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J Agric Food Chem. 2002 Aug 14;50(17):4959-64.

Processed sweet corn has higher antioxidant activity.

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Department of Food Science and Institute of Comparative and Environmental Toxicology, Stocking Hall, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York 14853, USA.


Processed fruits and vegetables have been long considered to have lower nutritional value than the fresh produce due to the loss of vitamin C during processing. Vitamin C in apples has been found to contribute <0.4% of total antioxidant activity, indicating most of the activity comes from the natural combination of phytochemicals. This suggests that processed fruits and vegetables may retain their antioxidant activity despite the loss of vitamin C. Here it is shown that thermal processing at 115 degrees C for 25 min significantly elevated the total antioxidant activity of sweet corn by 44% and increased phytochemical content such as ferulic acid by 550% and total phenolics by 54%, although 25% vitamin C loss was observed. Processed sweet corn has increased antioxidant activity equivalent to 210 mg of vitamin C/100 g of corn compared to the remaining 3.2 mg of vitamin C in the sample that contributed only 1.5% of its total antioxidant activity. These findings do not support the notion that processed fruits and vegetables have lower nutritional value than fresh produce. This information may have a significant impact on consumers' food selection by increasing their consumption of fruits and vegetables to reduce the risk of chronic diseases.

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