Early and advanced stages of Maillard reaction in infant formulas: Analysis of available lysine and carboxymethyl-lysine
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Although the literature on the Maillard reaction in infant formulas is extensive, most studies have focused on model systems, and in only a few cases on real food systems. Therefore, the objective of the present study was to determine the status of the Maillard reaction, both the early and advanced phases, in a variety of commercial infant formulas available on the Swedish market. Ten powder and liquid milk-based infant formulas from three manufacturers were selected to determine available lysine and CML contents, the two established indicators of the reaction. The products were also characterized with respect to protein content, carbohydrates composition, water content and water activity. In order to be able to compare the impact of different processing steps applied on powder and liquid formulas, the solid formulas contained similar ingredients as their corresponding liquid ones. Our findings showed that powder and liquid formulas contained similar available lysine concentrations regardless of the manufacturer, showing 27.14–36.57% decrease in the available lysine, compared to the reference skim milk powder in this study. The CML concentrations were in a broad range of 68.77–507.99 mg/kg protein. In the case of one manufacturer, liquid infant formulas had significantly higher CML content, compared to the powder products (p < 0.05). The results from this study are a step taken towards better understanding of the extent of the Maillard reaction in real complex systems of infant formulas.