FOOD SCIENCE ›› 2022, Vol. 43 ›› Issue (18): 16-23.

• Food Chemistry •

### Structure and Physicochemical Properties of Zein during Postharvest Ripening of Corn

LI Qi, GE Sitong, ZHANG Shiyu, WANG Tianchi, ZHENG Mingzhu, WU Yuzhu, ZHAO Chengbin, LIU Jingsheng

1. (National Engineering Research Center for Wheat and Corn Deep Processing, College of Food Science and Engineering, Jilin Agricultural University, Changchun 130118, China)
• Published:2022-09-28

Abstract: Newly harvested corn was stored under constant temperature (15 or 25 ℃) and relative humidity (55%). The structure and physicochemical properties of zein during postharvest ripening of corn were studied, and their relationship was analyzed. During the 56-day postharvest ripening period at 15 and 25 ℃, the free sulfhydryl content, surface hydrophobicity, particle size and polydispersity index (PDI) of zein decreased, while the disulfide bond content and absolute value of zeta-potential increased. The hydrogen bond association decreased, and more ordered β-sheets were transformed into a disordered structure, and the thermal stability and the molecular mass of α-zein subunit decreased. In addition, during postharvest ripening of corn the physicochemical properties of zein significantly changed. The solubility and water-holding capacity of zein reached their maximum on the 42th day at 15 ℃ and on the 28th day at 25 ℃, and the emulsifying and foaming capacity increased significantly after postharvest ripening for 14 days at both temperatures. However, the oil-holding capacity decreased. The improvement in physicochemical properties of zein during postharvest ripening of corn may be related to the reduction in protein aggregation and its flexible structure. These results showed that proper postharvest ripening of corn could modify the structure of zein and consequently improve its physicochemical properties.

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