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Zhang G.,University of California at Davis | Huang G.,California Almond Board | Xiao L.,University of California at Davis | Seiber J.,University of California at Davis | Mitchell A.E.,University of California at Davis
Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry | Year: 2011

Acrylamide is a probable human carcinogen that is found in many roasted and baked foods. This paper describes two sensitive and reliable LC-(ESI)MS/MS methods for the analysis of (1) acrylamide and (2) common acrylamide precursors (i.e., glucose, fructose, asparagine, and glutamine) in raw and roasted almonds. These methods were used to evaluate the impact of roasting temperatures (between 129 and 182 °C) and times on acrylamide formation. Controlling the roasting temperature at or below 146 °C resulted in acrylamide levels below 200 ppb at all roasting times evaluated. Six varieties of almonds collected in various regions of California over two harvest years and roasted at 138 °C for 22 min had acrylamide levels ranging from 117 ± 5 μg/kg (Sonora) to 221 ± 95 μg/kg (Butte) with an average of 187 ± 71 μg/kg. A weak correlation between asparagine content in raw almonds and acrylamide formation was observed (R 2 = 0.6787). No statistical relationship was found between acrylamide formation and almond variety, orchard region, or harvest year. Stability studies on roasted almonds indicated that acrylamide levels decreased by 12.9-68.5% (average of 50.2%) after 3 days of storage at 60 °C. Short-term elevated temperature storage may be another approach for mitigating acrylamide levels in roasted almonds. © 2011 American Chemical Society. Source

Zhang G.,University of California at Davis | Huang G.,California Almond Board | Xiao L.,University of California at Davis | Mitchell A.E.,University of California at Davis
Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry | Year: 2011

A sensitive and reliable LC-(ESI)MS/MS method was developed and validated for the simultaneous analysis of five common advanced glycation endproducts (AGEs) after enzymatic digestion in raw and roasted almonds. AGEs included carboxymethyl-lysine (CML), carboxyethyl-lysine (CEL), pyralline (Pyr), argpyrimidine (Arg-p), and pentosidine (Pento-s). This method allows accurate quantitation of free and AGE-protein adducts of target AGEs. Results indicate that CML and CEL are found in both raw and roasted almonds. Pyr was identified for the first time in roasted almonds and accounted for 64.4% of free plus bound measured AGEs. Arg-p and Pento-s were below the limit of detection in all almond samples tested. Free AGEs accounted for 1.3-26.8% of free plus bound measured AGEs, indicating that protein-bound forms predominate. The roasting process significantly increased CML, CEL, and Pyr formation, but no significant correlation was observed between these AGEs and roasting temperature. © 2011 American Chemical Society. Source

News Article | April 14, 2015
Site: www.wired.com

Clearly, the California drought is the fault of almonds. At least, you might be excused for thinking that after endless throwaway jokes (guilty here), angry editorials, think pieces, and multi-part series that put the Central Valley’s all-star crop in the crosshairs. So you’d expect the almond industry (Big Nuts?) to be a little defensive. So I called the guy in charge of the nut’s public image: Richard Waycott, CEO of the California Almond Board, the industry-funded trade group. But you know what? He isn’t mad. In fact, he kinda gets it: It takes a lot of water to grow an almond, and California has a lot of almonds. But that doesn’t mean Waycott thinks the bad rap is fair. And he’d appreciate it if you’d maybe reconsider the almond. “I can’t tell you why we became the poster child for the drought that we’ve been for the last few months,” Waycott says. But he has an idea. Waycott thinks it was a killer little statistic: It takes one gallon of water to grow a single almond. Like the nuts to which it refers, that datum was easily digestible, and like the delicious butter that one can make from those nuts, it was sticky. Plus, California grows a lot of almonds—82 percent of the world’s consumption by Waycott’s count. “The size of the statewide crop played a big role,” he says. They happened because people have been hungry for them for a long time. In fact, the Almond Board that Waycott currently leads dates back to 1950, when demand for the crop led farmers and producers to push the government to form a group to represent them in the free market. “We’re talking about an industry that was built around government policy, economics, and agricultural efficiency,” says Waycott. All those thirsty acres of almonds are only there because everyone is so hungry for almonds. This is partly because the Almond Board has done such a great job marketing the nut as milk, roasted & salty, or as a substitute for peanut butter. They’re also incredibly healthy—a calorically dense source of protein, vitamins, minerals, and fiber. And the Central Valley is the perfect place to grow the nuts: Short, cool-but-not-cold winters, and mild springs followed by a long, hot summer. Kicked off by health-conscious eaters, almonds became hugely popular, and because California is pretty much the only place to grow them at scale, the state went, well, nuts. “They really don’t grow well anywhere else in the world,” Waycott says. Contrary to the narrative that ag was left out of California’s recent, historic water cuts, farmers have actually been feeling a constant pinch for several years. Last year, the state passed legislation that will regulate groundwater for the first time. And almond farmers are becoming more efficient. According to Waycott, over 70 percent of all the almond acreage in California is irrigated with either drip systems or microsprinklers. And many use special sensors that tell them exactly how much water the trees need. “I think our attitude is there should be a good biological opinions that drive the policies, and if anything we need the best minds and objective process for arriving at what can be pumped and what can’t be,” Waycott says. Even with those concessions, Waycott refuses to shoulder the blame for the drought. “You’re talking about food, so really some of the criticisms of food and agriculture as being this water hog have been a little overboard,” he says. “It takes humans to eat the food that we produce.” Waycott says he thinks unglamorous engineering projects will be the only solution—like catchments to divert excess rain or snow runoff into the deep ground aquifers. After that: cheaper, more efficient desalination. But here’s the thing: The state is in the middle of a hugely complicated water crisis. And no matter how friendly or well-meaning the spokespeople, almonds are still a huge part of that equation. Waycott is right: The crop is grown because people want to eat the crop. He’s also right that rhetoric isn’t going to solve the crisis. California may be the target du jour for everyone’s resource-shortened frustrations, but it’s also a perfect climate for almonds—and lettuce, pistachios, walnuts, strawberries, carrots, cabbage, sunflowers, grapes, asparagus, and alfalfa. But when the weather isn’t cooperating, policymakers, farmers, and industry trade groups have to start.

Huang G.,California Almond Board | Lapsley K.,California Almond Board
Journal of Food Composition and Analysis | Year: 2013

The natural variability in nutrient composition among and within commercially important California almond varieties was investigated in a multi-year study. Seven major almond varieties (Butte, Carmel, Fritz, Mission, Monterey, Nonpareil and Sonora) were collected over three separate harvests and from various orchards in the north, central and south growing regions in California. Comprehensive nutritional analysis (20 macronutrients and micronutrients, 3 phytosterols) of 39 almond samples was carried out by accredited commercial laboratories. The macronutrient and micronutrient profiles obtained were notably similar for all the almond varieties in this study. The three-year mean contents of protein, total lipid, fatty acids (saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated) and dietary fiber for these major varieties varied by no more than 1.2-fold. For individual nutrients, statistically significant variety, year and/or growing region effects were observed, which contributed to the natural variability in nutrient composition of the California almonds among and within varieties. Harvest year had a highly significant effect (P< 0.01) on the contents of total lipid, monounsaturated fatty acids and dietary fiber. Growing region had a significant effect (P< 0.05) on the content of ash and all minerals tested. © 2013 Elsevier Inc. Source

Civille G.V.,Spectrum | Lapsley K.,California Almond Board | Huang G.,California Almond Board | Seltsam J.,Spectrum
Journal of Sensory Studies | Year: 2010

A unique comprehensive sensory lexicon for describing the appearance, aroma, flavor and texture attributes of almonds was developed by a nine-member panel with extensive experience in descriptive analysis. The almond lexicon was then used to profile the sensory properties of 20 almond samples obtained from three growing regions in California over two harvest years and encompassing seven major almond varieties, to better understand the natural variability in raw almonds. Range graphs were plotted to depict the intensity range (minimum to maximum score) for a given attribute across all samples evaluated for a variety. Descriptive analysis results revealed that the major almond varieties tested had a range of inherent variability and that specific varieties had unique attributes. Distinct walnut, tea and squash flavor aromatics were detected in only some almond varieties. Appearance, aroma, basic taste and chemical feeling factor attribute ranges were generally small and consistent among varieties. Practical applications: The detailed, working almond lexicon created in this study will provide researchers, producers and manufacturers with an effective platform to communicate observations for the evaluation of almonds. The sensory attribute assessment of almond varieties obtained from different regions, growers and harvest years allows for a better understanding of the natural variability in almonds. Establishing the range of natural variability found in raw almonds of the major California varieties provides the basis for future research on the effects of processing treatments on the sensory characteristics of almonds. © 2009, Almond Board of California. Journal compilation © 2009, Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Source

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