New uses for maize

Scientists continually look for new uses of maize, especially environmentally friendly uses. One of these is as a biofuel (see also What is a biofuel?). Another new use is as a biodegradable plastic. Currently, most plastic is made from synthetic polymers (large chain-like molecules composed of repeating structural units), which are long-lasting, nonbiodegradable, and can be toxic. On the other hand, polymers created from maize (specifically from the lactic acid that is generated during the fermentation process) are biodegradable and safer for the environment.

Cornstarch, produced from the starch in the maize kernel, can also be used to make foam products similar to packing peanuts and package inserts. These maize-derived products are much better for the environment as they are biodegradable and made from renewable resources.

Corn Board Manufacturing, Inc. is a company that produces items made from corn, including patio sets, particle board, and the Guiness World Record breaking longboard, the StalkIt IT.

For more information, see, part of the Kentucky Corn Growers Association webpage.