Browning Meat: Really Maillard Reaction?

March 25, 2010 on 12:01 pm | Written by: | In Uncategorized | 1 Comment

After reading the article from the Washington Post, I was slightly confused. Caramelization is a reaction between sugar molecules, while the Maillard reaction is a reaction between sugar and amino acids. In the article, it said that cooking or searing meat was a Maillard reaction, but there was no sugar in meat. The carboxyl group acts as a sugar, but it is not a sugar….so how it this a Maillard reaction? Even though there is no “pure” sugar in bread, coffee beans, and cacao beans, they contain starches, which are basically sugars. I can understand how the cooking of these foods is a Maillard reaction, but not meat. So is the Maillard reaction really a reaction with amino acids/ proteins and any molecule that has the same or similar make-up as sugars?

1 Comment

  1. There is some natural sugar in most food. From what I understand meat does contain some sugars. When you brown meat, the brown color is the sugar in the meat caramelizing. The level of sugar in meat is very low though.

    Comment by mpacious — March 27, 2010 #

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