Assessing the diversity of anthocyanin composition in various tissues of purple corn (Zea mays L.)

Michael N. Paulsmeyer, Karl E. Vermillion, John A. Juvik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Anthocyanins are natural pigments used in various foods, beverages, textiles, and nutraceuticals. Anthocyanins in the grain of purple corn (Zea mays L., Poaceae) have been a focus of many studies, but not much is known about anthocyanins in other maize tissues. In this study, purple corn variety Apache Red Cob was crossed to genetic stock 320 N, which is recessive for anthocyanin 3. The result was intense anthocyanin production in portions of the plant not normally pigmented. Anthocyanin extracts from anthers, cob glumes, husks, kernels, leaf sheaths, seedlings, silks, and tassels were assessed using UHPLC. A previously undescribed pigment produced in anthers was determined by NMR to be anthocyanidin 3-6″-phenylacetylglucoside. Multivariate analysis classified maize anthocyanins into 8 major compositional profiles. Results of this study show that maize produces anthocyanins abundantly in non-grain portions of the plant and that maize anthocyanin extracts have numerous applications due to the diversity in pigment profiles and hues.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number113263
StatePublished - Sep 2022


  • Acylation
  • Cyanidin
  • Natural colorants
  • Pelargonidin
  • Peonidin
  • Poaceae
  • Red no. 40
  • Zea mays

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Horticulture
  • Molecular Biology
  • Biochemistry
  • Plant Science


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