Tuesday, January 23, 2007 by: Ben Kage
(NaturalNews) A study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry shows that the formation of acrylamides in foods like potato chips and french fries may be reduced by an antioxidant-rich bamboo leaf extract.
Acrylamides are chemical compounds that are thought to be carcinogenic, and form in foods that are high in carbohydrates -- through a process known as the Maillard reaction -- when they are fried, roasted or baked at high temperatures.
In previous studies, flavonoid mixtures were found to reduce acrylamide formation in foods by up to 50 percent, so researchers from Zhejiang University in Hangzhou, China decided to test the effects of a bamboo extract rich in flavonoids, lactones and phenolic acids. The pale brown bamboo extract powder -- which had been proven safe to consume in other studies -- was mixed into a solution while a number of potato chips and french fries were split into two groups. The first group was submerged in the bamboo solution for six different periods of time ranging from five to 600 seconds, while the second group was immersed in distilled water for the same periods of time as a control.
The reduction of acrylamide formation in the bamboo group ranged from 2.1 percent to 76.1 percent, with sixty seconds being the optimum level for acrylamide decline for both potato chips and french fries. For potato chips, the optimum bamboo extract solution was 0.1 percent and reduced acrylamide production by 74.1 percent, and for french fries, the best solution level was 0.01 percent, causing a 76.1 decline in acrylamide production.
A slight reduction in acrylamide levels was also found in the control group, proportionate to the increase in the amount of time the potato products were submerged in the distilled water. The scientists theorize this could be because of the increased moisture of the products, or because the acrylamide precursors are leaching from the chips and fries into the water.
From the data, the scientists concluded the antioxidants in bamboo leaf extract are able to reduce acrylmide formation in potato products if they are soaked in the extract for 60 seconds before cooking.
The scientists plan to conduct another study to determine the mechanism by which the antioxidants reduce acrylamide formation, and to find out whether the extract will work on other foods that are traditionally fried, roasted or baked.