I'm planning to do an experiment where I extract burnt toast and test how that affects the growth of mung beans. I know burnt food contains PAHs, but what are some other chemicals present and how would they affect plant growth?


1 Answer 1


First of all, one should have look a look on the ingredients of your toast. It mainly consist of starch, proteins (2% maybe), fat (a few %), water and some inorganic compounds such as NaCl. Well Salt normally won´t interact with anything below 1400°C so no need to look at this. Water just evaporates, i think we must not discuss that here. Fat: that's more interesting because fat is known to degenerate into different compounds when heated.

But the definitely most interesting reactions will be present when one heats carbon hydrates together with protein: so called Maillard Reaction(s) those kind of reactions are still issues of ongoing research although this type of reactions have been discovered long ago. As a good starter on the various compound which can occur during Maillard Reaction you might read Mottram or Monnier. Especially acrylamide could be of interest when looking a toxicity. I don't have a certain paper in mind but i know that there has been research about toxicity of acrylamide in fish and other animal. So it's likely that there was some research about plants.

When you look at starch and protein separately you will encounter heat degeneration as well as caramelisation.

  • $\begingroup$ I'll have to check with our resident expert, but I don't think that the MathJax rendering engine supports the small caps for some reason, so I just edited them out. $\endgroup$
    – jonsca
    Commented Jul 28, 2012 at 9:33
  • $\begingroup$ ok i just thought i would take a while. Maybe small caps would be a good idea. i think i will be quite common here (in chemistry) to cite someone. $\endgroup$
    – bloodworks
    Commented Jul 28, 2012 at 11:05
  • $\begingroup$ I tried it using \small with caps, which does render, but it looks muddled, unfortunately. I think MathJax only renders a subset of the full LaTeX. I will poke around a bit about it, but since it is a 3rd party product, I don't think we have as much control over it. For now, you can edit the names however you would like, but I just didn't want the \textsc in front of the name that wasn't being rendered. $\endgroup$
    – jonsca
    Commented Jul 28, 2012 at 11:11

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