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Home GreeniacsArticles Consumer Products Made from Corn
Written by Laura Li
Thursday, 01 November 2012
Made from Corn
The sun rays beam in through the window and
the song birds start to chirp, bringing the start of
a fresh new day. What you dont know is that
from the moment you wake up, corn will play a
huge role throughout your everyday life. Of
course corn is in many food items, such as
popcorn, cereal, and anything that is made of
corn syrup or corn starch, but it is much more
than just an ingredient used in cooking.
7:30 AM: Its time to wake up and brush your
teeth, so grab that toothbrush and that tube of
toothpaste! Toothpaste relies on a stable and
good-quality compound known as Sorbitol which
will keep the toothpaste thermally and chemically
stable.
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Sorbitol is a corn based mixture that is
distilled from corn kernels and is commonly used as a sweetener, but is also used in
toothpaste for taste and stabilizing because it is a low calorie, water-soluble, bulking
agent.
2
So, from the moment you brush your teeth in the morning, corn has already played
a role in your day.
8:00 AM: You probably want to listen to the radio while you drink your coffee and breakfast
(which is probably partially made with corn). If the radio is powered by a battery, corn is
allowing you to hear your daily traffic and weather forecast. Have kids? The crayons
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you
pack in their school bags use corn as a binder. The plastic bags that contain their lunch most
likely contain corn products and one day very soon so could their backpacks and your
clothing. Corn is in the development stages of making its way into the enormous textile
industry!
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8:30 AM: You get into your car to get to work. The convenience of driving from place to place
with ease is thanks to the corn used in the rubber of the tires (well not just but most likely
soon),
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the car battery (maybe),
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and certainly the gas in your tank comprised partially of
ethanol fuel.
9:00 AM: Now begins a day of work. In many environmentally friendly offices across the
globe, recycled paper is preferred to virgin paper. When
recycled paper was first introduced, the quality of the paper
was very lack luster. In order for that recycled paper to
compete with the durability and texture of regular ol copy
paper, corn starch is used to make sure recycled paper
isnt flimsy and weak. Want to post a reminder to yourself
for later that day? Well, pin it on your cork board! That cork
board is made of corn as well. From the ink to print
documents, to the shades on the windows to keep the work
space cool, corn makes up a large majority of everyday
items found in your very own officeand probably your
home as well!
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12:00 PM: Lunch time! Everyone knows that corn is an
edible product and is used in many foods in the form of a
sweetener, corn meal, corn starch, or just a dish on its own.
However, did you know that every bite of meat you have is
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A steel mill using recycled scrap
reduces related water pollution, air
pollution, and mining wastes by
about 70%.
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a result of corn production? Because of corns large availability and the ability to be grown
year round, corn meal is the feed of choice for meat producers everywhere. This is not
exactly healthy for the livestock.
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For example, cows are meant to be grazers and eat the
leafy greens of the plains, but they are fed corn on a daily basis, causing them to be in deficit
of the proper nutrients to ensure healthy life (and therefore, healthy meat for us).
5:00 PM: When the end of the work day comes, your home welcomes you. It is time to take
care of the children and pets. As you enter your home, you pass a lovely family portrait,
which was produced on photographic film.
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Photographic film requires antihalation backing
or powder to reduce reflections of light in pictures,
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which is commonly made of corn starch.
If this is a cat household, thank corn and corn meal for the fact your house does not smell
like the dead end of a street alley. Some cat litter is made of corn based products to absorb
and eliminate odors and moisture. However, there have been some studies done that corn
based kitty litter is not the safest due to corns reaction with moisture, creating aflatoxin
mold
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that can kill those that ingest it.
10:00 PM: The day has come to an end and before you sleep, you just want to rest and read
a nice book. Corn is also commonly used as an adhesive which is found in book binding,
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so thank corn for being able to flip a page of a book. The adhesive quality of corn is being
researched further so it can be used more in light of the excess of corn germ due to the
continual production of ethanol , another corn based product. Corn germ is a byproduct
of the separation of corn created during the production of ethanol.
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So why is corn used in so many products?
Corn is a crop that has been manipulated to
grow abundantly and regularly. The United
States is the worlds top corn producer,
claiming over 40% of global corn production,
15
and experts say that corn production could
increase dramatically this next year.
16
Each
ear of corn has many kernels that can be
changed into the proper material necessary to
create the products discussed earlier in this
article. The versatility of this crop makes it very
attractive for companies that can use corn
based materials in their products. Not only is it
widely available and diverse in its applications, but corn has become an ingredient that
people look for in products because it seems more green. Because of a new desire to
become more natural in our industries, more and more products are trying to incorporate
corn to replace other inorganic chemicals. There is no complete list of the many products
made of corn, but Utah State University provides one of the most complete lists. This
invariably leads to the food versus fuel and other product debate. As hunger becomes an
increasingly dire and widespread issue in the U.S. and the world, many people argue that
corn should only be used for food and not to power our vehicles or other non-essential to
survival products.
The popular film, Food Inc.,
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implies our dependence on corn is a negative, but I do not
think it is so black and white. Although corn may not be the best product to feed our
livestock, it remains beneficial in many ways. It intakes carbon dioxide and releases oxygen,
like all plants/crops do, so having large plots of land dedicated to growing corn is somewhat
environmentally beneficial. Although increased dependence on corn may not be nutritious for
us or for the animals we feed it to because we need a balanced diet, increased industrial use
of corn is a positive move because we are using more natural elements in our everyday lives.
Who knew one crop could become so integrated in our world! Finding more sustainable ways
to grow the corn crop should be a top priority as it does not appear that our use of this crop
is going to go down anytime soon, and perhaps that is a good thing for our environment.
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_______________________________________________________________________________
1
http://iadr.confex.com/iadr/2009miami/preliminaryprogram/abstract_116585.htm
2
http://healthhabits.files.wordpress.com/2009/01/products-that-use-corn.pdf
3
http://www.extension.iastate.edu/Publications/PM2061.pdf
4
http://www.fibre2fashion.com/industry-article/23/2216/corn-fiber-a-new-fiber-on-horizon1.asp
;
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2001/07/0713_wirecornfabric.html
5
http://www.aglines.com/2010/03/green-fuel-and-green-tires-from-corn/
6
http://www.futurity.org/earth-environment/grow-corn-for-electric-cars%E2%80%94not-ethanol/
7
http://www.aea11.k12.ia.us/prodev/science/Ag_Biotech/Module1/Fill_A_Basket/How%
20Corn%20is%20used%20student%20handout.pdf
8
http://www.argofoodservice.com/images/ARGOProductsrow2BG.jpg
9
http://www.sustainabletable.org/issues/feed/
10
http://www.education.uiowa.edu/html/eportfolio/tep/07es102folder/miniweb/usesofcorn.htm
11
http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/antihalation?s=t
12
http://www.ansci.cornell.edu/plants/toxicagents/aflatoxin/aflatoxin.html
13
http://www.kycorn.org/documents/cornuses.pdf
14
http://www.uwex.edu/ces/dairynutrition/documents/cornmillingforethanol.pdf
15
http://www.farmersfeedus.org/in/corn/10
16
http://www.agweb.com/article/corn_soybean_yields_increasing_/
17
http://www.farmersfeedus.org/img/farmers/extra/80de436b0b21
99674e01b832d92537ab-266-188-1.jpeg
18

http://www.pbs.org/pov/foodinc/index.php
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Last Updated ( Thursday, 01 November 2012 )
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