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Total fumonisins are reduced in tortillas using the traditional nixtamalization method of Mayan communities

Palencia, Edwin, Torres, Olga, Hagler, Winston, Meredith, Filmore I., Williams, Lonnie D., Riley, Ronald T.
Journal of nutrition 2003 v.133 no.10 pp. 3200
corn, nixtamalization, traditional technology, fumonisin B1, fumonisin B2, fumonisin B3, detoxification (processing), tortillas, food contamination, masa, Guatemala
Fumonisin B1 (FB1) is a maize mycotoxin. In tortilla preparation, maize is treated with lime (nixtamalization), producing hydrolyzed FB1 (HFB1) due to loss of the tricarballylic acid side chains. This study determined the following: 1) whether nixtamalization by Mayan communities reduces total fumonisins, and 2) the steps in the process at which reduction occurs. Tortillas prepared by the traditional process contained FB1, FB2 and FB3 and their hydrolyzed counterparts. There were equimolar amounts of FB1 and HFB1 in the tortillas, but the total fumonisins were reduced 50%. The total FB1 plus HFB1 in the residual lime water and water washes of the nixtamal accounted for 50% of the total FB1 in the uncooked maize. HFB1 and FB1 were present in a 1:1 mol/L ratio in the water washes of the nixtamal, the masa dough and the cooked tortillas, whereas the ratio of HFB1:FB1 in lime water after steeping was 21. Water washes contained 11% of the FB1 that was in the uncooked maize. The results show that the traditional method reduced the total fumonisins in tortillas and reduced the sphinganine elevation (a biomarker closely correlated with fumonisin toxicity) in cells treated with extracts of tortillas compared with cells treated with extracts of contaminated maize.