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Corn is Everywhere
CORN part of our daily lives
Constitution of a corn kernel

The endosperm accounts for about 82 percent of the kernel's dry weight and is the source of energy (starch) and protein for the germinating seed. Starch is the most widely used part of the kernel and is used as a starch in foods-or as the key component in fuel, sweeteners, bioplastics and other products.

The pericarp is the outer covering that
protects the kernel and preserves the
nutrient value inside. It resists water
and water vapor-and is undesirable
to insects and microorganisms.

The germ is the only living part of the
corn kernel. The germ contains the
essential genetic information, enzymes,
vitamins and minerals for the kernel
to grow into a corn plant. About 25
percent of the germ is corn oil-the
most valuable part of the kernel,
which is high in polyunsaturated fats
and has a mild taste.

The tip cap is the attachment point of the kernel to the cob, through
which water and nutrients flow-and is the only area of the kernel not
covered by the pericarp.

Corn is everywhere
Corn: A Plant for All Seasons and All Reasons
Ask the average person to name a product made from corn and he or she may respond with corn syrup, tortillas or maybe even ethanol. But how many people realize that corn is in their carpet cleaner? How many know that corn helps put "bounce" into their laundry softener sheets? How many would realize that the "bottle" in their bottled water just might be made of corn-based plastic? It's true, there are almost as many uses for corn as there are Web sites that pop up when you Google the phrase, "Many Uses of Corn" (1,550,000 to be exact) Look around you. Chances are, you're looking at corn. It is an essential ingredient in many of the products consumers use today. You find it in everything from textiles to toothpaste, from dyes to disposable diapers.
In the supermarket
On the supermarket shelf, literally thousands of food staples use some part of the corn kernel. Many of today's instant and ready-to-eat foods use cornstarches to help them maintain proper texture during freezing, thawing and heating. Other starches are the backbone of instant pie and pudding fillings. In the meat case, you'll find succulent cuts of pork, poultry and beef from animals that were fed lysine, a proteinrich feed supplement made from corn-derived dextrose and growing in popularity worldwide. But corn's contributions don't stop where the food aisles end. It's also vital to products such as paper and cardboard, which use cornstarch in sizing and surface coating. Hundreds of adhesive applications are also made possible by cornstarches.
Personal care
Stroll down the personal hygiene aisle and you'll find toothpastes and mouthwashes made tastier with tooth-friendly liquid sorbitol, one of a family of corn-derived sugar alcohols known as polyols. While we're walking, let's stop in the health and beauty section, where we'll find other polyols being used as moisture-retainers in cosmetics or hardening agents in pills and tablets. Further down the aisle are the omega- 3 fatty acid supplements, produced through a fermentation process that starts with cornderived dextrose. Got achy joints? You might want to purchase some shellfish-free glucosamine made from corn. Looking to lose some weight? Corn-bran based dietary gels are now being touted as replacements for fats and oils in some recipes. If your dog is in need of a bath, you might want to pick up some organic pet shampoo with its "corn oil soap base [that] cleanses gently, without irritating a dog's sensitive skin." Might want to pick up some for yourself while you're at it - some of the human shampoo varieties contain corn, too.
What can you get from one bushel of corn?
  1.6 Pounds of Corn Oil   32 Pounds of Starch  
  Cooking Oil, Margarine, Mayonnaise, Salad Dressing, Shortening, Soups, Printing Ink, Soap, Leather Tanning   Adhesives, Batteries, Cardboard, Crayons, Degradable Plastics, Dyes, Plywood, Paper, Antibiotics, Chewing Gum  
  AND   OR  
  13.5 Pounds of 21% Protein   33 Pounds of Sweetener  
  Gluten Feed
Livestock & Poultry Feed, Pet Food
AND Shoe Polish, Soft Drinks & Juices, Jams and Jellies, Canned Fruit, Cereal, Licorice, Peanut Butter, Pickles, Catsup, Marshmallows  
  AND   OR  
  2.6 Pounds of 60% Gluten Meal   2.7 Gallons of Ethanol/Alcohol  
  Amino Acids, Fur Cleaner, Poultry Feed   Motor Fuel Additive, Alcoholic Beverages, Industrial Alcohol  
In a World Without Corn...
Often, consumers don't even know corn is present, let alone know the role it plays. But if corn and its products weren't available, many common products would be less useful, more expensive, even unavailable.
No frozen pizza! Freezing pizza is a problem, because the moisture in the sauce can migrate into the crust, making it so soggy it's unappealing to eat. Modified corn starch is used to provide a barrier that prevents water migration and keeps the crust crisp.
On a low-fat diet? Say thank you for corn. Many low-fat foods depend on corn-derived food starches to provide qualities that used to come from fats. Examples include everything from low-fat salad dressing to baked goods and meat products.

Frustrating wallpaper. If you've installed wallpaper, you know how important it is to have time to adjust each strip accurately. Repositioning is possible because the wallpaper paste is made with corn starch modified to slow down its adhesive action.

Daily bread buying. Corn syrup prevents waste and saves consumers money by keeping bread fresh longer. By retaining moisture, corn syrup keeps baked goods from drying out too quickly and going stale.
No coloring for kids. Whether playing with chalk on the sidewalk or crayons in school, children rely on corn. Corn starch is used as a binder to help such products hold together better when in use. It may also be used to dust molds during the manufacturing process so that brand-new crayons pop out undamaged.
Drippy lollipops. Candy makers began using corn syrups in lollipops and other hard candies generations ago because the syrups hold moisture and prevent drips.
Packing, storing and moving with corn. Corn starch provides the adhesive to glue down every little ridge in corrugated cardboard. Whether you're taking delivery on a new appliance, boxing old clothes for the church bazaar, or moving across country, you're using corn.
Crystals in ice cream. As a box of ice cream goes in and out of freezers on the way home from the store and in the kitchen, it's natural for crystals to develop in it. Part of the role corn sweeteners play in ice cream and other frozen desserts is to keep crystals from developing.
Ack, hack, cough, gag. Corn contributes in many ways to reducing pollution. Ethanol, used to reduce air pollution, is probably the best-known example. Others include the use of corn starch in industrial filters to reduce water pollution, and corn-based plastics like PLA (polylactic acid), which composts back into natural components after use.
Want S'more? Not without corn! Marshmallows stay fresh longer because corn syrup keeps them from drying out too quickly. Corn ingredients are also used to make graham crackers, which means you can't enjoy S'mores without corn!
What, no plaster board? As viewers of This Old House learned in one episode, corn starch, which helps bind the gypsum filling together, is an essential ingredient in manufacturing gypsum or plaster board for building walls.