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Research Project: Genetic and Physiological Mechanisms Underlying Complex Agronomic Traits in Grain Crops

Location: Plant Genetics Research

Title: From purple corn waste (pericarp) to polyphenol-rich extract with higher bioactive contents and superior product qualities using two-step optimization techniques

item BOATENG, ISAAC - University Of Missouri
item AZLIN, MUSTAPHA - University Of Missouri
item KUEHNEL, LUCAS - University Of Missouri
item DAUBERT, CHRISTOPHER - University Of Missouri
item KUMAR, RAVINDER - University Of Missouri
item AGLIATA, JOSEPH - University Of Missouri
item Flint-Garcia, Sherry
item WAN, CAIXIA - University Of Missouri
item SOMAVAT, PAVEL - University Of Missouri

Submitted to: Industrial Crops and Products
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/10/2023
Publication Date: 9/15/2023
Citation: Boateng, I., Azlin, M., Kuehnel, L., Daubert, C., Kumar, R., Agliata, J., Flint Garcia, S.A., Wan, C., Somavat, P. 2023. From purple corn waste (pericarp) to polyphenol-rich extract with higher bioactive contents and superior product qualities using two-step optimization techniques. Industrial Crops and Products. 200 (Part A): Article 116871.

Interpretive Summary: Corn is one of the leading commodity crops in the United States, and is used primarily for animal feed, fuel (ethanol) production, and numerous industrial applications. During processing, specific fractions of the corn kernel are used and often the outside layer of the kernel (called the pericarp or bran) is a low-value waste product, especially for ethanol production. Some varieties of corn contain high-value phytochemicals in the pericarp that can be recovered, including natural food dyes and health-promoting antioxidants, resulting in increased value for rural economies. By minimizing waste, pigmented corn supports the circular economy. In this study, the photochemical extraction process was examined in order to identify the parameters which could impact the product yield and quality, and then each of these parameters was optimized in combination to produce the most efficient extraction protocol. The three critical parameters included acetic acid concentration, extraction time, and ethanol concentration. These three parameters were further explored using three different optimization models, and the phytochemical products were quantified and checked for quality and antioxidant potential. A new model with optimized parameters was found to be the most effective for a quicker and more efficient bioactive recovery with a superior extract profile. The results of this study will be applied in future studies to identify parental corn germplasm with which to initiate a breeding program to develop new varieties with high phytochemical content in the pericarp and higher grain yields suitable for industrial purposes.

Technical Abstract: The pericarp of purple corn has traditionally been thought of as being a byproduct. However, it is an excellent source of high-value polyphenols (such as anthocyanins, proanthocyanins, etc.) that could be extracted and used as nutraceuticals, cosmeceuticals, and valuable starting material for synthesizing food colorants and food additives. Hence, this study aimed to optimize the recovery of anthocyanins, phenolic acids, and condensed tannins (CT) from purple corn pericarp using a two-stage multivariate design and evaluated the phenolic profiles, antioxidants, product quality, and structural characteristics of the recovered extracts. According to Plackett-Burman design (PBD) screening, the key extraction variables identified were acetic acid concentration, extraction time, and ethanol concentration. This was followed by optimization using Box-Behnken design (BBD), facial central composite design (FCCD), and full-factorial design (FFD), and the best design was identified after comparative analysis. The models were found to be acceptable, as evidenced by the desirability values of 0.836–0.933. A comparison of the BBD, FCCD, and FFD was done, and it was found that the PBD-BBD produced a lower residual standard error (RSE) than the PBD-FCCD for most of the responses and yielded the lowest extraction time (~8.6 h), proving that the BBD could forecast the data more accurately. To evaluate the extracts' bioactive extraction efficiency, antioxidant properties, product quality, and structural parameters, samples from a single factor (SF) experiment and BBD were compared. The BBD extract had better color properties (lower 'E, higher a*, C, and H0) and a greater extraction yield (17.5%) than SF and was confirmed by the principal component and hierarchical cluster analysis. Although the scanning electron microscopy and the optical profilometer for BBD revealed irregular, loosely arranged granules, it had a less adverse effect on product quality and aligned with the Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy results. The BBD samples had lower levels of phenolic acids but higher levels of total phenolic content (118.86 ± 3.60 g GAE/kg), condensed tannins (231.74 ± 8.45 g EE/kg), antioxidants, cyanidin-3-glucoside (90.46 ± 4.47 mg/g), naringin (7.68 ± 0.58 mg/g), and cyanidin-chloride (49.81 ± 1.78 mg/g). This shows that BBD can effectively be used to optimize the extraction of polyphenolic compounds from purple corn pericarp using optimal extraction conditions, resulting in a higher yield of polyphenols having superior antioxidant properties and product quality in a comparatively shorter extraction time.