Varoujan Yaylayan

Professor; Departmental Chair

T: 514 398-7918  |  varoujan.yaylayan [at] mcgill.ca (Email)  |  Macdonald-Stewart Building, MS1-033

Degrees

BSc, MSc (American University of Beirut)
PhD (University of Alberta)

Short Bio

Professor Varoujan Yaylayan obtained his BSc and MSc in organic chemistry and Doctoral degree in Food Chemistry, his research area involves the study of different aspects of interaction of reducing sugars with amino acids and molecular transformations of reducing sugars. His main focus is the study of the mechanism of thermal generation of aromas and toxicants through Maillard reaction and development of methods for the generation and detection of important intermediates using Py/GC/MS, HPLC, FTIR and focused microwave radiation. Elucidation of reaction mechanisms through the use of 13C- and 15N-labeled reactants is one of the main objectives of the research program. His other research interests include applications of qTOF/ESI/MS/MS in the elucidation of non-volatile Maillard reaction products. Professor Yaylayan is responsible for teaching Organic Chemistry, Flavor Chemistry and Nutraceutical Chemistry courses in addition to the graduate and undergraduate seminars.

Awards and Recognitions

2001.  Science Award to Leaders in Sustainable Development – Government of Canada

Active Affiliations

  • American Chemical Society (ACS)
  • International Maillard Reaction Society (IMARS)
  • Institute of Food Technologists (IFT)

Research Interests

Many unpleasant-tasting raw foods can be transformed by the interaction of sugars and amino acids (known as the Maillard reaction) into desirable products via processes such as bread baking, coffee roasting and chocolate manufacture. Under physiological conditions, many body proteins also can be modified through similar interaction with sugars, specially, in diabetic patients that may result in the impairment of physiological and immunological functions. This same chemical interaction is also responsible for the thermal generation of food carcinogens during cooking such as heterocyclic amines and more recently identified the acrylamide. The detailed chemistry of Maillard reaction is not well defined. Understanding the mechanism by which the important carcinogenic compound are formed in food, can contribute to our ability to control their generation. Finding optimal conditions to lower the levels of different carcinogens and at the same time retain the Maillard-derived aroma compounds is one of the main challenges of the food industry today. Three major areas are investigated towards this end. (1) Development of analytical methodology to study the mechanism of formation of carcinogenic compounds, through stable isotope incorporation technique (2) Application of this methodology to study the mechanism of formation of both aroma and carcinogenic compounds using properly labeled precursors. (3) From the information obtained detailed understanding of differences in mechanistic pathways of formation of food carcinogens and aromas can be extracted. Such detailed mechanistic studies might furnish the elements of control over their formation and eventually lead to industrially significant processes such as controlled or “safe generation” of desirable aromas during thermal processing of food.

Current Research

Elucidation of the mechanism of formation of thermally generated volatile and non-volatile Maillard reaction products such as toxicants, flavors and aromas, using isotope labeling technique combined with ESI-TOF MS/MS and GC/MS analysis; Mechano-chemistry of the Maillard reaction.

Courses

FDSC 495D1 Food Science Seminar 1.5 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer


FDSC 495D2 Food Science Seminar 1.5 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

FDSC 497 Professional Seminar: Food 1.5 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer


FDSC 516 Flavour Chemistry 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer


FDSC 537 Nutraceutical Chemistry 3 CreditsTaught only in alternate years
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer


FDSC 695 M.Sc. Graduate Seminar 1 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer


FDSC 696 M.Sc. Graduate Seminar 2 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer


FDSC 797 Ph.D. Graduate Seminar 1 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer


FDSC 798 Ph.D. Graduate Seminar 2 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

 

Publications

View a list of current publications