Plant Foods for Human Nutrition

, Volume 67, Issue 4, pp 442–449 | Cite as

Antioxidant Capacity and Antimutagenic Activity of Anthocyanin and Carotenoid Extracts from Nixtamalized Pigmented Creole Maize Races (Zea mays L.)

  • Sandra Mendoza-Díaz
  • Ma. del Carmen Ortiz-Valerio
  • Eduardo Castaño-Tostado
  • Juan de Dios Figueroa-Cárdenas
  • Rosalía Reynoso-Camacho
  • Minerva Ramos-Gómez
  • Rocio Campos-Vega
  • Guadalupe Loarca-Piña
Original Paper


Nixtamalization process is the first step to obtain maize based products, like tortillas; however, in both the traditional and commercial processes, white grain is generally preferred. Creole maize races, mainly pigmented varieties, have increasingly attention since these are rich in anthocyanins and carotenoids. The aim of this investigation was to evaluate the antioxidant and antimutagenic activity of rich anthocyanins and carotenoids extracts from creole maize races before (grain) and after (masa and tortilla) the nixtamalization process. Most anthocyanins and carotenoids were lost during nixtamalization. Before nixtamalization, blue and red genotypes contained either higher antioxidant capacity and anthocyanin contents (963 ± 10.0 and 212.36 ± 0.36 mg of cyanidin-3-glucoside eq/100 g, respectively) than the white and yellow genotypes. However, the highest carotenoid levels were displayed by red grains (1.01 ± 0.07 to 1.14 ± 0.08 μg of β-carotene eq/g extract). Anthocyanins losses were observed when the blue grains were processed into masa (83 %) and tortillas (64 %). Anthocyanins content correlated with antiradical activity (r = 0.57) and with 2-aminoanthracene -induced mutagenicity inhibition on TA98 and TA100 (r = −0.62 and r = −0.44, respectively). For white grains, nixtamalization also reduced carotenoids (53 to 56 %), but not antioxidant activity and 2-Aa-induced mutagenicity. Throughout the nixtamalization process steps, all the extracts showed antimutagenic activity against 2-aminoanthracene—induced mutagenicity (23 to 90 %), displaying higher potential to inhibit base changes mutations than frameshift mutations in the genome of the tasted microorganism (TA100 and TA98, respectively). The results suggest that even though there were pigment losses, creole maize pigments show antioxidant and antimutagenic activities after nixtamalization process.


Pigmented creole maize races Nixtamalization Anthocyanins Carotenoids Antioxidant activity Antimutagenic activity 





Antioxidant activity


Aflatoxin B1


One way variance analysis


Antiradical activity


Anthocyanins rich extract




Butylated hydroxytoluene




Carotenoids rich extract


2 2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl


High-performance liquid chromatography




Mean standard error


3-amino-1 4-dimethyl-5h-pyrido [4, 3-b] indole


Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sandra Mendoza-Díaz
    • 1
  • Ma. del Carmen Ortiz-Valerio
    • 1
  • Eduardo Castaño-Tostado
    • 1
  • Juan de Dios Figueroa-Cárdenas
    • 2
  • Rosalía Reynoso-Camacho
    • 1
  • Minerva Ramos-Gómez
    • 1
  • Rocio Campos-Vega
    • 1
  • Guadalupe Loarca-Piña
    • 1
  1. 1.Programa de Posgrado en Alimentos del Centro de la República (PROPAC), Facultad de QuímicaUniversidad Autónoma de Querétaro, Centro UniversitarioSantiago de QuerétaroMéxico
  2. 2.Centro de Investigación y de Estudios Avanzados del IPN, Unidad QuerétaroSantiago de QuerétaroMéxico

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