2020 Undergraduate Research Showcase

Document Type

Student Presentation

Presentation Date


Faculty Sponsor

Dr. Owen McDougal


Acrylamide is a suspected carcinogen required to be listed on food labels in California and products commercially traded within the European Union. Foods like potato products, coffee, cereals, etc., are produced at high temperatures, which provide conditions that convert the amino acids, Asn, Arg and Lys, in combination with reducing sugars, into acrylamide via the Maillard reaction. Current methods to detect and quantitate acrylamide in food are complicated, time consuming, and dependent on expensive scientific instrumentation. The purpose of this study is to establish a simple and fast standard method for the quantitative detection of acrylamide in food using Fourier transform near infrared (FT-NIR) spectrometry. Analysis will be conducted upon fryer oil to monitor free fatty acids, total polar materials, p-anisidine, and triglycerides. All of these compounds will be analyzed using FT-NIR, but other standard methods will be required to analyze unique characteristics of each compound. These results will be analyzed to determine oil degradation factors that potentially contribute to acrylamide production. Acrylamide extractions from potato products will be monitored by FT-NIR and the results validated using gas chromatography mass spectrometry. This method will provide a fast and economical alternative to traditional food safety and security industry standards.