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Acta Agron Sin ›› 2010, Vol. 36 ›› Issue (05): 818-825.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1006.2010.00818


Regularity of Carotenoids and Anthocyanins Accumulation in Various Genotypes of Maize Kernel

CUI Li-Na,GAO Rong-Qi,SUN Ai-Qing,DONG Shu-Ting,ZHANG Hua-Yong   

  1. Agronomy College of Shandong agricultural University/State Key Laboratory of Crop Biology,Tai'an 271018,china
  • Received:2009-10-26 Revised:2010-02-04 Online:2010-05-12 Published:2010-03-15
  • Contact: DONG Shu-Ting, E-mail: stdong@sdau.edu.cn


Colourful maize (Zea mays L.) kernel contains a huge amount of pigments such as carotenoids and anthocyanins, which is the main origin of natural pigments. Many studies focused on the extraction method and pigments characteristics, but the accumulation regulations of maize pigments have not been clear yet. Four maize varieties with different colours such as Zinuoxiang (purple), Xixingchinuo 1 (red), Xixingheinuo 1 (black), and Tebao 2 (yellow) were used to study the composition, distribution and accumulation regularity of maize pigments by bare-handed sections and spectrophotometry. The results showed that the pigments of Xixingchinuo 1 consisted of carotenoids and anthocyanins. The anthocyanins mainly existed in seed capsule, which appeared firstly at the top of embryo nearby the style vestige, and then extended around. The dorsum of maize kernels contained higher anthocyanins contents than the abdomen. The carotenoids mainly existed in embryo and endosperm, which first appeared at the top of kernels, and then extended around with the time. Carotenoids were the predominant pigments in Tebao 2, and their distribution and accumulation regularities were consistent with those in Xixingchinuo 1. The pigments of Zinuoxiang and Xixingheinuo 1 were mainly anthocyanins, which predominantly existed in aleurone layer of maize kernels. The anthocyanins appeared at the top of kernels firstly, the absorption peak of pigments of maize kernels (except in Zinuoxiang) decreased after an initial increase with the grain-filling time. At the early stage of grain-filling, the pigment contents of maize kernels in the different parts of maize spike showed the following regulations: the upper > the middle > the basal. While at the late stage of grain-filling, the pigments contents of middle part of kernels of maize spike were much higher than those of other two parts.

Key words: Maize(Zea mays L.), Anthocyanin, Carotenoid, Genotypes

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