What is acrylamide?

Acrylamide is formed when the Asparagine molecule reacts with a reducing sugar in the presence of heat (<120oC). Due to this high temperature, it is found solely in the crust and the outer layers of the baked good. Acrylamide levels in bread is low as compared to potato products.4

Studies have shown that the use of antioxidants1 and asparaginase2 can reduce the levels of acrylamide. Extensive fermentation by yeast can also reduce acrylamide content.3


Asparagine (amino acid found in flour) is the precursor to Acrylamide. Its reaction with a reducing sugar, together with heat, forms Acrylamide. It’s formed through a Maillard reaction between the amino acid asparagine and a reducing sugar at temperatures above 120oC.


Chemical Structure of Acrylamide.

Chemical Structure of Acrylamide.

FDA Legal Requirement

Acrylamide has been under scrutiny since 2002.  Acrylamide in food is under surveillance by the FDA and the European Food Safety Authority (ALARA). FDA does not regulate the levels of Acrylamide. Although ALARA has established acrylamide levels in the bakery sector to 150ppb for soft bread and 500ppb for crisp bread.


Rye bread produces more acrylamide than whole wheat bread. While white bread produces the least acrylamide.5


  1. Hedegaard, Rikke Vingborg, Kit Granby, Henrik Frandsen, Jonas Thygesen, and Leif H. Skibsted. “Acrylamide in Bread. Effect of Prooxidants and Antioxidants.” European Food Research and Technology 227.2 (2008): 519-25.
  2. Kumar, N.S.M., Shimray, C.A., Indrani, D. and Manonmani, H.K. “Reduction of acrylamide formation in sweet bread with L-Asparaginase treatment”. Food and Bioprocess Technology 7.3 (2014): 741-748.
  3. Fredriksson, H., J. Tallving, J. Rosén, and P. Åman. “Fermentation Reduces Free Asparagine in Dough and Acrylamide Content in Bread.” Cereal Chemistry 81.5 (2004): 650-53.
  4. Mustafa A. “Acrylamide in Bread: Precursors, formation and reduction”. Doctoral thesis, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala. 2003.
  5. Capuano, Edoardo, Antonella Ferrigno, Iolanda Acampa, Arda Serpen, Özge Ç. Açar, Vural Gökmen, and Vincenzo Fogliano. “Effect of Flour Type on Maillard Reaction and Acrylamide Formation during Toasting of Bread Crisp Model Systems and Mitigation Strategies.” Food Research International 42.9 (2009): 1295-302.