[Maerk2006] "Quantitation of furan and methylfuran formed in different precursor systems by proton transfer reaction mass spectrometry.",
J Agric Food Chem
, vol. 54, no. 7: NestlÃ© Research Center, Vers-chez-les-Blanc, 1000 Lausanne 26, Switzerland., pp. 2786–2793, Apr, 2006.
Furan has recently received attention as a possibly hazardous compound occurring in certain thermally processed foods. Previous model studies have revealed three main precursor systems producing furan upon thermal treatment, i.e., ascorbic acid, Maillard precursors, and polyunsaturated lipids. We employed proton transfer reaction mass spectrometry (PTR-MS) as an on-line monitoring technique to study furan formation. Unambiguous identification and quantitation in the headspace was achieved by PTR-MS/gas chromatography-mass spectrometry coupling. Ascorbic acid showed the highest potential to generate furan, followed by glyceryl trilinolenate. Some of the reaction samples generated methylfuran as well, such as Maillard systems containing alanine and threonine as well as lipids based on linolenic acid. The furan yields from ascorbic acid were lowered in an oxygen-free atmosphere (30%) or in the presence of reducing agents (e.g., sulfite, 60%), indicating the important role of oxidation steps in the furan formation pathway. Furthermore, already simple binary mixtures of ascorbic acid and amino acids, sugars, or lipids reduced furan by 50-95%. These data suggest that more complex reaction systems result in much lower furan amounts as compared to the individual precursors, most likely due to competing reaction pathways.