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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Effect of Nixtamalization (Alkaline Cooking) on Fumonisin Contaminated Corn for Production of Tortillas

item Dombrink Kurtzman, Mary Ann
item Rooney, Lloyd - TEXAS A&M UNIV

Submitted to: American Chemical Society National Meeting
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: March 30, 2000
Publication Date: N/A

Technical Abstract: Fumonisins, a family of mycotoxins produced by Fusarium moniliforme and Fusarium proliferatum, are found in corn worldwide and have been associated with animal diseases. Low levels of fumonisins can occur in corn products destined for human consumption. People in Mexico and Central America consume a high dietary intake of a corn-based diet processed by alkaline cooking. Studies were undertaken to determine the fate of fumonisins during the traditional process of nixtamalization, using normal-appearing corn that was naturally contaminated with fumonisin B1 at 8.79 ppm. Samples were analyzed from each stage of the processing. Calculations to determine how much of the original fumonisin remained in the finished products took into consideration that fumonisin B1 will be converted into hydrolyzed fumonisin B1 by alkaline cooking. Three-fourths of the original amount of fumonisin was present in the liquid fractions (steep water and wash water), primarily as hydrolyzed fumonisin B1. Tortillas contained approximately 0.50 ppm fumonisin B1, plus 0.36 ppm hydrolyzed fumonisin B1. An average of 18.5% of the initial fumonisin B1 in the raw corn was detected in the tortillas. Nixtamalization appears to be a means of significantly reducing the amount of fumonisin in maize.

Last Modified: 4/22/2015
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