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Journal Article

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

Richard P. Evershed, Helen A. Bland, Pim F. van Bergen, James F. Carter, Mark C. Horton and Peter A. Rowley-Conwy
New Series, Vol. 278, No. 5337 (Oct. 17, 1997), pp. 432-433
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Archaeological plant remains from excavations at Qasr Ibrim, 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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