Development and characterization of a coloured sweet corn line as a new functional food


The standard sugary sweet corn (Zea mays saccharata Sturt.) is a maize variety grown for the fresh, frozen and canned markets, traditionally appreciated. Its kernels are characterized by the presence of some antioxidant substances suggested to be beneficial for cancer prevention. For this reason an interesting challenge for breeders is the development of sweet corn genotypes with naturally high antioxidant levels, starting from flavonoids. In fact important sources of antioxidants in maize are anthocyanins, considered as nutraceuticals because they have been proven to lower the risk of many chronic diseases. In this paper we report the development of a new coloured sugary line and the results of some analyses concerning flavonoid content before and after two different cooking treatments are discussed. Attention was mainly focused on the anthocyanins, the molecules suggested as being responsible for the nutraceutical properties of the new coloured sugary line. The results show that the presence of the anthocyanins also pushes up the flavonol and the phenolic acid amounts and gives the new coloured sugary line a higher scavenging power compared to the uncoloured control. The mild cooking seems not to significantly change the metabolites analyzed in the coloured kernels, while the stronger treatment seems to drastically decrease the amounts of pigments, without changing the structure of the leftover molecules. All these findings suggest that the new colored sugary line can be considered a new functional food, able to introduce healthy compounds into the diet of many people.


maize; Sugary; anthocyanins; Purple plant1; Booster1; functional food

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Maydica - A journal devoted to maize and allied species

ISSN: 2279-8013