nixtamalization, micronutrient, fortification, corn tortillas


Nixtamalization is the process of steeping dried corn in hot water with calcium hydroxide (lime) with subsequent removal of all or most of the pericarp through washing. The resulting product is called nixtamal. Approximately 60% of corn tortillas in Mexico are produced from nixtamal, with the remainder prepared from nixtamalized corn flour. Nixtamal was fortified with micronutrient premix containing iron, zinc, folic acid, niacin, riboflavin, and thiamin. Premix composition followed a proposed Mexican regulation for corn flour fortification, adjusted for moisture. Effects of premix on masa adhesiveness, hardness, and pH, as well as tortilla sensory properties, stretchability, rollability, and color were measured. Micronutrient levels were tested in the dry corn, nixtamal, masa, and tortillas. There were no significant differences in masa texture or pH, tortilla rollability, or consumer acceptance of tortillas when comparing unfortified control and fortified treatments. Added thiamin was almost entirely degraded during processing. Folic acid and riboflavin decreased 26 and 45%, respectively, through the masa-tortilla manufacturing process. Niacin showed no significant loss. Despite processing losses, fortification resulted in significant nutrient increases compared with control tortillas. Folic acid increased 974%, riboflavin increased 300%, niacin increased 141%, iron increased 156%, and zinc increased 153% in fortified tortillas.

Original Publication Citation

K.E. Burton, F.M. Steele, L. Jefferies, O.A. Pike, and M.L. Dunn. "Effect of Micronutrient Fortification on Nutritional and Other Properties of Nixtamal Tortillas." Cereal Chemistry. 85.1 (28): 7-75.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date


Permanent URL


American Association of Cereal Chemists




Life Sciences


Nutrition, Dietetics, and Food Science