A natural colorant system from corn: Flavone-anthocyanin copigmentation for altered hues and improved shelf life

Laura A. Chatham, Jay E. Howard, John A. Juvik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Anthocyanins are a major source of natural red colorants but currently face difficulties matching the hue range, stability, and affordability of synthetic options. Purple corn offers an FDA and EFSA-approved economical source of anthocyanin-based colorants. A C-glycosyl flavone and anthocyanin copigmentation system consisting of a flavone-rich anthocyanin-poor line and two anthocyanin-rich flavone-poor lines containing either pelargonidin or cyanidin-derived anthocyanins is described. This system offers a broad hue range and can improve stability. Cyanidin-rich model beverages had better stability than pelargonidin-rich beverages over time, but the addition of flavone-rich extract to both resulted in significantly longer half-lives (up to 50% longer). Flavone copigments produced hyperchromic and bathochromic shifts in both. A protective effect from flavone copigmentation was observed for glycosides. In contrast acylated forms displayed significantly shorter half-lives. Results suggest that corn C-glycosyl flavone-rich extracts could serve as a color enhancing and stabilizing agent for anthocyanin colorants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number125734
JournalFood chemistry
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2019



  • Anthocyanin
  • Color
  • Copigmentation
  • Cyanidin 3-glucoside (PubChem CID: 197081)
  • Cyanidin-3-(6-Malonylglucoside) (PubChem CID: 44256740)
  • Flavone
  • Natural colorants
  • Pelargonidin 3-glucoside (PubChem CID: 443648)
  • Pelargonidin-3-(6-Malonylglucoside) (PubChem CID: 44256635)
  • Purple corn
  • Stability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Food Science

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