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Volume III
October 25, 2013

Weekly Home / Cook'n & Eat'n


Top Ten Things You Didn’t Know Are Made From Corn

Corn really is something of a wonder crop. You can eat it (one of my very favorite things to do in the summer time), you can manufacture consumer products with it, use it in concocting medicines and even wear it (yes, it is used in the production of fabrics). This post presents ten uses for corn that you may not know about, some quite surprising.

10. Paper Products
Paper products use raw starch in the manufacturing process. The properties of high paste viscosity and strong gels are useful in specially coated papers. Pyrodextrins are also used for paper manufacturing for the adhesive property on remoistenable gums for postage stamps and packaging tape.

9. Spark Plugs
Corn starch is used in the production of the special porcelain used to make spark plugs

8. Rubber Tires
In the production of tires, corn starch is sprinkled on the molds before pouring the rubber, to prevent the rubber from sticking to the molds.

7. Toothpaste
Sorbitol, which is produced from the corn sugar dextrose, is used in toothpaste as a low-calorie, water-soluble, bulking agent.

6. Paint & Varnish
Tetrahydrofurfuryl alcohol is a resin developed from processing corncobs. These resins are useful in the paint and varnish industry as solvents for dyes, resins, and lacquers.

5. Instant Coffee & Tea
Maltodextrins are derived from the wet milling process. They are a dextrose equivalent product of complete solubility but little or no sweetness. Maltodextrins are sprayed on instant tea and coffee to keep the granules free flowing. This solution is also used in instant soup mixes or other packages where the contents must be be kept free flowing.

4. Pesticide, Fertilizer & Cosmetics
Corncobs, when finely ground, are relatively dust free and very absorbent. This absorbency makes corncobs useful carriers for pesticides, fertilizers, vitamins, hand soaps, and cosmetics .

3. Beer
Beer manufacturing is a process of treating malt to convert and extract the barley starch to fermentable sugars using the amyloytic enzymes present in malt followed by yeast fermentation. However, demand for lighter, less filling beer, especially in the U.S., has permitted use of more refined carbohydrate sources of two types: 1) dry adjuncts, primarily dry milled corn grits, broken rice, refined corn starch, and more recently, dextrose, and 2) liquid adjuncts, such as corn syrups.

2. Pharmaceuticals
Aspirin: an oxidized starch paste, which dries to a clear, adherent, continuous film, is spread in a thin layer over the aspirin. Intravenous: some IVs consist of dextrose and water solutions.

Antibiotics: preferred carbohydrate sources are corn syrup, dextrose, corn starch, lactose, and sucrose. Cornsteep liquor was early found to provide a ready source of soluble nitrogenous nutrients plus unknown growth factors that stimulate antibiotic production. Over 85 different types of antibiotics are produced using corn.

1. Gypsum / Drywall
Starch-containing corn flour is gelatinized during the manufacturing process; It functions by controlling the rate of water loss during drying of the board. Soluble carbohydrates migrate to the surface and control the rate of crystallization of the gypsum, providing a strong bond between the gypsum and the liner.

  • Image:

Barbara Williams
"Dan's Right Hand"
Creative DVO Employee since 2007

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