Food Safety is a Critical Aspect of Food Security: Reducing the Acrylamide-forming Potential of Wheat, Potato and Rye
Conference Recording Dec 12, 2013
About the SpeakerProfessor Nigel Halford is a Research Leader at Rothamsted Research, the UK’s largest and oldest crop and agricultural research centre. Professor Halford obtained his first degree from the University of Liverpool in 1983 and a Masters degree from University College London in 1984. He studied the genes encoding a family of wheat seed proteins for his PhD while at Rothamsted in the 1980s, then spent 11 years at Long Ashton Research Station near Bristol before returning to Rothamsted in 2002.AbstractAcrylamide was discovered in a range of plant-derived popular foods in 2002. It is classified by the WHO as ‘probably carcinogenic to humans’; it also has neurological and reproductive effects at high doses. The FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives has recommended that dietary exposure should be reduced and the European Food Safety Authority issued ‘indicative’ levels for acrylamide in food in early 2011. Acrylamide forms during high-temperature cooking and processing and its precursors are free asparagine and reducing sugars. The presentation will describe projects aimed at reducing the acrylamide-forming potential of wheat, rye and potato. These projects involve collaborations with public and private sector organisations and address the following objectives: Identification of varieties and genotypes with low acrylamide-forming potential; development of a comprehensive understanding of asparagine metabolism (modelling); elucidation of the genetic and environmental factors (including crop management) that affect acrylamide-forming potential; understanding of the relationship between precursor concentration and acrylamide formation; and identification of QTL, genes and markers for low free asparagine concentration. The goal is to improve our knowledge of the genetic, agronomic and storage factors that affect acrylamide-forming potential in these important crops, and provide breeders with the tools to produce new, low acrylamide risk varieties.