DSM Baking Enzymes, a division of Dutch chemicals firm DSM, has said it has developed a way of eliminating the cancer-causing chemical acrylamide from bakery products.

DSM said acrylamide reductions of more than 95% have already been achieved in a number of applications.

A multi-disciplined team from DSM applied genomics technology to degrade the free amino acid L-asparagine, the precursor to acrylamide, which was first detected at high levels in foods by Swedish researchers in April 2002.

Since acrylamide is formed from L-asparagine when food is processed at temperatures exceeding 1200C, DSM experts reasoned that converting L-asparagine in dough prior to baking would prevent acrylamide formation. 

The result was a significant reduction in acrylamide levels in end-products such as bread and Dutch honey cake, DSM said.  The company has filed a patent for the technology and is currently investigating its potential for application in other areas, including potato crisps.