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Free Radic Res. 2013 Aug;47(8):643-50. doi: 10.3109/10715762.2013.812206. Epub 2013 Jun 28.

Formation of radicals during heating lysine and glucose in solution with an intermediate water activity.

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Department of Food Science, Food Chemistry, University of Copenhagen, Frederiksberg C, Denmark.


Heating glucose with lysine under alkaline conditions (pH 7.0-10.0) was found to take place with consumption of oxygen together with formation of brown-colored compounds. Highly reactive intermediary radicals were detected when lysine and glucose were heated at intermediate water activity at pH 7.0 and 8.0. The detection was based on initial trapping of highly reactive radicals by ethanol followed by spin trapping of 1-hydroxyethylradicals with α-(4-pyridyl N-oxide)-N-tert-butylnitrone (POBN) and Electron Spin Resonance (ESR) spectroscopy. The generation of reactive intermediary radicals from the Maillard reactions was favored by enhancing alkaline conditions (pH 8.0) and stimulated by presence of the transition metal ion Fe²⁺. The stability of the nitrone spin traps, N-tert-butyl-α-phenylnitrone and POBN was examined in buffered aqueous solutions within the pH range 1-12, and found to be less temperature dependent at acidic pH compared to alkaline conditions. A low rate (kobs) of hydrolysis of POBN was found at the used experimental conditions of 70°C and pH 7.0 and 8.0, which made this spin trap method suitable for the detection of radicals in the Maillard reaction system.

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