July 8, 2009

1 Min Read
Herbicides Up Corns Nutritional Value

WASHINGTON—The use of two common herbicides to several varieties of sweet corn significantly increased the amount of carotenoids in the corn kernels, according to a study appearing in the July 22 issue of ACS’ Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

Scientists exposed several varieties of sweet corn plants to the herbicide mesotrione or a combination of mesotrione and atrazine, another commonly used weed killer, and harvested mature corn 45 days later. Herbicide applications boosted carotenoids levels in the mature kernels of some varieties by up to 15 percent. It specifically increased levels of lutein and zeaxanthin, the major carotenoids in sweet corn kernels, which studies have linked to a reduced risk of age-related macular degeneration.

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