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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Peoria, Illinios » National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research » Functional Foods Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #264607


Location: Functional Foods Research

Title: Bioactives derived from ripe corn tassels: a possible new natural skin whitener, 4-hydroxy-1-oxindole-3-acetic acid

item Wille, John
item Berhow, Mark

Submitted to: Current Bioactive Compounds
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/18/2011
Publication Date: 7/1/2011
Citation: Wille, J.J., Berhow, M.A. 2011. Bioactives derived from ripe corn tassels: a possible new natural skin whitener, 4-hydroxy-1-oxindole-3-acetic acid. Current Bioactive Compounds. 7:126-134.

Interpretive Summary: There is an increasing demand for natural ingredients for skin care and cosmetics. We have isolated and characterized a compound from mature corn tassels that is an antioxidant and has both skin whitening and anti-irritant activity in standard skin tests. This compound makes corn tassels, currently an discarded byproduct, a potential source of new natural skin care ingredients.

Technical Abstract: Previously, we showed that extracts of ripe seasonal sweet corn tassels possess anti-irritant and anti-oxidant activities. The chemical identification of corn tassel bioactives were investigated by HPLC analysis. The hydroalcoholic extracts are composed primarily (>85%) phenolic-type compounds. The predominant component from C18 columns were concentrated by reverse phase chromatography and purified to greater than 97-99% by preparative HPLC chromatography. The chemical was determined by mass and NMR spectrometry to be 4-hydroxy-1-oxindole-3-acetic acid (Tasselin A) with a M.W of 207 daltons. Purified Tasselin A inhibits melanin production in sporulating cultures of the common bread mold. An anti-tyrosinase enzyme assay showed that it inhibits mushroom tyrosinase enzyme (IC50 = 0.75mM), and has both antioxidant, and skin anti-irritant activities. There are no prior reports of bioactives derived from corn tassels with potential skin whitening activity, nor are any corn tassel bioactivities currently employed as ingredients in personal care or skin care products.