High-throughput, microscale protocol for the analysis of processing parameters and nutritional qualities in Maize (Zea mays L.)

Carrie Butts-Wilmsmeyer, Nicole A. Yana, Gurshagan Kandhola, Kent D. Rausch, Rita H. Mumm, Martin O. Bohn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Maize is an important grain crop in the United States and worldwide. However, maize grain must be processed prior to human consumption. Furthermore, whole grain composition and processing characteristics vary among maize hybrids and can impact the quality of the final processed product. Therefore, in order to produce healthier processed food products from maize, it is necessary to know how to optimize processing parameters for particular sets of germplasm to account for these differences in grain composition and processing characteristics. This includes a better understanding of how current processing techniques impact the nutritional quality of the final processed food product. Here, we describe a microscale protocol that both simulates the processing pipeline to produce cornflakes from large flaking grits and allows for the processing of multiple grain samples simultaneously. The flaking grits, the intermediate processed products, or final processed product, as well as the corn grain itself, can be analyzed for nutritional content as part of a high-throughput analytical pipeline. This procedure was developed specifically for incorporation into a maize breeding research program, and it can be modified for other grain crops. We provide an example of the analysis of insoluble-bound ferulic acid and p-coumaric acid content in maize. Samples were taken at five different processing stages. We demonstrate that sampling can take place at multiple stages during microscale processing, that the processing technique can be utilized in the context of a specialized maize breeding program, and that, in our example, most of the nutritional content was lost during food product processing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere57809
JournalJournal of Visualized Experiments
Issue number136
StatePublished - Jun 18 2018


  • Environmental Sciences
  • High-Throughput
  • Human Nutrition
  • Issue 136
  • Maize
  • Microscale Processing
  • Phenolics
  • Processed Foods

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • General Chemical Engineering
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Immunology and Microbiology


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