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Determination of Furan Precursors and Some Thermal Damage Markers in Baby Foods: Ascorbic Acid, Dehydroascorbic Acid, Hydroxymethylfurfural and Furfural

Mesias-Garcia, Marta, Guerra-Hernandez, Eduardo, Garcia-Villanova, Belen
Journal of agricultural and food chemistry 2010 v.58 no.10 pp. 6027–6032
infant foods, furans, nutrient content, ascorbic acid, dehydroascorbic acid, food composition, furfural, fruit products, vegetable products, hydroxymethylfurfural, quantitative analysis, heat treatment, thermal degradation, nutritive value
The presence of ascorbic acid (AA), vitamin C (AA + dehydroascorbic acid (DHAA)) and furfural as potential precursors of furan in commercial fruit and vegetable jarred baby food was studied. Hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF) was also determined and used, together with furfural levels, as markers of thermal damage. AA, calculated DHAA and vitamin C values ranged between 22.4 and 103, 2.9 and 13.8, and 32.1 and 113.2 mg/100 g, respectively, in fruit-based baby food. However, no trace of AA was found in the vegetable-based baby food samples tested, probably because these samples are not enriched in vitamin C and the content of this vitamin in fresh vegetables is destroyed during processing. Furfural values ranged from not detected to 236 μg/100 g, being higher in vegetable samples than in fruit samples possibly because of greater AA degradation favored by a higher pH in the vegetable samples. HMF values (range: not detected−959 μg/100 g), however, were higher in the fruit samples, probably due to greater carbohydrate content degradation and as a consequence of the Maillard reaction, favored by a lower pH in these samples. According to these results, HMF would be the optimum indicator of thermal treatment for fruits, and furfural for vegetables. The higher furfural content of vegetable baby food could be considered an index of greater AA degradation and, therefore, the furan content might be higher in this kind of sample than in fruit-based baby food.