Sweet/umami Bitter



Sweet/sour formed mainly during food processing (eg, the fermentation of alcoholic beverages) or cooking (frying, roasting, boiling) by the Maillard reaction between amino acids and reducing sugars. The Strecker degradation of amino acids plays a central role in this process. It is often possible to assign certain aromas to specific amino acids. The sulfur-containing amino acid cysteine is primarily responsible for meaty flavors, proline produces the aroma of bread crust, and phenylalanine and branched amino acids provide the characteristic flavor of chocolate. Valine and leucine are involved in the aroma of roast nuts. Methionine plays a key role in the aroma of french fries. The flavors of such products as precooked foods, snacks, and spices may be improved by the addition of the proper Maillard aromas (17).

Other applications of amino acids in foods are listed in Table 6. Amino acids are used in the food manufacturing industry for purposes other than supplementation and flavoring. L-Cysteine is used in bread baking as a flour additive to relax wheat gluten proteins, improve the struc ture of the baked product, and allow shorter kneading times.

Melanoidines, which are formed through the Maillard reaction, are stronger antioxidants than amino acids themselves. Glycine apparently exhibits a special preservative effect.

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