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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Innovative Genetic Approaches for Improving Maize Germplasm for Product Quality and Adaption to Diverse Production Systems

Location: Corn Insects and Crop Genetics Research

Title: Anthocyanins and antioxidant activity in coloured waxy corn at different maturation stages)

item Harakotr, Bhornchai
item Suriharn, Bhalang
item Tangwongchai, Ratchada
item Scott, Marvin
item Lertrat, Kamol

Submitted to: Functional Foods
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/10/2014
Publication Date: 5/3/2014
Citation: Harakotr, B., Suriharn, B., Tangwongchai, R., Scott, M.P., Lertrat, K. 2014. Anthocyanins and antioxidant activity in coloured waxy corn at different maturation stages. Functional Foods. 9:109-118. DOI:

Interpretive Summary: Antioxidants are nutritionally beneficial compounds in foods. In fresh-cooked corn, two important antioxidants are phenolic compounds and purple pigments called anthocyanins. We wanted to understand how these compounds accumulate as ears mature, so we measured anthocyanins and phenolic compounds at two different time points during ear development. By comparing these data with the antioxidant activity in corn, we learned that more mature corn usually has more antioxidant activity. Purple corn had the highest antioxidant activity among the varieties in the study. This information is useful to members of the public who are interested in eating foods with high levels of antioxidant activity and to scientists studying antioxidants in foods.

Technical Abstract: Concentrations of anthocyanins, phenolic compounds and antioxidant activities in kernels of 20 genotypes of waxy corn were investigated at two maturation stages, namely milky and mature. The levels of anthocyanins increased throughout the development of each genotype of corn, while phenolic compounds declined for most genotypes. Antioxidant activity, determined by scavenging 2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) radical, increased with ripening; while ferric reducing antioxidant power (FRAP) and Trolox equivalent antioxidant capacity (TEAC) assays showed decreases in some genotypes. Kernels of a purplish black waxy corn genotype (KKU-WX111031) exhibited the greatest activities and contained the highest levels of anthocyanins and phenolic compounds of the genotypes tested. Our results show colored waxy corn is a rich source of antioxidants that may be of interest to consumers and the functional food industries.

Last Modified: 05/22/2017
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