Maize, also known as corn, is one of the most plentifully produced cereals on earth. It is not just a cereal but a source of life for most of the people living on this planet. Originated in America, maize now has a wide reach. The good thing is that it is grown in most of the regions except Antarctica, which anyways
is not a viable place for farming. We often say maize as ‘amazing maize’ because it is one of the most efficient cereal species ever domesticated.
Land plants evolved some 500 million years ago but maize got its existence near about 9000 years before. Though, many have the view that this golden cereal was invented around some 12000 years back. As per scientists, maize is derived from its ancestral plant called the teosinte. Also, historians at large believe that
maize was first grown in Mexico. Then, after a while, the Europeans got to know about maize during their arrival in America and the rest is history because now maize is grown worldwide. For centuries;
maize has been continuously nourishing humanity, which is no less than a blessing to mankind.
As we know that maize is grown worldwide but it is also important to identify the impact which makes it the staple food on our plates. If we look at the production figures, we can easily find out that America tops the chart when it comes to maize production. According
to a report, America produced near about 366.6 million metric tons of maize during the year 2018-19. The second-largest producer country was China, with an estimated production of 257.7 million metric tons. Then it is Brazil,
which produced 94.5 million metric tons of maize. Argentina, Ukraine, and India produced 46 million metric tons, 35.5 million metric tons, 6 million metric tons respectively. Along with these countries, The European Union,
South Africa, and Mexico also witness a large production.
It is the third most important cereal produced after rice and wheat. It contributes a significant share in the national food basket. It is cultivated throughout the year in almost every state. Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan,
Maharashtra, Bihar, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh enjoy the dominance in terms of production. Also, many Indian industries are dependent on the extraordinary grain. Maize is the prime
source of raw materials for the cosmetic, textile, pharmaceutical, package, and paper industries in India. In addition to it, the food and the cattle feed industry majorly rely on maize.
As the name suggests, it has this unique quality to pop due to the extensive expansion in the moisture while heating. The kernels are small in size, having a higher proportion of hard endosperm starch.
The kernels of this corn contain soft endosperm starch inside, which is enclosed by a hard and tough outer shell. It shrinks uniformly as they keep growing.
It is also known as cow corn and husk corn. The kernels are walled in a pod or husk. Usually, it is not grown commercially.
It is the widely cultivated corn across the world, also referred as the yellow dent corn. At maturity, the crown of the kernel gets a deposition due to the ripening.
The kernels of this corn contain soft starchy endosperm. Just like the flint corns, its kernels are round and smooth. On the sides, it has a thin layer of hard starch. People often refer to it as soft corn.
The kernels of this corn get wrinkled at the maturity stage. The endosperm mainly contains the sugar and the starch, which gives it a sweet taste. In the United States of America, corn is a majorly grown crop.
The endosperm has a waxy look when the kernel is broken or cut. Due to its unique sticky character, they are majorly used for making adhesives. Also, the textile and paper industry uses this corn.
• First and foremost, it is largely consumed as food. Corn flour/ Flakes, Corn syrup and cornstarch are the known consumable items that we often talk about.
• It is also used for feeding the animals as it acts as a major source of food to them, especially cattle and poultry animals. It is also helpful in soap making
as its oil is an important ingredient. Maize is also used in lubrication and in breweries and distilleries.