Mexico is the center of origin of maize where there is a great variety of pigmented corns with health benefits. These properties are attributed to their high content of phenolic compounds. The most studied compounds are anthocyanins that no matter the variety of corn are mainly six: cyanidin, pelargonidin and peonidin-3-glucoside and their malonated derivatives. Among the pigmented corns, the purple has the most concentration of anthocyanins, these are found in the whole plant but in more quantity in the silk. The health benefits attach to anthocyanins are principally anti-obesity agent and anticancer activity. Regarding the phenolic acids reported in the pigmented corn plant, the most abundant acid in kernel is ferulic acid, in cob is syringic acid while in the silk is chlorogenic acid. This variation, in the phenolic acid profiles according to the organ, indicates the biological function that each of them plays in the plant; meanwhile in humans, they have important antioxidant effects. Flavonoids are the group less studied of bioactive compounds in pigmented corns; however, the concentrations of these compounds are high especially in purple silk; inside the flavonoids described are morin, kaempferol, naringin, maysin, rutin, quercetin and hyperoside; with antioxidant effects, as neuroprotective, apoptosis induction and others.
Part of the book: Corn