2021 Undergraduate Research Showcase

Document Type

Student Presentation

Presentation Date


Faculty Sponsor

Dr. Owen McDougal


This study investigates the inhibition of the Group 2A carcinogen and neurotoxin acrylamide production through pulsed electric field (PEF) treatment of sweet potatoes. Acrylamide is formed via Maillard reaction from reducing sugars and asparagine during the processing of fried, roasted, and baked foods. Corporations whose food products are processed in this way are investigating treatment options that reduce acrylamide concentrations. PEF treated foods show compromised cell integrity, which allows for asparagine and reducing sugars to be extracted more efficiently through rinsing. The purpose of this study is in the quantification of these acrylamide precursors, asparagine and reducing sugars, which are analyzed to provide evidence for the advantages of PEF treatment. Samples of sweet potato samples, subjected to PEF treatment at ranges of 0.5-2.0 kJ, and water used in the rinsing process have shown substantial decreases in concentrations of reducing sugars and asparagine. Fructose and glucose have been analyzed by high pressure liquid chromatography with charged aerosol detection(HPLC-CAD) and PEF related reductions in asparagine were monitored by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS).



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