Pigmented Cereals and Millets: Bioactive Profile and Food Applications
Chapter 3: Pigmented Maize: Nutritional Properties and Bioactive Profile
Published:17 Feb 2023
I. Dudeja, M. Gupta, R. Kaur Mankoo, and A. Singh, in Pigmented Cereals and Millets
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Maize (Zea mays L.) is the queen of cereals and is the third largest produced and consumed grain in the world, after rice and wheat. Scientific studies have concentrated on pigmented maize in recent decades, and breeding procedures have been identified to raise the anthocyanin content in unpigmented types using alternative strategies. Pigmented (pink, red, purple, blue, and black) maize has attracted much attention for its health-beneficial properties, mainly due to bioactive compounds such as anthocyanins, and its carotenoid composition, which are also responsible for its pigmentation. The pigmentation of maize is also attributed to the prevalence of many secondary metabolites such as polyphenolics, carotenoids, and flavonoids. Maize cells have a wide variety of pigments, ranging from yellow-orange to dark purple-blue, as well as white and creamy pigments, caused by the different expressions of these pigments. Pigments are located in the dense pericarp or aleurone regions of the kernels. Processing of pigmented maize such as nixtamalization, cooking, baking, germination, extrusion, etc. to prepare various foods significantly modulated its bioactive compounds, anthocyanin content, and antioxidant activities. The utilization of pigmented maize in different products not only enhances their nutritional and bioactive potential, but also helps to regulate starch digestibility by increasing the contents of slowly digestible starch and resistant starch, thus lowering the glycemic index of the products.