During the roasting of cocoa beans chemical reactions lead to the formation of Maillard reaction (MR) products and to the degradation of catechin-containing compounds, which are very abundant in these seeds. To study the modifications occurring during thermal treatment of fat and antioxidant rich foods, such as cocoa, a dry model system was set up and roasted at 180 °C for different times. The role played in the formation of MR products and in the antioxidant activity of the system by proteins, catechin, and cocoa butter was investigated by varying the model system formulation. Results showed that the antioxidant activity decreased during roasting, paralleling catechin concentration, thus suggesting that this compound is mainly responsible for the antioxidant activity of roasted cocoa beans. Model system browning was significantly higher in the presence of catechin, which contributed to the formation of water-insoluble melanoidins, which are mainly responsible for browning. HMF concentration was higher in casein-containing systems, and its formation was strongly inhibited in the presence of catechin. No effects related to the degree of lipid oxidation could be observed. Data from model systems obtained by replacing fat with water showed a much lower rate of MR development and catechin degradation but the same inhibitory effect of catechin on HMF formation.
- maillard reaction-products