACT) from fructose, sucrose, glucose, and malic acid solutions. MDA and FA were generated from the carbohydrate solutions upon irradiation while little was formed from malic acid solution. On the other hand, a much higher amount of ACT was formed from malic acid than from the carbohydrate solutions. The G values (number of molecules formed per 100 eV radiation) for MDA were 0.042, 0.0066, and 0.0026 from 0.9 mg mL(-1) fructose, sucrose, and glucose solutions at pH 3.5, respectively. The G values for FA formation were 0.134, 0.233, and 0.0081 from the fructose, sucrose, and glucose solutions, respectively. As concentration of sugars in solutions increased from 0 to 90 mg mL(-1), the formation of these compounds increased rapidly. A further increase in sugar concentration from 90 to 900 mg mL(-1) resulted in a lower rate of increase in MDA and FA formation. pH had a profound effect on the irradiation-induced formation of these compounds from carbohydrates, especially on MDA formation. The minimum amount of MDA from fructose and glucose solutions was observed at pH 5 while formation of MDA from sucrose solution decreased as pH decreased from 7 to 2. The results can be used by the food industry to optimize food formulation in order to minimize formation of these compounds.

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