Chemical Stability of Proteins in Foods: Oxidation and the Maillard Reaction

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Protein is a major nutrient present in foods along with carbohydrates and lipids. Food proteins undergo a wide range of modifications during food production, processing, and storage. In this review, we discuss two major reactions, oxidation and the Maillard reaction, involved in chemical modifications of food proteins. Protein oxidation in foods is initiated by metal-, enzyme-, or light-induced processes. Food protein oxidation results in the loss of thiol groups and the formation of protein carbonyls and specific oxidation products of cysteine, tyrosine, tryptophan, phenylalanine, and methionine residues, such as disulfides, dityrosine, kynurenine, m-tyrosine, and methionine sulfoxide. The Maillard reaction involves the reaction of nucleophilic amino acid residues with reducing sugars, which yields numerous heterogeneous compounds such as α-dicarbonyls, furans, Strecker aldehydes, advanced glycation end-products, and melanoidins. Both protein oxidation and the Maillard reaction result in the loss of essential amino acids but may positively or negatively impact food structure and flavor. Expected final online publication date for the Annual Review of Food Science and Technology, Volume 13 is March 2022. Please see for revised estimates.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAnnual review of food science and technology
Pages (from-to)35-58
Publication statusPublished - 2022

ID: 288205696