Mepiquat: A Process-Induced Byproduct in Roasted Cereal-Based Foodstuffs.J Agric Food Chem. 2016 Feb 10; 64(5):1185-90.JA
Mepiquat, a growth regulator widely used in agriculture, is also known as a process-induced byproduct formed in coffee from natural constituents during heat treatments such as roasting. This study examines mepiquat formation in cereal-based foodstuffs treated at sufficiently high temperature to trigger methyl transfer reactions that involve glycine betaine and choline naturally present in cereals. Color measurements of roasted barley grains revealed a correlation between thermal treatment and mepiquat content. Trials at industrial scale on instant beverages composed of roasted cereals demonstrated significant increases in mepiquat during the thermal process (in the range of 140-205 μg/kg in final products). A targeted survey of commercial products showed mepiquat in the range 69-381 μg/kg in powdered cereal instant drinks and 42-168 μg/kg in mugicha tea, a roasted barley infusion. These findings will not significantly affect the exposure of consumers to mepiquat due to the low amounts detected.