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Purple corn (Zea mays L.) as an economically viable alternate to synthetic FD&C Red 40 food dye and its potential in a number of environmentally friendly agro-industrial sectors


This research work will be broadly divided into two distinct parts spanning seven different objectives. The first part of research covering objectives 1, 2, 3 and 4 will be conducted in PD's corn processing and food engineering lab and will mainly concentrate on the preparation and evaluation of corn-based color extract, and validation of its applications in different food matrices. The second part of the research work covering objectives 5, 6, and 7 will include extensive multidisciplinary collaboration with experts from within and outside the University of Missouri.During dry milling of purple corn, it was observed that corn pericarp broke down into small fractions and almost 50% of it was distributed in coproducts other than pericarp (Li et al., 2017; Somavat et al., 2016). Therefore, optimization of dry milling parameters can result in increased recovery of corn pericarp, thereby increasing the overall process efficiency. It will also be of interest to identify different solvent combinations and evaluating novel extraction processes such microwave assisted extraction and membrane separation etc. for increased anthocyanin and polyphenolic compound recovery from the pericarp. The suitability and economics of spray and freeze-drying processes need to be evaluated for the preparation of dried color extract, following which it can be incorporated into different food matrices and subsequently processed to identify the effects of different processing methods and parameters on the degradation kinetics of anthocyanins and other phenolics. The shelf stability of anthocyanins-based color in different food material during storage will have a final bearing on their eventual acceptance by the industry. This work has a strong potential to solve a significant food industry problem and will also be helpful to corn producers as they will be able to supplement their income by diversifying into pigmented corn production. The specific goals of the proposed study are divided into seven objectives:Optimization of anthocyanin recovery from purple corn.Formulation of shelf stable anthocyanin-based color extract from purple corn.Studying the effects of different processing operations on degradation of anthocyanins and phenolic compounds in various food material,Determination of color stability of anthocyanin extract in different food matrices during various storage conditions.Development of a purple corn cultivar suitable for the Midwest in collaboration with plant scientists.Research into antimicrobial properties of polyphenol-rich purple corn extract.Research into insect/pest deterrent properties of purple corn extract as an alternate to synthetic pesticides.

Somavat, Pavel
University of Missouri - Columbia
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