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The Chemical Educator

ISSN: 1430-4171 (electronic version)

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Abstract Volume 18 (2013) pp 009-017
DOI 10.1007/s00897132456a

The Centenary of the Maillard Reaction

George B. Kauffman*and Jean-Pierre Adloff

Department of Chemistry, California State University, Fresno, Fresno, CA 93740-8034,; Honorary Professor, Université de Strasbourg, Strasbourg, France F-67100,

Published: 26 January 2013

Abstract. The International Maillard Reaction Society (IMARS) gathers from around the globe researchers and clinicians involved in the field of carbonyl reactions in foods, biology, and medicine. The 11th or Centennial Symposium was held on September 16–20, 2012 at the Université de Lorraine in Nancy, France. It coincided with the centenary of Maillard’s report to the Académie des Sciences commonly cited as the “Maillard Reaction.” Louis Camille Maillard (1878–1936) was hardly known in scientific circles when he discovered by chance that amino acids heated in the presence of sugars form a complex mixture of molecules responsible for a range of smells and savors. The “Maillard Reaction” was largely forgotten until 1953 when John E. Hodge of the U.S. Department of Agriculture established its mechanism. According to Nobel chemistry laureate Jean-Marie Lehn, “The Maillard is, by far, the most widely practiced chemical reaction in the world.” The Maillard dynasty, Maillard’s life and career as well as the Maillard Reaction, Hodge’s interpretation of its mechanism and its intended and unintended (harmful) consequences are discussed.

Key Words: Chemistry and History; food chemistry; anniversaries; maillard reaction; browning reactions; african-american chemists; symposia; french chemistry; organic chemistry; odors and flavors; processing of foods; rearrangements; amino acids; sugars; carcinogens; unintended consequences.

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