UCARE: Undergraduate Creative Activities & Research Experiences


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University of Nebraska-Lincoln, UCARE, Spring 2016 Research Fair Poster.


Copyright © 2016 Amy Hauver & P. S. Baenziger & M. Guttieri


Acrylamide, a chemical formed from free asparagine and reducing sugars during high-temperature cooking via the Maillard reaction (i.e. frying or baking) of high starch foods is deemed ‘probably carcinogenic to humans’ based on its affect in mice. In April of 2002, a group of Swedish researchers reported findings that presented evidence that heat-treated, starch-rich foods contained high levels of acrylamide, later linking the production of acrylamide to the Maillard reaction. A number of other studies have been done to link dietary intake of acrylamide to human cancers and other health effects, although many have had inconclusive results. Nevertheless, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Expert Committee on Food Additives has advised that dietary intake and exposure to acrylamide be reduced. It has been well established that the free amino acid, asparagine, is an important precursor for acrylamide production. The long-term objectives of this study were to reduce the level of free asparagine produced in wheat grain and correspondingly reduce the potential for acrylamide formation in wheat products.The short-term objectives of this study were to generate genetic stocks and DNA markers to evaluate the potential utilization of knockout mutants for asparagine synthetase genes.