Broa, an ethnic maize bread, as a source of phenolic compounds

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8 Citations (Scopus)


Maize is an important source of phenolic compounds, specially hydroxycinnamic acids, which are widely known for their antioxidant activity and associated health benefits. However, these effects depend on their bioaccessibility, which is influenced by the different techniques used for food processing. Several traditional products can be obtained from maize and, in Portugal, it is used for the production of an ethnic bread called broa. In order to evaluate the effect of processing on maize phenolic composition, one commercial hybrid and five open-pollinated maize flours and broas were studied. The total phenolic content and antioxidant activity were evaluated by the FolinCiocalteu and ORAC assays, respectively. The major phenolics, namely ferulic and p-coumaric acids (in their soluble-free, soluble-conjugated and insoluble forms), insoluble ferulic acid dimers and soluble hydroxycinnamic acid amides were quantitated. Results show that the total phenolic content, antioxidant activity and hydroxycinnamic acids resisted traditional processing conditions used in the production of broas. The content in soluble-free phenolics increased after processing, meaning that their bioaccessibility improved. Portuguese traditional broas, produced with open-pollinated maize varieties, can be considered an interesting dietary source of antioxidant compounds due to the higher content in hydroxycinnamic acids and derivatives.

Original languageEnglish
Article number672
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2021


  • Broa
  • Dehydrodiferulic acids
  • Ferulic acid
  • Hydroxycinnamic acid amides
  • Maize
  • P-coumaric acid


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