Skip to Main Content
Skip Nav Destination

Maize is widely distributed and consumed worldwide, especially in developing countries. Because of this, some researchers have focused their efforts on the generation of new varieties of pigmented maize through cross-hybridization, to obtain new varieties of grains with a greater antioxidant capacity.1  Such improved maize varieties could function as bioactive agents and potential candidates to be included in the prevention and integral management of several chronic degenerative diseases, reducing their incidence.

Maize is pigmented mainly due to a huge number of secondary metabolites, such as phenolic acids, carotenoids, and flavonoids. The different expression of these pigments imparts to maize tissues different pigments, from yellow-orange to dark purple-blue, ivory, and cream. Pigments are mostly concentrated in the thick pericarp or aleurone layers of kernels and in maize cobs. The most prevalent colors are red and blue/purple and at least 59 species have been identified, many of which correlate to pigmented grain variants.2  Anthocyanins are mainly responsible for imparting different pigments to maize grains. The amount of anthocyanins in different pigmented maize cultivars has been found to range from 2.50 to 696.07 mg CGE per kg d.m.3  Anthocyanins can be accumulated in seeds, maize stalks, cobs, and leaves, and their different chemical structures and contents lead to various pigmented shades, from pink to dark blue. Anthocyanins in pigmented grains can be beneficial dietary elements due to their antioxidative properties, anti-inflammatory potential, phase II enzyme catalysts, anti-cell proliferating, and hypoglycemic effects.4,5  In general, the aleurone layer and, to a lesser extent, the starchy endosperm of the seeds contain a significant amount of pigment.6 

You do not currently have access to this chapter, but see below options to check access via your institution or sign in to purchase.
Don't already have an account? Register
Close Modal

or Create an Account

Close Modal
Close Modal