Peas (Pisum sativum L.) consist mainly of cotyledons and their bulk material is starch and proteins. Their structure is rather confined. Peas were heated at temperatures ranging from 130 to 700 °C under anoxic conditions for maximum 2 h. For each temperature a separate experiment was carried out in a pre-heated oven. Direct temperature-resolved mass spectrometry (DTMS) under electron impact (EI) and chemical ionization (CI, NH3) conditions measured the molecular composition of each solid residue. Fourier-transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy was carried out on residues heated at higher temperatures. The resulting solid products of the heating process still show the original markers for polysaccharides and proteins up to 270 °C. Concurrently three phases can be considered, each characterized by its own products. The first phase, from 270 up to 310 °C, shows monosaccharides, protein fragments and aromatic compounds. The second phase, from 310 °C up to a transitional stage from 400 to 440 °C, releases various aromatic and heterocyclic compounds. The third phase at higher temperatures shows a highly C-enriched product that releases CO, CO2, HCN, SO and SO2. The EI and CI experiments fail to discriminate between the pyrolysis products of polysaccharides and proteins between 250 and 400 °C. FTIR shows in this temperature range the development of an aromatic network. An earlier classification based on the changes of the physical and bulk chemical properties as a function of the temperature corresponds well with the classification based on the molecular changes. Residues of heated peas, usually called carbonized peas, are found in the archaeological record. Our study suggests that peas should have been heated up to least 310 °C before their residues survive natural degradation processes.

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Journal J. Anal. Appl. Pyrolysis
Braadbaart, F, Boon, J.J, van der Horst, J, & van Bergen, P.F. (2004). Laboratory simulations of the transformation of peas as a result of heating: the change of the molecular composition by DTMS. J. Anal. Appl. Pyrolysis, 71, 997–1026. doi:10.1016/j.jaap.2004.01.001