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Kernel properties and popping potential of Chapalote, a Mexican ancient native maize

Vázquez-Carrillo, María Gricelda, Santiago-Ramos, David, Figueroa-Cárdenas, Juan de Dios
Journal of cereal science 2019 v.86 pp. 69-76
air, alpha-zein, breeding programs, bubbles, cooking, crystal structure, endosperm, extinction, germplasm, hybrids, landraces, pedicel, pericarp, physicochemical properties, popcorn, popping, popping quality, seeds, starch granules
Chapalote is a Mexican ancient maize landrace with popping characteristics that have not been studied. This work aimed to study the kernel physicochemical properties and their relationship with popping properties of 10 Chapalote accessions. Two popping methods, cooking pan and hot-air popping, were tested. A commercial popcorn sample was used for comparison purposes. Hot-air popping led to higher expansion volume, less unpopped kernels, and bigger popped kernels than traditional popping. Among Chapalote samples, one accession (612) had the best popping properties, but none of them popped similarly to the commercial popcorn. This behavior may be related to the non-breeding origin of Chapalote accessions contrasting with the improved hybrids. Smaller kernels containing more pedicel, pericarp, and vitreous endosperm led to higher expansion volume and lower unpopped kernels. In air-popping, higher α-zein content, and bigger starch granules with less crystallinity influenced positively the popping properties, mainly the air bubbles and popped kernel size. Pericarp thickness was not a crucial factor in popping performance. Some Chapalote accessions with good popping quality could be an important source of germplasm in breeding programs for the development of modern popcorn varieties with distinct properties, which may help to avoid the extinction of this landrace.