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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


item Dombrink Kurtzman, Mary Ann
item Rooney, Lloyd

Submitted to: Corn Dry Milling Conference Proceedings
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/4/1999
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Studies were undertaken to address the question of what happens to fumonisin during the process of nixtamalization (alkaline-cooking) using normal-appearing yellow corn that was naturally contaminated with fumonisins (8.8 ppm FB1). Corn was processed into tortillas starting with lime-soaked corn, which was boiled for five minutes and steeped overnight (15 hr). The steeped corn (nixtamal) was washed, and the washed nixtamal was ground into masa, which was used to make table tortillas and thin tortillas for frying. All fractions, including the steep water and the wash water, were weighed, and percent moisture and fumonisin content were determined. Calculations to determine how much of the original fumonisin remained in the finished products took into consideration that the fumonisin B1 (FB1) will be converted to hydrolyzed fumonisin B1 (HFB1) by the process of nixtamalization. Two separate processing runs were done. The content of FB1 in the starting material was significantly reduced as a result of the processing. The aqueous fractions contained approximately 75% of the amount FB1 that was present originally in the raw corn, but the fumonisin had been hydrolyzed by the alkaline treatment so that HFB1 was the major component. The amount of fumonisin in tortillas, the finished products, was 0.282 ppm FB1 and 0.273 ppm HFB1 for Run 1 and 0.592 ppm FB1 and 0.429 ppm HFB1 for Run 2. The steep water contained an amount of HFB1 that was equivalent to 61.6% and 76.0% of the original FB1, with the wash water containing an amount of HFB1 that was equivalent to 3.1% and 4.2% of the original FB1. Nixtamalization appears to be a means of significantly reducing the amount of fumonisin in maize.

Last Modified: 10/18/2017
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