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Prospects of Maize (Corn) Wet Milling By-Products as a Source of Functional Food Ingredients and Nutraceuticals

Thalli Satyanarayana Deepak1,2orcid tiny and Padmanabhan Appukuttan Jayadeep1,2*orcid tiny

1Grain Science and Technology Department, CSIR-Central Food Technological Research Institute, Mysore, India

2Academy of Scientific and Innovative Research, Ghaziabad, India

Article history:

Received: 18 May 2021

Accepted: 14 November 2021

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Key words:

maize (corn); wet milling; by-products; nutraceuticals; functional food ingredients


Maize (corn) consists of distinct parts, germ, endosperm, and pericarp, with different chemical compositions. During the maize wet milling process, the maize is disintegrated into the main product starch and by-products, including corn germ, corn fiber and corn gluten (the technical term for corn endosperm specific proteins and not the same as wheat gluten). These by-products are used as low-value animal feed products. The corn germ contains high amounts of tocols and phospholipids, while the corn gluten is rich in carotenoids and the corn fiber fraction is rich in phytosterols and complex carbohydrates. Each by-product has the potential to serve as a precursor in the manufacture of functional food ingredients or nutraceuticals that have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, hypocholesterolemic, hypolipidemic and hypoglycemic properties. These food ingredients/nutraceuticals can be obtained through physical, chemical or enzymatic processes. Some nutraceuticals and food ingredients with market potential include corn fiber gum, oil, arabinoxylans, and xylo-oligosaccharides from corn fiber; corn germ oil and phospholipid ester from corn germ; and carotenoids and oligopeptides from corn gluten. This review focuses on current and prospective research into the use of corn germ, corn fiber and corn gluten in the production of potentially high-quality food ingredients or nutraceuticals.

*Corresponding author: +919449807228

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