Volatile Compounds in Archaeological Plant Remains and the Maillard Reaction During Decay of Organic Matter

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Science  17 Oct 1997:
Vol. 278, Issue 5337, pp. 432-433
DOI: 10.1126/science.278.5337.432

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Archaeological plant remains from excavations at Qasr Ibrı̂m, Egypt, preserve volatile decay products trapped within internal networks of structural and storage macromolecules. These volatile components can be linked to specific degradative reactions occurring during the long-term burial of organic matter. Abundant alkyl pyrazines are characteristic by-products of the Maillard (or browning) reaction of proteins and carbohydrates and provide evidence for the reaction occurring in buried organic matter.

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