Nutritive Value of Maize: Improvements, Applications and Constraints

  • D. P. Chaudhary
  • Sandeep Kumar
  • O. P. Yadav


Maize is a globally important crop mainly utilized as feed, food and raw material for diverse industrial applications. Among cereals, it occupies the third place after wheat and rice and is a staple food for a large segment of population worldwide, particularly in the Asian as well as African countries. Its nutritional quality is, however, poor due to deficiency of two essential amino acids, viz. tryptophan and lysine. The discovery of opaque-2 gene has revolutionized the research in enhancing nutritional quality of maize, and subsequent research efforts gave birth to the present-day quality protein maize (QPM). This brings about a twofold increase in the levels of lysine and tryptophan as the zein or prolamine fraction is reduced by about 50 %. Starch is the major nutritional component of maize kernel constituting about 70 % of its weight. Starch composition in maize is genetically controlled, and significant variation has been observed in the amylose to amylopectin ratio which makes it suitable for different industrial purposes. Maize is also a source of oil which is highly regarded for human consumption as it reduces the blood cholesterol concentration. Many value-added products as well as fermented foods have been produced from maize which is consumed in different forms worldwide. Naturally, maize is a rich source of carotenoids such as beta-carotene, zeaxanthin, lutein and cryptoxanthin which have highly diverse health benefits ranging from maintaining normal vision to lowering of oxidative stress. Efforts have been made towards the development of biofortified maize rich in iron, zinc and provitamin A concentration.


Sweet Corn Maize Kernel Maize Genotype Quality Protein Maize Normal Maize 
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© Springer India 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Directorate of Maize ResearchNew DelhiIndia
  2. 2.Germplasm Evaluation DivisionNational Bureau of Plant Genetic ResourcesNew DelhiIndia

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