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.
- Zea mays L.
- germplasm diversity
- natural colorants
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)