The problem of contaminants in common foods is not a new one, but the perception of it amongst consumers and regulators is increasing. Acrylamide, for example, which is a neurotoxin and probable carcinogen, must have been present in food since humans began to use cooking to make some foods more palatable and easier to consume, but its presence in foods was not discovered until 2002, when it was found in a variety of mainly plant-derived products that had been fried, baked or roasted. Acrylamide is formed as a result of the Maillard reaction, which involves the thermal degradation of amino acids in the presence of reducing sugars. While this reaction imparts qualities to food that consumers demand, such as colour and flavour, when asparagine participates in the final stages it results in the formation of acrylamide. Another group of undesirable contaminants, furans, are also products of sugar breakdown in the presence of amino acids in the Maillard reaction.
The food industry has developed a number of strategies for modifying processing methods to reduce the formation of these contaminants. However, it is important that further progress is made and this would be facilitated by reducing the levels of sugars and/or free asparagine and other amino acids in crop products. The contaminant problem is therefore a plant and agronomic science issue, as well as one of food processing.
This two-day focussed conference follows successful meetings on acrylamide held in 2006 and 2009, but has a wider remit to consider furans and other food-borne contaminants as well. It will bring together scientists from academia and industry to examine the issue from genetics and agronomy through to food processing. Papers arising from presentations and posters from the conference will be published in a volume of the Aspects of Applied Biology series. Copies will be sent to delegates after the conference.
Abstracts of papers can still be submitted by sending us the form on the call for posters (email to Russell@aab.org.uk or by mail to the AAB Office), or online via our web site at http://www.aab.org.uk. Click on CONFERENCES in the menu bar, then ABSTRACTS, then the title of the Conference. Once you have added your details and received confirmation of your password, you can upload your abstract. Please ensure your pop-up blocker is off, otherwise the file may not upload properly.
The deadline for papers has been extended to 30 September 2012. but full papers will be required by 8 October 2012.
Registration fees are as follows - Euro amounts are approximate, as the rate will be dependent on the exchange rate on the day the conference is booked:
AAB Members £150.00 (approx. 188.00)
AAB Retired Members £135.00 (approx. 170.00)
AAB Student Members £75.00 (approx. 94.00)
Non Members £205.00 (approx. 257.00)
Student Non Members £95.00 (approx. 120.00)
A list of local hotels can be found here