Physicochemical changes in the hull of corn grains during their alkaline cooking

Regino González, Edilso Reguera, Leobardo Mendoza, Juan Manuel Figueroa, Feliciano Sánchez-Sinencio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

36 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The alkaline cooking of corn in a solution of Ca(OH) 2 to produce corn-based foods is oriented to make corn proteins available, to incorporate Ca to the cooked grains, and also to remove the corn hull. This process (nixtamalization) is known in Mexico and Guatemala from prehispanic times; however, the effect of the alkaline cooking on the corn hull remains poorly documented. In this work, the physicochemical changes that take place in the corn hull during its cooking in a saturated solution of Ca(OH) 2 were studied using infrared, X-ray diffraction, 13 C cross-polarization/ magic-angle spinning (CP/MAS) NMR, confocal imaging microscopy, differential scanning calorimetry, and thermogravimetry techniques. The main effect of this treatment on the hull is the removal of hemicelluloses and lignin, increasing the hull permeability and, as a consequence, facilitating the entry of the alkaline solution into the corn kernel. No significant changes were observed in the cellulose fiber network, which remains as native cellulose I, with a crystalline index, according to 13 C CP/MAS NMR spectra, of 0.60. The alkaline treatment does not allow the cellulose fibers to swell and their regeneration in the form of cellulose(II). It seems any attempt to make use of the Ca binding capacity of the hull to increase the Ca availability in nixtamalized corn-based foods requires a separated treatment for the hull and kernel. On alkaline cooking, the hull hemicellulose fraction dissolves, losing its ability to bind Ca as a way to incorporate this element into foods elaborated from nixtamalized corn.
Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)3831-3837
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry
DOIs
StatePublished - 16 Jun 2004
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

corn husks
Cooking
Cellulose
hulls
Zea mays
cooking
Magic angle spinning
corn
cellulosic fibers
spinning
hemicellulose
Nuclear magnetic resonance
Polarization
cellulose
nixtamalization
Fibers
Lignin
corn protein
thermogravimetry
Guatemala

Cite this

González, Regino ; Reguera, Edilso ; Mendoza, Leobardo ; Figueroa, Juan Manuel ; Sánchez-Sinencio, Feliciano. / Physicochemical changes in the hull of corn grains during their alkaline cooking. In: Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. 2004 ; pp. 3831-3837.
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Physicochemical changes in the hull of corn grains during their alkaline cooking. / González, Regino; Reguera, Edilso; Mendoza, Leobardo; Figueroa, Juan Manuel; Sánchez-Sinencio, Feliciano.

In: Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 16.06.2004, p. 3831-3837.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

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