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J Agric Food Chem. 2008 Nov 12;56(21):9918-26. doi: 10.1021/jf8018613. Epub 2008 Oct 21.

Carotenoid bioaccessibility from whole grain and degermed maize meal products.

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Department of Food Science, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana 47907, USA.


Although yellow maize (Zea mays) fractions and products are a source of dietary carotenoids, only limited information is available on the bioavailability of these pigments from maize-based foods. To better understand the distribution and bioavailability of carotenoid pigments from yellow maize (Z. mays) products, commercial milled maize fractions were screened for carotenoid content as were model foods including extruded puff, bread, and wet cooked porridge. Carotenoid content of maize fractions ranged from a low of 1.77-6.50 mg/kg in yellow maize bran (YCB) to 12.04-17.94 mg/kg in yellow corn meal (YCM). Lutein and zeaxanthin were major carotenoid species in maize milled fractions, accounting for approximately 70% of total carotenoid content. Following screening, carotenoid bioaccessibility was assessed from model foods using a simulated three-stage in vitro digestion process designed to measure transfer of carotenoids from the food matrix to bile salt lipid micelles (micellarization). Micellarization efficiency of xanthophylls was similar from YCM extruded puff and bread (63 and 69%), but lower from YCM porridge (48%). Xanthophyll micellarization from whole yellow corn meal (WYCM) products was highest in bread (85%) and similar in extruded puff and porridge (46 and 47%). For extruded puffs and breads, beta-carotene micellarization was 10-23%, but higher in porridge (40-63%), indicating that wet cooking may positively influence bioaccessibility of apolar carotenes. The results suggest that maize-based food products are good dietary sources of bioaccessible carotenoids and that specific food preparation methods may influence the relative bioaccessibility of individual carotenoid species.

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