Planta

, Volume 240, Issue 5, pp 901–911 | Cite as

Anthocyanins in corn: a wealth of genes for human health

Review
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Anthocyanins

Abstract

Different epidemiological and preclinical studies have demonstrated that regular consumption of anthocyanin-rich foods is associated to a reduced risk of chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular diseases, cancer and obesity. However, assigning a health property to anthocyanins or other classes of flavonoids may be limited by the influence of other metabolites of plant-based food consumed in the diet, acting as possible confounding factors. The development of model foods essentially isogenic and nutritionally identical except that in the type and quantity of plant bioactives to be studied represents an important tool in nutritional studies. The extensive knowledge of the regulation of flavonoid pathway in maize can be exploited to obtain ‘near-isogenic’ model foods, which differ only in the content of specific classes of flavonoids. Being obtainable by breeding strategies, maize model foods can provide functional foods that can be used for both animal feeding studies and human intervention trials for assessing the role of flavonoids or other bioactives in preventing chronic diseases. This review will be focused on recent advances regarding the anthocyanin biosynthesis in maize, the role of anthocyanins from corn in preventing chronic diseases and finally on the breeding activities to produce maize functional foods with increased anthocyanin content.

Keywords

Chronic diseases Functional food Maize Model food Nutrigenomics 

Abbreviations

r1

red color1

b1

booster1

c1

colored aleurone1 or colorless1

pl1

purple plant1

p1

pericarp color1

pr1

purple aleurone1

bHLH

Basic helix-loop-helix

CHS

Chalcone synthase

CHI

Chalcone isomerase

F3H

Flavanone 3-hydroxylase

F3′H

Flavanone 3′-hydroxylase

DFR

Dihydroflavonol reductase

FLS

Flavonol synthase

ANS

Anthocyanidin synthase

DHK

Dihydrokaempferol

DHQ

Dihydroquercetin

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Dipartimento di BioscienzeUniversità degli Studi di MilanoMilanItaly
  2. 2.Dipartimento di Scienze Agrarie e Ambientali-Produzione, Territorio, AgroenergiaUniversità degli Studi di MilanoMilanItaly

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