Brazilian Maize Landraces Silks as Source of Lutein: An Important Carotenoid in the Prevention of Age-Related Macular Degeneration
Shirley Kuhnen, Paulo Fernando Dias, Juliana Bernardi Ogliari, Marcelo Maraschin
Biochemistry and Animal Morphophysiology Laboratory, Departament of Zootechny and Rural Development, CCA, Federal University of Santa Catarina (UFSC), Florianopolis-SC, Brazil.
Laboratory of Studies in Bioactivity and Animal Morphogenesis Departament of Cell Biology, Embriology and Genetics, CCB, Block-D, Federal University of Santa Catarina (UFSC), Florianopolis-SC, Brazil.
Plant Morphogenesis and Biochemistry Laboratory, CCA, Federal University of Santa Catarina (UFSC), Florianopolis-SC, Brazil..
Studying Group in Agricultural Biodiversity, Departament of Phytotechny, CCA, Federal University of Santa Catarina (UFSC), Florianopolis-SC, Brazil.
DOI: 10.4236/fns.2012.311210   PDF    HTML     4,277 Downloads   6,668 Views   Citations


The carotenoid composition of the silk tissue of Zea mays (L.) has not been investigated despite its large occurrence in maize grains. For the purpose of evaluating maize silk as a source of carotenoids, samples from eight landraces developed and cultivated in Southern Brazil were assayed. The silk samples were harvested from individual plants through the fourth and seventh day after they emerged, frozen in liquid N2, and lyophilized. The carotenoids were extracted with a MeOH/toluene solution (1:1, v/v), 30 min, and saponified (15% KOH, 12 h, 40℃). The RP-HPLC-UV-visible analysis revealed lutein as the main carotenoid (88.75%) in maize silks, with a wide range of contents (dry weight), i.e. 39.11 ?g?g-1 (Palha Roxa 18) to 176.12 ?g?g-1 (Língua de Papagaio) among the studied genotypes. Smaller amounts of trans-β-carotene, α-carotene, and zeaxanthin were also detected. The results revealed that in parallel to the claimed high genetic variability of maize landraces, a quite variable carotenoidic composition of silk tissue seems to occur in the germoplasm cultivated in Southern Brazil. Taking into account the usage of lutein for the prevention of several pathologies, especially the age related macular degeneration, some maize landraces (e.g. Língua de Papagaio and Rosado) might be interesting sources of a lutein-rich extract that could add value to an underutilized biomass.

Share and Cite:

S. Kuhnen, P. Dias, J. Ogliari and M. Maraschin, "Brazilian Maize Landraces Silks as Source of Lutein: An Important Carotenoid in the Prevention of Age-Related Macular Degeneration," Food and Nutrition Sciences, Vol. 3 No. 11, 2012, pp. 1609-1614. doi: 10.4236/fns.2012.311210.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


[1] M. I. Mínguez-Mosquera, D. Hornero-Méndez and A. Pérez-Gálvez, “Carotenoids and Provitamin A in Func- tional Foods,” In: W. J. Hurst, Ed., Methods of Analysis for Functional Foods and Nutraceuticals, CRC press, Boca Raton, 2002, pp. 101-157. doi:10.1201/9781420014679.ch3
[2] S. Beatty, M. Boulton, D. Henson, H.-H. Koh and I. J. Murray, “Macular Pigment and Age Related Macular Degeneration,” British Journal of Ophthalmology, Vol. 83, No. 7, 1999, pp. 867-877. doi:10.1136/bjo.83.7.867
[3] L. Brown, E. B. Rimm, J. M. Seddon, E. L. Giovannucci, L. Chasan-Taber, D. Spiegelman, W. C. Willett and S. E. Hankinson, “A Prospective Study of Carotenoid Intake and Risk of Cataract Extraction in US Men”, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 70, No. 4, 1999, pp. 517-524.
[4] P. S. Bernstein, M. D. Yoshida, N. B. Katz, R. W. Mcclane and W. Gellermann, “Resonance Raman Measurement of Macular Carotenoids in Normal Subjects and in Age-Related Macular Degeneration Patients,” Ophthalmology, Vol. 109, No. 10, 2002, pp. 1780-1787. doi:10.1016/S0161-6420(02)01173-9
[5] B. P. Chew, C. M. Brown, J. S. Park and P. F. Mixter, “Dietary Lutein Inhibits Mouse Mammary Tumor Growth by Regulating Angiogenesis and Apoptosis,” Anticancer Research, Vol. 23, No. 4, 2003, pp. 3333-3339.
[6] P. Bhosale and P. S. Bernstein, “Microbial Xanthophylls,” Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology, Vol. 68, No. 4, 2005, pp. 445-455. doi:10.1007/s00253-005-0032-8
[7] S. Kuhnen, P. M. M. Lemos, L. H. Campestrini, J. B. Ogliari, P. F. Dias and M. Maraschin, “Antiangiogenic Properties of Carotenoids: A Potential Role of Maize as Functional Food,” Journal of Functional Foods, Vol. 1, No. 2, 2009, pp. 284-290. doi:10.1016/j.jff.2009.04.001
[8] A. Alves-Rodrigues and A. Shao, “The Science behind Lutein,” Toxicology Letters, Vol. 150, No. 1, 2004, pp. 57-83. doi:10.1016/j.toxlet.2003.10.031
[9] S. S. Ahmed, M. N. Lott and D. M. Marcus, “The Macular Xanthophylls,” Survey of Ophthalmology, Vol. 50, No. 2, 2005, pp. 183-193. doi:10.1016/j.survophthal.2004.12.009
[10] S. P. Sundelin and S. E. Nilsson, “Lipofuscin-Formation in Retinal Pigment Epithelial Cells is Reduced by Antioxidants,” Free Radical Biology and Medicine, Vol. 31, No. 2, 2001, pp. 217-225. doi:10.1016/S0891-5849(01)00573-1
[11] B. H. Davies, “Carotenoids,” In: T. W. Goodwin, Ed., Chemistry and Biochemistry of Plant Pigments, Academic Press, London, 1976, pp. 38-155.
[12] G. Ball, “Bioavailability and Analysis of Vitamins in Foods,” Chapman & Hall, London, 1998.
[13] R. Aman, R. Carle, J. Conrad, U. Beifuss and A. Schieber, “Isolation of Carotenoids from Plant Materials and Dietary Supplements by High-Speed Counter-Current Chromatography,” Journal of Chromatography A, Vol. 1074, No. 1-2, 2005, pp. 99-105. doi:10.1016/j.chroma.2005.03.055
[14] M. C. Vieira, H. E. Gomes, A. Sangalli, Z. N. A. Heredia, I. R. Teixeira and M. B. M. Ramos, “Crescimento e Produ??o de Biomassa de Calêndula (Calendula officinalis L.) Proveniente de Dois Tipos de Diásporos e Duas Colora??es de Capítulos Florais,” Revista Brasileira de Plantas Medicinais, Vol. 8, No. 4, 2006, pp. 193-197.
[15] P. D. Fraser and P. M. Bramley, “The Biosynthesis and Nutritional Uses of Carotenoids,” Progress in Lipid Research, Vol. 43, No. 3, 2004, pp. 228-265. doi:10.1016/j.plipres.2003.10.002
[16] Companhia Nacional de Abastecimento, “Acompanhamento da Safra Brasileira: Gr?os”, 2010.
[17] Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, “FAO Statistics,” 2012.
[18] J. B. Ogliari and A. C. Alves, “Manejo e Uso de Variedades Locais de Milho Como Estratégia de Conserva??o em Anchieta,” In: W. S. Boef, M. H. Thijssen, J. B. Ogliari, B. R. Sthapit, Ed., Biodiversidade e Agricultores: Fortalecendo o Manejo Comunitário, L&PM, Porto Alegre, 2007, pp. 226-234.
[19] A. Canci, G. A. Vogt and I. Canci, “A Diversidade Das Espécies Crioulas em Anchieta-SC: Diagnóstico, Resultado de Pesquisa e Outros Apontamentos Para a Conserva??o da Agrodiversidade,” McLee, S?o Miguel do Oeste, 2004.
[20] D. V. O. Velazquez, H. S. Xavier, J. E. M. Batista and C. Castro-Chaves, “Zea mays L. Extracts Modify Glomerular Function and Potassium Urinary Excretion in Conscious Rats,” Phytomedicine, Vol. 12, No. 5, 2005, pp. 363-369. doi:10.1016/j.phymed.2003.12.010
[21] S. Kuhnen, P. M. M. Lemos, L. H. Campestrini, J. B. Ogliari, P. F. Dias and M. Maraschin, “Carotenoid and Anthocyanin Contents of Grains of Brazilian Maize Landraces,” Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, Vol. 91, No. 9, 2011, pp. 1548-1553. doi:10.1002/jsfa.4346
[22] S Kuhnen, J. B. Ogliari, P. F. Dias, M. S. Santos, A. G. Ferreira, C. C. Conham, K. V. Wood and M. Maraschin, “Metabolic Fingerprint of Brazilian Maize Landraces Silks (Stigma/Styles) Using NMR Spectroscopy and Chemometric Methods,” Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, Vol. 58, No. 4, 2010, pp. 2194-2200. doi:10.1021/jf9037776
[23] Z. Maksimovi?, D. Malen?i? and N. Kova?evic, “Polyphenol Contents and Antioxidant Activity of Maydis Stigma Extracts,” Bioresource Technology, Vol 96, No. 8, 2005, pp. 873-877. doi:10.1016/j.biortech.2004.09.006
[24] P. M. M. Lemos, “Análise do Metaboloma Foliar Parcial de Variedades Locais de Milho (Zea mays) e Dos Efeitos Anti-Tumoral in Vitro e na Morfogênese Embrionária de Gallus domesticus,” Ph.D. Thesis, Centro de Ciências Agrárias, Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, Florianopolis, 2010.
[25] S. Swaminathan, K. Madavalappil and P. Kunhiraman, “Isolation and Purification of Carotenoids from Marigold Flowers,” 2006.
[26] A. Pintea, C. Bele, S. Andrei and C. Socaciu, “HPLC Analysis of Carotenoids in Four Varieties of Calendula officinalis L. Flowers,” Acta Biologica Szegediensis, Vol. 47, No. 1-4, 2003, pp. 37-40.

Copyright © 2023 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.