Corn peptides (CPs) are reported to have many biological functions, such as facilitating alcohol metabolism, antioxidation, antitumor, antihypertension, and hepatoprotection. To develop a method for quality control, the high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) system was applied. Twenty-eight common peaks were found in all the CPs of corn samples from Enshi, China, based on which, a fingerprinting chromatogram was established for use in quality control in future research. Subsequently, the major chemical constituents of these common peaks were identified respectively using the HPLC-diode-array detection electrospray ionization tandem mass spectrometry (DAD-ESI-MS/MS) system, and 48 peptide fractions were determined ultimately. This was the first time for the majority of these peptides to be reported, and many of them contained amino acids of glutamine (Q), L and A, which might play an important role in the exhibition of the bioactivities of CPs. Many peptides had a similar primary structure to the peptides which had been proven to be bioactive such as facilitating alcohol metabolism, scavenging free radicals, and inhibiting lipid peroxidation. This systematical analysis of the primary structure of CPs facilitated subsequent studies on the relationship between the structures and functions, and could accelerate holistic research on CPs. © 2015, Food and Drug Administration, Taiwan. Published by Elsevier Taiwan LLC.

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