Caramelization. Caramelization is one of the most important types of browning processes in foods, together with Maillard reactions and enzymatic browning. As the process occurs, volatile chemicals such as diacetyl are released, producing the characteristic caramel flavor. Like the Maillard reaction, caramelization is a type of non-enzymatic browning. However, unlike the Maillard reaction, caramelization is pyrolytic, as opposed to being a reaction with amino acids.‎Effects on caramelization · ‎Uses in food. What is the difference between the Maillard reaction and caramelization? Please click here to read a quick review on biochemistry: proteins.


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Eventually, extremely large molecules called melanoidin pigments are created.

These are the molecules that produce brown pigments and caramelization reaction flavors to the food. Of course, the Maillard reaction also depends on the temperature and cooking method.


If you have ever boiled chicken, you know that the caramelization reaction never browns. The reason is because the Maillard reaction occurs when the surface temperature exceeds degrees F.

However, the surface temperature of food cooked in boiling water never exceeds degrees F.

The Maillard Reaction and Caramelization | Molecular Gastronomy Adventure

But the recipe for a simple caramel sauce only calls for sugar and water. Caramelization reaction is white sugar transformed into this brown delight?

The sugar molecules break down and caramelization reaction flavor, color, and aroma compounds are formed. Although the Maillard reaction has been studied most extensively in foods, it has also shown a correlation in numerous different diseases in the human body, in particular degenerative eye diseases.

In general, these diseases are due to caramelization reaction accumulation of AGEs on nucleic acidsproteinsand lipids. Though AGEs have numerous origins, they can form from the oxidation and dehydration of Amadori adducts, which themselves are products of nonenzymatic Maillard reactions.

What is Caramelization?

Apart from ocular diseases, whose correlation with Maillard chemistry has been more caramelization reaction studied, the formation of AGEs has also proven to contribute to a wide range of human diseases that include diabetic complicationspulmonary fibrosisand neurodegeneration.

Receptor systems in the body have been suggested to have evolved to remove glycation-modified molecules, such as AGEs, to eliminate their effects. Advanced glycation in numerous different locations within the eye can prove detrimental.

In the corneawhose endothelial cells have been known to express RAGE and galectin-3, the accumulation of AGEs is associated with thickened corneal stroma, corneal edema, and morphological changes within patients with diabetes. Within the lens, Maillard chemistry has been studied extensively in the context of cataract formation.

A large number of furan and pyran compounds are formed. A large number of furan have a nutty aroma caramelization reaction pyran compounds are produced Fig.

Maillard reaction

The formation of these compounds can be explained by enolizations and dehydrating reactions of carbohydrates mechanisms are shown in Fig. The reaction pathway in acidic conditions starts slowly with enolization to key intermediates called enediols.

caramelization reaction

Glucose, for example, reacts to form 1,2-enediol and fructose gives rise to 2,3-enediol. These enediols further react to produce 5-hydroxymethyl furfural HMF and 2-hydroxyacetyl furan respectively.

The steps for the production of HMF from 1,2-enediol involves elimination of water retro-Michael addition at C-3 and subsequently at C-4 and cyclization of the intermediate produced to caramelization reaction hemiacetal which releases another water molecule to produce HMF Fig.

Formation of HMF from the intermediate 1,2-Enediol after water elimination and subsequent cyclization The steps for the production of 2-hydroxyacetyl furan from 2,3-enediol produced from fructose involve water elimination at C-4 followed by a second water eleimination at C