Acrylamide absorption not influenced by food type, suggests rat study

By Nathan Gray

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Acrylamide, Carcinogen

New research has suggested that acrylamide formed in different types of food has the same levels of up take in the body.

The study, published in Molecular Nutrition & Food Research​, investigated the effects different food matrix on the bioavailability of acrylamide to see if the type of food acrylamide is in affects its absorption in the body.

The researchers, led by Franz Ingo Berger, from Division of Food Chemistry and Toxicology at the University of Kaiserslautern in Germany, found no significant differences for the three food matrix they tested – bread, fried potato, and gingerbread – when compared to a positive control of acrylamide in water.

They said that more mechanism-based research is needed in order to better assess and understand the effects of acrylamide in low dose ranges corresponding to dietary intake.

Carcinogenic effect

Acrylamide has been classified as ‘probably carcinogenic to humans.’ In foods it is formed when asparagine breaks down in the presence of reducing sugars, in a process known as the Maillard reaction.

The carcinogen is suggested to have genotoxic activity through the metabolic transformation into the genotoxic metabolite glycidamide – which is known to be mutagenic in bacteria and mammalian cells.

Previous research has shown that acrylamide doses in the range of 36–54mg per kg body weight given to rats induce significant DNA damage in leukocytes, brain and testes. However, Berger and colleagues said that very little data exists at present on bioavailability of acrylamide from foods.

“A prime question addressed in this study was to determine whether specific food matrices affect bioavailability and biological activity of acrylamide in rats,” ​they said.

Study details

The authors reported that acrylamide induced adduct levels increased in a near linear fashion with time of exposure, and thus with cumulative dose, in the repeated feeding study for all acrylamide food matrix.

They said that no significant differences in bioavailability of acrylamide from water and the different food matrices were observed, but noted that very slightly reduced bioavailability was seen in bread crust.

The total amount of acrylamide-related compounds excreted via urine was reported to be in the range of 35–81 per cent of the administered dose. Berger and co workers said that this indicated that “a considerable proportion of the applied dose remains unaccounted for in the metabolic balance.”

However, they concluded that their results indicate that total uptake of food-borne acrylamide and internal bioavailability “is not substantially influenced by the food matrix.”

The authors warned that their results may be difficult to translate into data for humans, as several other studies have indicated that humans may be more proficient in detoxification reactions. They said that future research also needs to include advanced physiologically based modelling, “to approach, as closely as possible, human intake levels.”

Source: Molecular Nutrition & Food Research
Published online ahead of print, doi: 10.1002/mnfr.201000234
“Biological effects of acrylamide after daily ingestion of various foods in comparison to water: A study in rats”
Authors: F.I. Berger, J. Feld, D. Bertow, G. Eisenbrand, G. Fricker, N. Gerhardt, K.H. Merz, E. Richling, M. Baum

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