AcrylamideThe harmful substance acrylamide causes quite a stir. Also in coffee, the browning product can be found, its share, however, can be influenced.
Acrylamide in Roasted Coffee
Acrylamide is a subject that has been preoccupying us in the coffee sector for several years now. Depending on the publication or new test results the discussion about it is more or less intensive. In the meantime also the Federation has determined a signal value for acrylamide. For roasted coffee it is at 370 µg/kg. Acrylamide is an acrylic acid derivate, a substance with a similar structure like acrylic acid. It has been examined in the year 2002 by Swedish researchers in heat processed products. They also examined its cancer-causing effect. According to this study acrylamide can change the DNA.
This is how acrylamide is created.
If substances containing starch are strongly heated, the Maillard reaction creates acrylamide. This reaction is also called caramelisation reaction. It is responsible for the browning of food stuff. If a product possesses the amino acid asparagine and sugar, which is the case for coffee, it is possible that if it is heated acrylamide is created. Asparagine and reducing sugar can react to acrylamide at high temperatures and low water content. It is nevertheless possible to influence the share of the harmful substance and thus to reduce it. Under continuous heat treatment the share of acrylamide is again reduced by further reaction.
Examinations with regard to acrylamide.
The behaviour of the acrylamide in coffee has already been examined in detail by the German coffee association. As this subject, however, is again and again pushed into public by new examinations, many companies of the coffee sector in the meantime have carried out own investigations. Among others also the company Neuhaus Neotec. In collaboration with the scientific institute Jörissen and a coffee roastery extensive tests and examinations have been carried out in the company Neuhaus Neotec on an industrial line in the technical centre at Neuhaus Neotec with regard to the behaviour and the reduction of acrylamide. Together it was thus possible to reduce the concentration of acrylamide of the concerned coffee roastery by more than 20%.
Reduction of the harmful substance.
In the meantime some possibilities are known to reduce the share of acrylamide. It can be reduced by means of roasting period, roasting colour, storing period etc. All these parameters, however, also influence the taste of the final product! Therefore a sensitive optimisation of several influencing parameters has to be carried out, in order to finally achieve the aim to reduce the share of acrylamide without essential influence on the taste. Therefore each parameter has to be examined and adapted individually in order to in sum achieve a success. In this optimisation process Neuhaus Neotec also counts on the RFB-roasting system (rotation fluidised bed roaster), which contributes to the reduction of acrylamide by its flexibility and its heat transmission behaviour.
How harmful is acrylamide?
Finally it has to be mentioned that up to now nearly exclusively the effect of acrylamide on the organism has been examined. What is not known, however, are the protecting measures the human body eventually has developed against it. Finally mankind has been frying, baking and roasting for centuries. The medical university of Hannover observes in a study that in the case of people who more often eat acrylamide containing food stuffs, only an irrelevantly higher acrylamide level can be found in the body.