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Optimisation of extraction procedure and development of LC–DAD–MS methodology for anthocyanin analysis in anthocyanin-pigmented corn kernels

Hong, H.T., Netzel, M.E., O'Hare, T.J.
Food chemistry 2020 v.319 pp. 126515
Zea mays, anthocyanins, corn, glucosides, liquid chromatography, mass spectrometry, seeds, sweetcorn
An ultra-high-performance liquid chromatography–diode array detector–mass spectrometry method was developed for characterisation and quantification of anthocyanin components in complex corn-kernel matrices. The anthocyanin profiles and total anthocyanin content (TAC) of mature seeds of five types of anthocyanin-pigmented corn were reported. Internal standard was used to validate the efficiency of extraction and optimise the liquid extraction procedure for anthocyanins. A total of eighteen anthocyanins were identified and quantified. Cyanidin-based glucosides were the major pigments of purple-pericarp sweetcorn (75.5% of TAC) and blue-aleurone maize (91.6%), while pelargonidin-based glucosides composed the main anthocyanins of reddish-purple-pericarp sweetcorn (61.1%) and cherry-aleurone maize (74.6%). Importantly, previous studies reported the presence of acetylated and succinylated anthocyanins in corn kernels; these compounds were found to be artefact pigments, generated during the extraction process. These crucial findings provide the correct anthocyanin profiles of pigmented corns, and emphasise the importance of using acidified solutions for the extraction of corn-based anthocyanins.