Antioxidant capacity and phytochemical content of 16 sources of corn distillers dried grains with solubles (DDGS)

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Corn distillers dried grains with solubles (DDGS) is a co-product of the fuel ethanol industry that is an excellent source of energy, digestible amino acids, and digestible phosphorus. However, the antioxidant capacity and phytochemical content of DDGS and how it is influenced by production parameters is unknown. Therefore, 16 DDGS samples obtained from different ethanol production plants in the U.S. were characterized for antioxidant capacity, vitamin E, xanthophylls, and ferulic acid content and compared with corn. The antioxidant capacity of DDGS samples, measured using the 2,2-diphenyl-l-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) assay, varied almost 2 folds among samples, but in all cases was more than 3 times that of corn. All DDGS samples had a considerably greater concentration of tocopherols and tocotrienols (lipid-soluble antioxidants) than corn. However, the relative concentrations among the tocopherols and tocotrienols tended to be similar to corn. The xanthophyll lutein was present in all DDGS samples and in all cases exceeded the content in corn. Zeaxanthin was detected in most samples. The total ferulic acid content of the DDGS samples was almost 3-fold greater than corn, but, as in corn, almost all was present in a bound form. However, the concentration of unbound (free) ferulic acid was more than 3 times the concentration found in the corn sample. Thus, DDGS is a rich source of phytochemical compounds and may provide antioxidant and health benefits beyond its macronutrient composition. However, differences in processing can greatly influence the phytochemical content and quality of DDGS. In particular, thermal abuse due to excessive heat used in drying may lead to lipid oxidation products that may have deleterious effects when incorporated into feeds.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)435-441
Number of pages7
JournalAnimal Nutrition
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This project was supported by the Minnesota Corn Research and Promotion Council and the Agricultural Utilization Research Institute (Project number AIC-115 ).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Chinese Association of Animal Science and Veterinary Medicine


  • Antioxidant capacity
  • Corn distillers dried grains with solubles
  • Ferulic acid
  • Lutein
  • Vitamin E
  • Xanthophylls


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