Food Analysis Blog

Measuring total sugar in potatoes using mobile reflectometry

Who doesn’t love golden, hot French fries or a steaming baked potato? In fried or baked goods, much of the savory taste and aroma can be attributed to the Maillard reaction. It is what creates the brown compounds that give many cooked foods this flavour. Unfortunately, the reaction between asparagine and reducing sugars (e.g., fructose or glucose) can also produce acrylamide, which is considered toxic and potentially carcinogenic: In the body, acrylamide is converted into glycidamide, which can bind to DNA and cause mutations. High levels of acrylamide can be found in starchy foods, such as potatoes and bread, when cooked at temperatures over 120 °C. This potentially dangerous acrylamide formation can be minimized by ensuring that the levels of reducing sugars are within safe limits, thereby ensuring the quality and nutritional value in processed food.

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Reflectometry, or remission photometry, is a rapid, sensitive method for quantitating a wide variety of organic and inorganic parameters in water, food, beverages, and environmental samples. Using test strips in combination with a reflectometer, readings can be taken in the laboratory, on the production line, or in the field. The total free sugar in potatoes can be determined in minutes with the simple Reflectoquant® Total Sugar Test and the RQflex® 20 reflectometer.

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