Survey of Anthocyanin Composition and Concentration in Diverse Maize Germplasms

Michael Paulsmeyer, Laura Chatham, Talon Becker, Megan West, Leslie West, John Juvik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Increasing consumer demand for natural ingredients in foods and beverages justifies investigations into more economic sources of natural colorants. In this study, 398 genetically diverse pigmented accessions of maize were analyzed using HPLC to characterize the diversity of anthocyanin composition and concentration in maize germplasm. One hundred and sixty-seven accessions were identified that could produce anthocyanins in the kernel pericarp or aleurone and were classified into compositional categories. Anthocyanin content was highest in pericarp-pigmented accessions with flavanol-anthocyanin condensed forms, similar to the Andean Maı́z Morado landraces. A selected subset of accessions exhibited high broad-sense heritability estimates for anthocyanin production, indicating this trait can be manipulated through breeding. This study represents the most comprehensive screening of pigmented maize lines to date and will provide information to plant breeders looking to develop anthocyanin-rich maize hybrids as an economic source of natural colorants in foods and beverages.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4341-4350
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry
Issue number21
StatePublished - May 31 2017


  • Zea mays L.
  • anthocyanin
  • germplasm diversity
  • natural colorants

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)

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