Procedure for Exercise D

  1. Grind the com kernels into a powder. If available, use a mano and metate. the traditional millstones of Native Americans. Alternatively, use a hand grinder or clean coffee grinder. Make a fine com meal or flour.
  2. Make a moist, doughy paste by adding a few ml of water to the flour.
  3. Now you are ready to release the niacin. Add lime-water to the paste a millimeter at a time, mixing into rhc flour. Watch the color of the paste. The flour will turn a darker shade of blue when the pH is equal to 8. At this pH, niacin is released. When you think you have reached the critical pH based on the color, check rhc pH with a pH meter to sec how dose you arc. It takes practice to perceive the exact point. The Hopi women were masters of the chemistry, even though they did not know its significance. The Hopi produced their limcwatcr by mixing ash from a fire with water. Wc know that this produces an alkaline solution that can be used to adjust the alkalinity of the flour. How the Hopi correlated the blue color with niacin is unknown. The blue pigment in the alcuronc layer works as a pH indicator and is not connected in any other way with the niacin. However, the ancicnt customs of die Hopi unleashed the essential vitamin, and the flour paste was used to make a flat bread similar to a modern tortilla, but even thinner.

The Hopi probably also prevenred pellagra by diversifying their diet, sincc the combination of beans and maize gives a better balancc of the essential amino acids and essential vitamins.

Blue corn is growing in popularity, especially in the Soudiwest. The markets include Mexican restaurants and health food stores, where blue corn is an ingredient in tortillas, pancakc mixes, cornbrcad mixes, and chips. Studies at Colorado State University indicate that the protein content of commcrcial blue corn is consistcndy 30% higher than that of dent corns in adjacent fields (Johnson and Croissant, 1990). The future of corn may be singing the blues.

TERMS TO KNOW

alcuronc laver 149

glutcnins 150

blade 147

hexaploid 150

blue corn 151

intercalary

bran 149

mcristcm 148

carvopsis (grain) 148

intcrnodc 148

chaff 148

lemma 148

culm 148

mano 151

diploid 150

mctatc 151

domestication 150

midrib 147

durum wheat 150

niacin 151

cinkorn wheat 150

node 148

embryo 149

nonshattcring 150

emmer wheat 150

palca 148

endosperm 149

pellagra 151

fibrous root system 148

rhizomes 148

free-threshing 150

semolina flour 150

germ 149

spikclets 148

gliadins 150

stolons 148

glumes 148 '

tetraploid 150

gluten 150

veins 147

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