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amino acids and sugar and discover the range of aromas released!
CAUTION Kids, please don't try this at home without the help of
an adult. The corn syrup can get very hot, very quickly.
Do I Need?
pure corn syrup
The Maillard reaction,
also known as the browning reaction, is what makes self-tanning
amino acid caplets (available at health-food stores)
a nonstick skillet
mitts or hot pads
Do I Do?
about a teaspoon of corn syrup in the nonstick skillet.
one of the amino acid caplets and smell the powder inside. Does
it have a distinctive odor?
the amino acid powder into the corn syrup in the skillet.
the heat to high.
the skillet back and forth to better disperse the powder as
the corn syrup/amino acid mixture heats up and liquefies.
Do you smell a distinctive odor as the mixture heats up? Do
you notice more than one odor as the mixture continues heating?
What color is the heated mixture?
the amino acids and sugars are heated, they interact with each
other in a phenomenon known as the Maillard
reaction. The molecules of the amino acids and sugars combine
to form new aromas and flavors. The Maillard reaction is also
responsible for the brown color of cooked foods. It normally
occurs at very high temperatures, but if there is a high concentration
of sugars and amino acids, then it will occur at lower temperatures.
The Maillard reaction gives toast its distinctive flavor, beer
its distinctive color, and self-tanning products the power to
turn skin brown. It is responsible for literally hundreds of
flavor compounds, and is used to make artificial maple syrup.
& Discuss What did you smell when you cooked the amino acid caplets?
Take notes during the activity and tell us
your results !
Else Can I Try?
mixing different amino acids together and see what aromas
tasting the Maillard concoctions. Do this with friends and
see what different odors each friend smells. Have each friend
write down what they smell and do a poll at the end.