Can biofortified corn and eggs retain nutrients after cooking?

written by Meena Azzollini



Vitamin A is a fat soluble essential micronutrient which plays an important role in our health. It is also known as retinol and can be derived from the foods we eat and drink every day. You can get it as Vitamin A from your foods or from molecules known as provitamin A carotenoids, which break down in the body to become Vitamin A.

Vitamin A is very important for our skin and immune system and is essential for the health of our eyes, especially to be able to see at night.

Vitamin A deficiency is a common in Africa and Southeast Asia, causing 250,000 to 500, 000 children to become blind each year.

The food was then evaluated and retention of biofortified carotenoids was assessed in muffins, tortillas, thick porridge, and deep-fried puffs made from whole-grain or sifted flour

Although Vitamin A supplements help, researchers are investigating ways to produce hybrid varieties of fortified foods to combat this deficiency which is present on a wide scale in these regions of the world.

Hybrid crops such as corn contain more carotenoids – precursors of vitamin A which the body uses to produce the vitamin itself. Eggs are another source of carotenoids and researchers are trying to increase the amount of carotenoids in the yolks.

But most of these types of foods are consumed after cooking and scientists were not clear how cooking would influence carotenoid levels in food.

To test this, researchers cooked corn (maize) and eggs biofortified with provitamin A carotenoids in various ways.

Seven replicates for each type of eggs and maize flour type were prepared.

The food was then evaluated and retention of biofortified carotenoids was assessed in muffins, tortillas, thick porridge, and deep-fried puffs made from whole-grain or sifted flour.

Portions of uncooked and cooked maize dishes were weighed and then freeze-dried. Samples were weighed again when they dried and held at -80°C until high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) analysis.

Household methods of cooking were used as common variants of these foods are consumed across cultures worldwide.

Boiled stiff porridge resulted in the highest retention of carotenoids at 78-129 per cent compared with 64-78 per cent in thin porridge, while deep-fried cornmeal puffs (also known as hush puppies) retained the least. Baking maize muffins resulted in 65–75 per cent retention of carotenoids, 85-100 per cent as tortillas and 65 per cent after deep frying.

Microwaving, pan-frying and hard-boiling eggs preserved carotenoids but scramble eggs cause some loss of the micronutrient.

While further studies are needed on biofortified maize varieties and on different types of eggs, the researchers conclude that these substances are well preserved in most of the common types of foods consumed, with widely used household cooking methods – with the exception of fried corn puffs.

Source: ACS Omega

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Meena Azzollini

Meena is passionate about holistic wellbeing, alternative healing, health and personal power and uses words to craft engaging feature articles to convey her knowledge and passion. She is a freelance writer and content creator from Adelaide, Australia, who draws inspiration from family, travel and her love for books and reading.

A yoga practitioner and a strong believer in positive thinking, Meena is also a mum to a very active young boy. In her spare time, she loves to read and whip up delicious meals. She also loves the smell of freshly made coffee and can’t ever resist a cheesecake. And she gets tickled pink by anything funny!