A group of Vietnamese scientists has created a sweet corn cultivar that could be eaten raw without any processing.
Nguyen Van Ha, from the Institute of Plant Research and Development at the Vietnam National University of Agriculture, said the SSW18 cultivar has high water content and low starch content.
When eaten raw, its taste is similar to ripe fruits, he said.
Compared to normal corn with a sweetness level of 12-15 Brix degrees, the new cultivar has a sweetness level at 18 Brix degrees. Despite its high sugar content, its impact is different from glucose or sucrose, meaning those with diabetes or those on a diet can consume the cultivar normally, Ha said.
He explained that the new cultivar was created through breeding and without genetic alteration. Due to its low starch content, the corn can be eaten without cooking and without tasting “raw.”
Some of the cultivar’s traits are still being worked on so it can be commercially available, Ha added.
Ha said his research group has been working on the cultivar for the last 7-8 years. Planting corn that can be eaten directly has become popular across the globe.
“Besides convenience, the lack of a cooking process could retain certain nutrition in the corn, like vitamins or amino acids,” he said.
The cultivar is being planted on trial runs in certain localities like Hanoi, Sa Pa, Ha Giang and Vinh Phuc in northern Vietnam. It grows better in areas with cooler climates, like Sa Pa. It takes 70-80 days of growth before the corn can be harvested. The new cultivar produces around 10-12 tons of corn per hectare.
Scientists are now evaluating the cultivar’s performance in different ecosystems to choose the best place to grow it. They are using new technologies to make the corn taste better and help it become more resistant to pests and diseases.