Irradiation of potatoes at a sprout inhibition dose reduced acrylamide formation in potato chips and improved their colour, according to new research from India.
Scientists based at research institutes including the Institute of Chemical Technology and the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre in Mumbai found that the acrylamide content was nearly 7 per cent lower in potato chips (crisps) made from irradiated potatoes stored at 14°C and 4°C than the corresponding non-irradiated controls.
They reported their findings in the journal Food Chemistry.
Acrylamide is a neurotoxic compound, and probable carcinogen. It is found at significantly higher levels in carbohydrate-rich foods including potato chips, French fries and crisp bread. It has been shown to originate from the Maillard reaction of the amino acid asparagine with reducing sugars.
Gamma radiation is widely used to inhibit sprouting, extend the shelf life of potato and make it available during off season or lean period, said the authors.
The hypothesis behind the research was based on the fact that as sprouting increases the amount of reducing sugars in potatoes its subsequent inhibition would decrease the reducing sugars during storage, resulting in fried potato products with lower contents of acrylamide.