Heating of foods is a process that is normally done to improve the safety and digestibility and improve the sensory attributes like texture, color, and aroma. During heating reactions occur that lead the degradation of nutritive constituents like carbohydrates, proteins, amino acids, and lipids. Some of the reaction products are highly toxic and/or carcinogenic. However, these hazardous compounds occur in rather low concentrations being normally not acute toxic. The substances have a very diverse chemical background like heterocyclic amines, polycondensated aromatic compounds, acrylamide, furan derivatives. We investigate the reaction mechanisms that lead to the formation of these hazardous compounds and establish strategies to mitigate the formation and thereby reducing the alimentary exposure.
In addition, the influence of antioxidants like polyphenols or carotenoids on the formation of these hazardous chemicals is investigated. Oxidation of foods can also lead to substances with a toxic potential. The formation of these oxidized food constituents can be reduced by the use of antioxiidants which also results in a reduced exposure minimizing the health risk.