The Maillard Reaction otherwise known as the browning reaction is observed in a lot of aspects of our daily lives. It is not only applicable in the food industry as it is also evident inside our bodies. It is also in the textile industry as well as soil science and pharmacology. Read on to find out the application of the Maillard reaction in the different aspects of our life.
First of all, the Maillard reaction is very evident in the cooking industry. It is responsible for the colors and flavors that the food we eat produce. The caramel from milk and sugar is brought about by the Maillard reaction. Even the browning of bread which makes is a toast is one of the products of the Maillard reaction. The brown color of maple syrup, chocolate, beer, and coffee are also due to the browning reaction. Even the flavor of roast meat is caused by the Maillard reaction. Dried or condensed milk is also due to Maillard reaction. In baking, substances undergoing the Maillard reaction cause the biscuit or cracker-like odor in bread, tortilla products, or popcorn. The aroma of cooked rice is also due to the Maillard reaction as well.
In soil science, it has been discovered that Maillard reaction products have been detected in decayed plant matter from an ancient Egypt archaeological site. Humic substances in soil undergo the Maillard reaction as well since it is believed that they are formed with the help of the process. Through the degradation of lignin and other compounds such as amino acids and proteins, aided by the maillard reaction, humic substances are formed.
In the textile industry, yellowing of white or pastel shaded textiles during transport or storage has been a dilemma. It is said that there are more than 20 possible causes of this yellowing effect. As a matter of fact, wool can be modified by the means of Maillard reaction through reducing sugars. This, in turn, causes browning in the fabric.
Even our tanning products are influenced by the Maillard reaction. Dihydroxyacetone, which is the main ingredient in artificial sun-tans, are chemically modified to cause browning to the skin even without sunlight. Sphagnum wound dressings are also affected by the Maillard reaction. This process causes the immobilization of bacterial cells, enzymes, exotoxins, and lysins.
Even in our bodies, the Maillard reaction is taking place and we just do not know it. Whenever reducing sugars and amino acids interact, Maillard reaction takes place. This happens in aging, the formation of cataracts, the development of diabetes, and the excretion of dialysis fluids.
Most of the instances where the Maillard reaction may be observed are the ones that we do not normally make a fuss about. Interestingly, there is a reason for everything and the Maillard reaction’s discovery is a major breakthrough in the world of science.