2020 Undergraduate Research Showcase


Spectroscopic Determination of Acrylamide in Coffee

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. Certain foods that are cooked at elevated levels convert amino acids, such as Arginine, Asparagine, and Lysine, into acrylamide through the Maillard reaction. Foods such as potato chips, french fries, breakfast cereals, and coffee are required by Proposition 65 to be labeled as containing a suspected carcinogen. Near Infrared Spectroscopy (NIR) is an efficient, low cost, minimal sample prep spectroscopic method of detection that has the ability to be implemented in food chemistry labs. It is proposed that acrylamide can be detected using NIR. It was hypothesized that, with the increase of roasting temperatures of the coffee beans, there would be an increase in acrylamide production. Extraction of acrylamide was performed in light, medium, and dark roast coffee grounds. Standard addition of known concentrations of acrylamide solution in acetonitrile was performed and analyzed via NIR.

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