Revising the role of pH and thermal treatments in aflatoxin content reduction during the tortilla and deep frying processes

P. Torres*, M. Guzmán-Ortiz, B. Ramírez-Wong

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

60 Scopus citations

Abstract

Naturally aflatoxin-contaminated corn (Zea mays L.) was made into tortillas, tortilla chips, and corn chips by the traditional and commercial alkaline cooking processes. The traditional nixtamalization (alkaline-cooking) process involved cooking and steeping the corn, whereas the commercial nixtamalization process only steeps the corn in a hot alkaline solution (initially boiling). A pilot plant that includes the cooker, stone grinder, celorio cutter, and oven was used for the experiments. The traditional process eliminated 51.7, 84.5, and 78.8% of the aflatoxins content in tortilla, tortilla chips, and corn chips, respectively. The commercial process was less effective: it removed 29.5, 71.2, and 71.2 of the aflatoxin in the same products. Intermediate and final products did not reach a high enough pH to allow permanent aflatoxin reduction during thermal processing. The cooking or steeping liquor (nejayote) is the only component of the system with a sufficiently high pH (10.2-10.7) to allow modification and detoxification of aflatoxins present in the corn grain. The importance of removal of tip, pericarp, and germ during nixtamalization for aflatoxin reduction in tortilla is evident.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2825-2829
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry
Volume49
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - 2001

Keywords

  • Aflatoxin
  • Corn
  • Masa
  • Nixtamal
  • Tortilla
  • Zea mays

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