Enteral formulas are foods designed for medical uses to feed patients who are unable to eat normally. They are prepared by mixing proteins, amino acids, carbohydrates and fats and submitted to sterilization. During thermal treatment, the Maillard reaction takes place through the reaction of animo acids with reducing sugars. Thus, although glutamine and arginine are usually added to improve the nutritional value of enteral formulas, their final concentration may vary. Thus, in the present paper the early, intermediate, and advanced states of the Maillard reaction were studied in model systems by measuring loss of free amino acids through the decrease of fluorescence intensity with o
-phtaldialdehyde (OPA), 5-Hydroximethylfurfural (HMF), furfural, glucosylisomaltol, fluorescence, and absorbance at 420 nm. The systems were prepared by mixing glutamine or arginine with dextrinomaltose (similar ingredients to those used in special enteral formula), and heated at 100 °C, 120 °C and 140 °C for 0 to 30 min. The recorded changes in the concentration of furanic compounds was only useful for longer heating times of high temperatures, while absorbance and fluorescence measurements were useful in all the assayed conditions. In addition, easiness and sensitivity of absorbance and fluorescence make them useful techniques that could be implemented as indicators for monitoring the manufacture of special enteral formulas. Glucosylisomaltol is a useful indicator to monitor the manufacture of glutamine-enriched enteral formulas.
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