Korean scientists have developed a strain of corn they say contains 10 times more potentially cancer-preventive substances than ordinary strains.
A research team at the Kangwon National University headed by Prof. Rhee Hae-ik on Sunday said they developed a purple strain of corn that is 10 times richer in anthocyanins, a natural pigment well known for its ability to prevent cancer, than ordinary varieties.
Anthocyanin pigments are found in blackberries and strawberries, and their antioxidant activity suppresses growth of cancer cells. They are also an effective antiseptic and sterilizer, and can improve eyesight. Rhee said 100 g of the leaf of the strain has about 17 g of anthocyanin pigment, giving it a purple color. This is over 10 times more than existing corn varieties that contain the pigment.
Last month, the John Innes Centre in Norwich, U.K. developed a purple tomato high in antocyanins. The study was praised for showing how significant beneficial effects can be brought about by simple changes in daily diet. But Rhee said while the purple tomatoes were genetically modified -- genes of a different type of plant were inserted -- the newly developed corn was bred the traditional way.
The study of Rhee's team was published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry on Nov. 13.