Feasibility and opportunities for Peruvian purple corn in Australia

The University of Queensland

  • Project code: PRJ-009378

  • Project stage: Closed

  • Project start date: Monday, May 5, 2014

  • Project completion date: Wednesday, September 30, 2015

  • National Priority: NEPI-Feasibility studies and industry literature reviews


Peruvian purple corn is a variety of maize that originated in Peru under the Incan Empire. It is currently used for food (both traditional and non-traditional), beverages (non-alcoholic and alcoholic), as a natural food colourant (especially in the EU where use of artificial colourants is restricted), and as a health product (cardiovascular-related disease). It is becoming increasingly popular in the United States, Europe, and Japan, and more recently in south-east Asia with the development of purple waxy corn. Peruvian purple corn has been claimed to have an extremely high concentration of anthocyanin, with an anti-oxidant capacity approximately four times that of blueberry. The subsequent dual use of purple corn as a colourant and health product is therefore fortuitous. There is currently no purple corn industry in Australia. The current proposal aims to undertake a feasibility study into the potential and opportunities for developing purple corn products in Australia, and what limitations may be needed to be addressed.


New and Emerging Plant Industries

Research Organisation

The University of Queensland

Objective Summary

A domestic and international audit of production levels, market value and locations.
A literature review of research undertaken in relation to purple corn.
A scan of demand for purple corn products, and potential scale and location of markets (domestic and overseas).
Investigative research assessing access to Peruvian corn germplasm, ability to be grown in Australia, and anthocyanin levels produced relative to other anthocyanin-producing products.
Identification of potential impediments to production and profitability.
Identification for next steps towards commercialisation, including next steps for research.