Carotenoid stability and aroma retention during the post-harvest storage of biofortified maize

Onu Ekpa, Vincenzo Fogliano, Anita Linnemann*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


BACKGROUND: Maize varieties that are rich in carotenoids have been developed to combat vitamin A deficiency in Sub-Saharan Africa. Unfortunately, after harvest, carotenoids degrade and off-flavor volatiles develop, which affect nutrient intake and consumer acceptance. This study evaluated carotenoid retention and aroma compound stability in provitamin A biofortified maize, variety Pool 8A, as influenced by dry milling and storage in different packaging and temperature conditions. RESULTS: The lowest amount of total carotenoids was found in flour stored in laminated paper bags at 37 °C (only 16% retention after 180 days), attributable to the high storage temperature and oxygen permeability of the packaging material. No significant effect on carotenoid degradation was found for dry milling, either by rotor mill or freezer mill, but the formation of volatile compounds was significantly (P < 0.05) affected. Volatile compounds such as hexanal, 2-pentylfuran, 1-propanol, 2-heptanone, butyrolactone, limonene, and hexanoic acid were found in different proportions after milling. The highest concentration of hexanal was in flour milled by rotor mill or freezer mill, and stored in laminated paper bags at 37 °C after 180 days, and the lowest concentrations were for flour in aluminium bags and double-layered polyethylene bags stored at 4 °C. CONCLUSION: Maize flour stored in double-layered polyethylene bags had the highest carotenoid retention and aroma stability. Importantly, the use of these bags is economically feasible in low-income countries. Overall, our results show that effective control of storage conditions is crucial to prevent carotenoid loss and decrease off-odor formation.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of the Science of Food and Agriculture
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 21 Dec 2020


  • Africa
  • biofortified maize
  • carotenoids
  • provitamin a, volatile aroma compounds

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