Corn Wet Milling Lab ( Eric OLSON )


The United States produces 9.3 billion bushels of corn each year, most of it in the Midwest corn belt.  Most  students believe that all the corn that is grown feeds farm animals or people at the annual picnic, and a good  amount of it does, but what happens to the corn not consumed by cattle, pigs or people?  A large amount of  corn never makes it to the dinner table. Corn Wet Milling is an industrial process that converts corn to a  wide variety of by-products.  The wet milling industry is the largest non-feed user of corn, using  approximately 1 billion bushels annually.  This lab looks at the separation steps in the industrial processing  of corn.   Background   Corn wet milling is a complex industrial process.  Large wet millers process approximately 100,000  bushels of corn daily, and the primary product is starch and starch derived chemicals.  This cornstarch is  then processed and used as food and industrial products.  It is routinely used as an adhesive, for  manufacture of papers, and as filler for pharmaceuticals.   It can be converted into an enormous assortment  of industrial chemicals now produced from petroleum sources. Most plastics used in the U.S. are made  from materials that come from petroleum. Petroleum products are a major problem in our rapidly filling  landfills.


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