An ion-pair reversed-phase HPLC method, using a C8 column and detection at 280 nm, is proposed for determining furosine (ε-N-2-furoylmethyl-L-lysine) (FUR) in acid-hydrolysed milk products. The FUR response factor was evaluated by radiochemical counting of the radiocarbon in the peak of FUR derived from the hydrolysed heat-induced complex of casein-[U14C] lactose. 2-Acetylfuran, which exhibits the same response factor, was used as external standard. The method even allows FUR formation to be detected in pasteurized milk and, due to its sensitivity, repeatability, rapidity and low cost, it is suitable for routinely controlling the extent of the Maillard reaction over a wide range of heating conditions. A comparison of determination of FUR by HPLC, GLC and ion-exchange chromatography in several samples of milk and milk products showed that, assuming the traditional amino acids as standard, the FUR value was underestimated by a factor of at least 2. The data reported in the literature for FUR content in milk products are probably affected by the same type of error.
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