Toro-Vazquez, J.F. and Gómez-Aldapa, C.A. Chemical and physicochemical properties of maize starch after industrial nixtamalization. Cereal Chemistry. Volumen 78(5): 543 - 550.
Processing conditions similar to traditional nixtamalization are now used by the industry in the production of dry maize flours (DMF). The objective of this investigation was to evaluate the effect of industrial nixtamalization on maize starch. Thus, dent maize grains were sampled from storage silos and the starch isolated (S). From the same batch of maize, DMF was obtained and the starch isolated (S-DMF). The amylose content in the starches was quite similar (21.523.4%) and characteristic of a dent maize. However, nixtamalization increased the calcium content in S-DMF. The starches investigated exhibited the typical A-type diffraction pattern after 40 days of storage at 1184.1% rh. However, the differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) results showed that annealing of maize starch occurred during storage at 30C. On the other hand, industrial nixtamalization has both a melting and annealing effect on maize starch. Thus, the operative glass transition temperature (Tg), and the DSC parameters that define starch gelatinization (Tp and ?H) showed that the proportion between crystalline and amorphous regions within the starch granule and the extent of physical damage to starch were modified by nixtamalization. As an example, Tg for S was between 60 and 62.5C, while the S-DMF had a Tg of 4555C for damaged starch and 6570C for annealed starch. Additionally, the extraction of the nonconstitutive starch lipids provided starches with more consistent thermal properties, particularly in the behavior of gelatinization at different water content. This last observation might have important implications in the consistency of starch physicochemical properties and, consequently, in the quality of maize products such as tortillas.