Corn : Maize (family of Poaceae, formerly grasses – Botanical name: Zea mays L. ou Zea mays subsp. mays) (*), or corn in Canada, is a plants herbaceous tropical annual, to large leaves lanceolate, widely grown as cereal for his grains rich in starch, but also as a forage plant.
The term "maize" also refers to the grain of maize itself.
(*) “Zea mays”: binomial name assigned in 1753 by the Swedish naturalist Carl von Linné (1707 – 1778) who created a new genus for this plant which was very different from the other grasses known at the time. The generic name, Zea, comes from a Greek name "zeia" which designated in Antiquity a kind of wheat, probably the emmer.
This species, native to Mexico, was the staple food of the Amerindians before the arrival in America of Christopher Columbus. The plant was deified in the ancient civilizations of Central and South America, and was cultivated by North American Indians with squash and beans using the so-called "three sisters" technique. Introduced in Europe in the XNUMXth century, it is now cultivated worldwide and has become the world's leading cereal, ahead of rice and wheat. With the advent of hybrid seeds in the first half of the XNUMXth century, then transgenic seeds recently, maize has become the symbol of intensive agriculture in Western Europe, the United States and China, but it is also grown very extensively in western South Africa or semi-extensively in Argentina and Eastern Europe.
Origin and distribution : The botanical origin of corn, a plant that does not exist in the wild in its current form, has long been subject to controversy.
Many theories have been put forward to explain the origin of maize in Mesoamerica, but two schools continue to clash:
– that of wild maize, which existed before the arrival of man, which is supported by the American botanist Paul Christoph Mangelsdorf (1899-1989);
– that of the teosinte ancestor of maize, supported by the American geneticist George Wells Beadle (1903-1989).
However, a very large body of evidence from molecular biology today accredits the theory that teosinte is the ancestor of cultivated corn.
The very large morphological differences present between maize and teosinte are due to a surprisingly low number of genes. Crosses between cultivated maize plants and teosinte plants have shown that the main morphological differences between these two plants are encoded by genes present in ten small areas of the genome. For two of these areas, only one gene is present. In particular the tb gene which controls the architecture of these plants and their sexual determinism. This gene is identical between maize and teosinte but natural selection has taken place on the promoter which regulates this gene, a promoter which has a different intensity of expression between teosinte (hence its bushy appearance with numerous male inflorescences on the branches), and maize marked by a strong apical dominance (small number of sparsely branched stems bearing numerous female inflorescences).
The domestication of maize by selection of mutated teosinte plants that would lead to today's maize would have begun nine millennia ago in the Balsas River basin in southwestern Mexico.
It is native to regions clearly recognized and separated by the equator:
– in the north: Mexico, Central America, Venezuela, Colombia;
– to the south: Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia, Chile, Brazil.
Origins in Mexico : The story of maize begins with the cultivation of teosinte 9 years ago in Mexico in the upper Rio Balsas valley. From -000, corn is found in all the lowlands of Central America (Yucatan, Caribbean, Andes). The Mesoamerican peoples of central Mexico and the Yucatan were very dependent on it. Around the year 3000, the “Anasazis” are the probable link in the adaptation of maize to temperate zones and the creation of “Northern flints”. In Arizona, country of the "Pueblos" (Hopis and Zunis), corn was then considered the child of the gods, a symbol of life. North American Indians ate popcorn.
The mixed agricultural technique of complementary crops, known as "the three sisters", represents the three main crops traditionally practiced by various Native American ethnic groups of North and Central America: squash, corn and climbing beans (usually tepary or common bean).
When Europeans explored the Americas, corn was therefore already grown from north to south of the continent, from the shores of the St. Lawrence (Canada) to those of the Rio de la Plata (Argentina). Corn was first seen by Europeans by Christopher Columbus in 1492 in Cuba. Magellan found it in Rio de Janeiro in 1520 and Jacques Cartier reported in 1535 that Hochelaga, the future Montreal, was in the middle of cornfields, which he compared to “millet from Brazil”. A missionary praises Indian corn in Huronia: "(translated into modern French) When they thus go to war and to enemy countries, for their ordinary provisions, they carry as for them, each one behind his back, a bag full of wheat flour roasted and roasted in the ashes, which they eat raw, and without being soaked, or moistened with a little hot or cold water, and thus avoid making fire to prepare their food, although they sometimes make it at night in the depths of the woods so as not to be seen, and make this flour last until their return, after about six weeks or two months: for afterwards they come to refresh themselves in the country, end the war for this time, or return there again with other provisions.
That if the Christians used such sobriety, they could maintain very powerful armies at little cost, and make war against the enemies of the Church and of the Christian name, without the crowd of the people, nor the ruin of the country, and God would not be so offended there, as he is greatly, by most of our soldiers, who seem rather (in the good man) people without God, than Christians born for Heaven. These poor Savages (to our confusion) thus behave modestly in war, without inconveniencing anyone, and converse in their own particular way, without any other pledge or expectation of reward, than honor and praise which they esteem more than all the gold in the world.
It would also be desirable that this corn be sown by all the Provinces of France, for the maintenance and food of the poor who are there in abundance: because with a little of this corn one could easily feed them and maintain as much as the Savages, who are of the same nature as us, and thus they would not suffer from scarcity, nor would they be forced to beg through the cities, towns and villages, as they do every day because besides this wheat greatly nourishes and satiates, no need for sauce or meat, fish, butter, salt or spices. »
Introduction in Europe : The first introduction of maize in Southern Europe, and in the Old World, is due to Christopher Columbus on his return from his first (March 4, 1493) or second (June 11, 1496) trip to America according to his own testimony8 . Nevertheless, this "foreign" cereal compared to the primary cereal that was wheat, the Christian cereal par excellence, spreads only slowly and its origin is quickly lost since each locality believes that it comes from a neighboring region, from where the appellations of "wheat from Egypt" by the Turks but "wheat from Turkey" in Germany, "wheat from Sicily" in Tuscany but "wheat from Rome" in Lorraine and in the Vosges, etc.
From southern Spain, it spread to all regions of southern Europe with a sufficiently warm and humid climate, Portugal (1515) where it is called corn ("big Moroccan millet"), the Spanish Basque Country (1576), Galicia, the South-West of France and Bresse (1612), Franche-Comté then Spanish possession, and where it is called "corn of Spain", the rest of France remaining reluctant to cultivate it for a long time in favor of wheat, Venetia (1554), then the entire Po plain. From Italy, it spread eastwards: Serbia, Romania (1692), Turkey. "Brouet of the poor" in Europe, it sometimes becomes a central dish or a food marker in Italy with the polenta corn, in Portugal with broa, in Romania with mămăligă, in the South-West of France (talo, loaves from Gascony, corn crêpes from Aquitaine) or in Franche-Comté and Bresse with its gaudes.
The theory of the spread of maize from Spain to Northern Europe is now completely abandoned. We now know that the populations of northern and central Europe derive directly from the Northern flints of Canada and the northern United States, brought back by explorers from this area, notably by Jacques Cartier in Normandy. The corn of Christopher Columbus and his successors of Caribbean origin is now only found in southern Spain and most varieties from southern Europe come from Argentina (Italian and Balkan glassy).
In Africa, corn was introduced on the one hand in Egypt around 1540, by Turkey and Syria, on the other hand in the region of the Gulf of Guinea by the Portuguese around 1550.
First studies of corn: The first drawing of corn in Europe is due to the German botanist Fuchs in 1542. In China, the first drawing of corn is dated 1637, but its cultivation was already widespread there. The first scientific description of the plant is due to the Spanish doctor and botanist Francisco Hernández de Toledo in 1517. The first work devoted to corn in Europe, Corn or Turkish wheat appreciated in all its respects, was written by Parmentier in 1784.
Hybridization and modern cultivation : The introduction of American hybrid maize in Europe after the Second World War was the subject of much resistance because farmers now had to buy the seeds without being able to pass them on from one generation to another, had to use new products and a adapted mechanization but this maize with a higher yield is gradually imposing itself.
The success of maize is primarily due to its ease of cultivation and its yield which is very much higher than that of wheat or the secondary cereals which it has replaced, such as millet (from which it took the name in Portuguese, milho) and sorghum, then in the 1950th century to genetic progress which enabled it to adapt to increasingly northern growing conditions, while allowing an interesting production of dry matter, thanks to early varieties. Yields quadrupled between 2000 and XNUMX.
Maize designations : Its most common vernacular name is maize. This term comes from the Spanish maíz, itself borrowed from the language of the Taínos of Haiti who cultivated it. Many other vernacular names have been applied to this cereal, including Indian wheat, Turkish wheat and Barbary wheat. Mostly obsolete, these names testify to the confusion that reigned for a long time in Europe on the origin of the plant.
It is called "Mahi" in the Louisiana of the French regime and still today in Creole, for example Reunionese Creole.
In French-speaking Canada, the two terms maize and corn from India are used; the second is mainly used for corn served whole on the cob, for example in a corn roast.
– Synonyms: Barbary wheat, Guinea wheat, Turkish wheat, Indian wheat.
- But sweet : sweet corn. English: sugar corn, sugar maiza, sweet corn. German: Zuckermais, Süßmais, Welsch Korn. Spanish: maiz dulce. Italian: grano turco, but dolce. Dutch: maize, turksche tarwe.
– Popcorn: popcorn, popcorn, tactac, booming corn, pearl corn. English: popcorn. German: Puffmais, Perlmais. Spanish: maiz reventón, maiz palomero. Italian: but ibrido. Dutch: pofmais. Portuguese: pipoca.
Description of corn : Corn is an annual herbaceous plant monoecious say variable in size (from 40 cm up to 6 m, generally between 1 and 3 m for commonly grown varieties).
The single, large-diameter stem is full, lignified and made up of several twenty-centimeter internodes separated by as many nodes. At each node is inserted a leaf alternately on one side and the other of the stem. There are between 14 and 22 leaves depending on the variety (as the plant grows, the lower leaves wither and eventually fall off. Thus, a plant with 10 leaves may have lost one to three leaves, without it seeming to first sight).
The leaves, typical of Poaceae, but large in size (up to 10 cm wide and one meter long), have a sheath enclosing the stem and a limbus elongated in the form of a ribbon with parallel ribs. At the base of the leaf blade is the ligule which is a few millimeters high.
The root system includes a very large number of adventitious roots that are born on the nodes located at the base of the stem, forming successive crowns, both on the buried nodes and on the first aerial nodes, in an area where the internodes are very short. . These roots form a fasciculate system that can reach a depth of more than one meter. These anchoring roots prevent lodging.
Like other Poaceae, the foot of corn is capable of tillering, however it has undergone a selection which means that the appearance of secondary stems is rarer in most cultivated varieties. This character is expressed more frequently when the corn is in very favorable growing conditions, this is generally interpreted as a sign that a higher density of culture is possible. Growers tend to view these secondary stems as harmful, accusing them of unnecessarily "sucking up" nutrients, and they often cut them off. Scientific studies seem to show that tillering is neither beneficial nor detrimental to the full development of corn cobs. The only current interest of this behavior in cultivation seems to be for fodder maize even if here again, the European selection of fodder maize for the last forty years has never highlighted it. In fact, farmers and breeders also refuse varieties with tillers even if their presence or absence has no influence on the quality of production. The only example of interest of such varieties is in the great western zone of South Africa where maize is grown very extensively (20 plants/ha, lines separated by 000 m) with very specific, prolific and sometimes presenting tillers with ears which allow a great gain in yield in rainy years, thus compensating for the low density of sowing.
Maize physiology and development : The germination, triggered by the imbibition of the grain results in a mobilization of the reserves of the scutellum then of the albumen and by the development of the radicle then of the secondary seminal roots which appear at the level of the scutellar node. At the other end of the embryo, the gemmule develops in the form of the coleoptile which grows upwards and forms a plateau of tillering. At this level, a first series of adventitious roots are formed, and sometimes secondary stems, then the coleoptile pierces the ground and opens, releasing the first leaves. From this stage, the young maize plant gradually becomes autotrophic.
The root system of maize is characterized by creeping roots (known as surface roots), which take the water and nutrients needed by the plant from the most superficial layers of the soil. This imbalance in the exploitation of soil resources makes the plant very demanding of water, which can be a problem in the event of low water availability.
In the temperate zones of the northern hemisphere, maize is sown in April-May and flowers in July-August. The grains reach maturity between the end of September and November, depending on the variety. Harvesting takes place when the plant turns yellow and dries out. The whole plant can also be harvested and ensiled before grain maturity (September).
Corn professionals use the number of leaves present on the plant to decide what actions to take during its growth. Thus, when the plant has developed a first complete leaf (collar clearly visible), it is stage V1 where weeding must be carried out. At stage V8 (8th complete leaf), we recommend adding fertilizer for good fruiting. At stage V10, irrigation is started in areas where it is needed, etc.
Young corn plants accumulate a particular substance, a hydroxamic acid (2,4-dihydroxy-7-methoxy-1,4-benzoxazin-3-one or DIMBOA) which creates a natural resistance against a whole series of enemies of the plant: insects, fungi and pathogenic bacteria. This substance, DIMBOA, is also found in related species, notably wheat. DIMBOA gives young corn plants relative resistance to corn borer (family Crambidae). However, this resistance declines rapidly once the plant has passed the six-leaf stage.
When corn is attacked by phytophagous larvae such as the European corn borer caterpillar, it emits volatile molecules that attract parasitoid insects that prey on the pest, such as trichogramma.
The flowers, another characteristic that distinguishes corn from other grasses, are unisexual and grouped in male and female inflorescences composed of spikelets of two flowers. Male flowering takes place on average 70 days after sowing and precedes female flowering by 5 to 8 days: it is said that there is protandry (which limits self-fertilization). Floral initiation puts an end to the production of leaf nodes. Bolting, which is the elongation of the internodes, will take the panicle more than two meters above the ground (for the most common varieties, some can rise up to 10 m).
The male flowers are grouped in a terminal panicle which appears after the flag leaf. This panicle, also called "tassel", is made up of spikelets each grouping two flowers with three stamens. Allogamous pollination is by wind but self-pollination is possible. Daily pollen production is diurnal with a maximum occurring mid-morning. Corn pollen is 60% water and dries out significantly in about 4 hours. Most of the pollination therefore takes place between 10 a.m. and 12 p.m. during the period of 5 to 8 days that anthesis (male flowering) lasts for the same panicle. On the scale of a field, the pollination duration is 6 to 18 days, depending on the variety but also on the heterogeneity of the field. Although the plant is self-fertile, cross-fertilization is at least 95%. Pollen grains transported by the wind and distributed up to 500 m from their point of departure fall on the silks of neighboring plants (95% of cases) or the mother plant (5% but in this case, less vigorous progeny and less productive) and germinate there. If one wishes to obtain pure varieties, in particular for the production of seeds, the field must be isolated from another maize crop by at least 300 m.
corn on the cob : The female flowers are grouped in spikes inserted in the axils of the median leaves (the largest). Breeders seek to create varieties where these inflorescences do not appear too high so as not to unbalance the plant which is subject to lodging, that is to say to the fall caused by the wind and the bad weather. However, we cannot “lower” the ear too much by selection because we lose yield due to more difficult light penetration towards the lower leaves.
The axis of the spike, called the stalk, bears 10 to 20 rows of female flowers. A single flower per spikelet is fertile. It is surrounded by modified leaves, the spathes, desiccated at maturity. At the upper end, the spathes leave the very slightly toothed filiform stigmas, also called bristles, protruding. These bristles, one per future grain, are more or less long depending on the position of the grain in the ear (the first bristles that appear outside the "turbinate" of spathes are the bristles that originate at the base of the cob) are the pollen-receiving styles along their entire length because they are covered with sticky hairs. Any pollen grain can germinate there for 6 to 20 days after it appears. These styles can be colored variously depending on the variety (most often blond turning brown).
The ear wrapped in its husks is called " spadix ". Between the appearance of bristles and ripening of the grains, take two to three months on average, depending on the variety.
The ear always contains an even number of rows of grains but its dimensions are very variable (length from 5 to 45 cm, diameter from 3 to 8 cm). It most often contains 400 to 500 grains at maturity, but this number can go up to a thousand. A stalk usually gives rise to one or two ears, up to half a dozen or more. A corn stalk can have several secondary stems, called tillers, usually one or two, up to half a dozen or more as well. The number of ears per plant, counting the tillers which themselves can carry as many ears as the main stem, can therefore range from a few to about thirty. The number of ears per plant depends on the cultivation methods, or even on the variety, these two items being at least part of a whole.
The formation of grains gives rise to double fertilization (xenia). Every grain of pollen contains two male gametes. One fertilizes the oosphere which will give the main zygote then the embryo, the other fertilizes two central nuclei to give an accessory zygote or albumen. The endosperm is triploid but, since the central nuclei are not always two or diploids, its degree of ploidy can vary.
The grain rows of the cobs can be straight or more or less twisted. This genetic character, more or less accentuated, exists in all groups. One distinguishes the levogyres and the dextrogyres according to the direction of rotation starting from the base of the cob.
Structure and composition of corn grain : The grain of maize is in fact a caryopsis, made up of three parts of different origins:
– the embryo, commonly called "germ", located at the base of the grain which includes the embryo itself or "gemmule" and the scutellum, that is to say the cotyledon, reserve organ in which the seedling draws its initial energy; the embryo is derived from the egg formed as a result of the fusion of the nucleus of a spermatozoon and the oosphere, it is diploid ;
– albumen, reserve tissue (white or yellow), mainly composed of starch grains, except for the peripheral layer located under the pericarp which contains aleurone grains (colorless, red or purple) rich in protein; this tissue comes from the fusion of the nucleus of a spermatozoon and the two nuclei of the central cell, it is therefore a triploid tissue (with 3n chromosomes);
– the outer envelope, thin membrane (colorless, red or purple) translucent and fibrous, from the pericarp of the ovary (so in reality part of the fruit and not the seed).
The starch of the albumen comes in two forms: amylose, a linear polymer of glucose, and amylopectin, a polymer forming a branched molecule. Depending on the mode of assembly of these molecules, floury starch is formed, with a friable structure, located rather in the center, or horny or vitreous starch, with a dense and compact structure, located at the periphery and which contributes to maintain the outer shape of the grain. The varying proportion of these two forms of starch makes it possible to distinguish various breeds.
Kernel size and weight depend on the variety. On average, the weight of 1000 grains varies between 200 and 350 grams, and can be 13 to 700 g depending on the variety considered.
corn grain color : The color of maize kernels is highly variable, although yellow kernels are the most common.
The pigmentation of certain grains can be modified by the action of transposons.
It is the superposition of the colors of the albumen and its aleurone layer (tissue resulting from fertilization) and of the pericarp (tissue of maternal origin) which gives its final color to the corn grain28.
Two types of pigments can color the albumen:
– carotene gives yellow grains (the most common color) if thealeurone and pericarp are colorless;
– anthocyanins give red, blue or purple grains.
The mixture of colors between the different layers of the grain (albumen, aleurone and pericarp) gives intermediate colors (orange, pink, brown, green).
As for the “variegated” grains, they are due to the effects of transposons.
Inside the albumen, carotene and anthocyanins are synthesized in different places. The carotene fixes itself in the mealy starch (internal part of the albumen) whereas the anthocyanin fixes itself in the horny or vitreous starch (aleurone and external part of the albumen). Since anthocyanins give an intense color (red, purple or blue) to the aleurone layer, the yellow or white color of a grain is only visible when the aleurone layer and the pericarp are colorless.
The xenia effect is the appearance of a grain phenotype unrelated (color or other characteristics) to the genotype of the producing plant. It therefore results from the effect of a foreign pollen grain on theendosperm.
Multicolored maize is often nicknamed “Indian maize” although it is found in all producing regions.
When corn is intended for human consumption, there are very cultural choices. When it becomes animal feed, the choice of color is more rational depending on the product to be obtained: very yellow to make well-colored egg yolks in Italy, slight preference for white for force-feeding geese, etc. . However, it is above all feed yield and efficiency that take precedence; yellow dent corn is currently the most productive and provides more carotene – vitamin A than white corn, which explains why they are more widespread. But all corn, regardless of color, is edible.
In Canada, the United States, Europe and China, the vast majority of corn is currently yellow.
In Africa, they are rather white (even if some food programs are trying to develop the cultivation of orange maize richer in carotene, which some populations lack, such as in Zambia for example).
In France, the traditional corn populations were equally yellow or white with some “red”, the Italians preferred orange-yellow, the Portuguese white, the Hopi Indians blue…
Dishes made from blue or red grains, rich in anthocyanin, are recommended for people on a diet or suffering from diabetes because this corn contains 20% more protein than classic yellow corn and has a lower glycemic index.
Maize production and outlets : Maize is the most produced cereal in the world, with grain production slightly ahead of rice and wheat. Significant areas are also devoted to the production of fodder maize intended for livestock feed, either green or in the form of silage. For example, in France, maize for fodder occupies 44% of the land planted with maize, or about 3,2 million hectares.
The two leading producers, the United States and China, represent nearly 60% of the world total, 40% for the first and 20% for the second. In Europe, France, Romania and Hungary are the main producers. The production record is 1016 million tons in 2008.
World exports represent approximately 110 million tonnes, or 11% of production. The five main exporting countries, more than 80% of the world total, are, in 2011, the United States of America (45,9 Mt), Argentina (15,8 Mt), Brazil (9,5 Mt ), Ukraine (7,8 Mt) and France (6,2 Mt). France mainly exports to its partners in the European Union, which is globally in deficit.
Importing countries are much more diverse; the top five, representing more than 40% of the total, in 2011 were Japan (15,3 Mt), Mexico (9,5 Mt), South Korea (7,8 Mt) Egypt (7,0. 4,8 Mt) and Spain (XNUMX Mt).
In 2006, transgenic maize crops covered 25,2 million hectares spread over 13 countries, ie 25% of total transgenic crops at world level and approximately 17% of areas cultivated with maize.
World consumption (2012): 595 million tonnes, of which:
– United States: 187 Mt;
– China: 120 Mt;
– European Union: 37 Mt;
– Brazil: 34 Mt;
– Mexico: 23 Mt.
Uses of maize: Maize currently has three major types of use: animal feed, which is by far the main outlet (about two-thirds overall) and mainly concerns industrialized countries, human food, which is particularly important in certain Third World countries, notably in sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America, and marginal in industrialized countries, and finally the agri-food industries, including for the production of alcohol as biofuels, biogas or bioplastics. 1 uses of maize have been listed.
Maize is grown for its grains, rich in starch (about 63%), which form the basis of the diet of many populations.
Historically, corn was the staple food of all pre-Columbian civilizations. It has spread to other countries, in Europe and Africa, partially or totally replacing cereals that were once more widely consumed, such as millet and millet. In southern Europe, it was widely consumed in the past in the form of porridge (called "gaudes" in Franche-Comté and in Bresse, cruchade in Gascony, milhàs in Languedoc), constituting a cheap diet for the peasant strata, often perceived pejoratively (in Italy, the term “mangiapolenta” is still used to refer pejoratively to the inhabitants of the Po plain).
A diet very rich in maize can cause pellagra (“pelle agra”; pelle: skin, agra: sour), a skin disease linked to vitamin PP deficiency. In fact, this is mainly due to a lack of knowledge of the mode of consumption of corn flour. Soaking corn flour in a basic solution such as lime water releases niacin (vitamin PP) and its precursor, tryptophan (nixtamalization). Corn is low in protein and particularly in lysine which is an essential amino acid. Populations that consume mainly corn are therefore at risk of suffering from a lysine deficiency if their diet is not supplemented elsewhere. However, there are so-called high protein quality varieties (QPM78 maize) whose lysine and tryptophan content has been improved by conventional breeding.
Maize consumption patterns : It is eaten either in the form of whole seeds (separate or on the cob), or reduced to flour and prepared in the form of porridge or cooked pancakes.
In Central America, and particularly in Mexico, corn flour is used to make traditional pancakes called tortillas, which are widely consumed. They can wrap other foods, for example meat in tacos. Tamales, a kind of papillote of Native American origin, are also widespread in Latin America.
In the Andean countries, the Amerindians prepare a traditional fermented drink, chicha, from corn.
In Africa, maize is eaten grilled over a wood or charcoal fire (Kanoun), and also in the form of porridge or couscous, for example in Casamance. The only cereal that can be eaten green in Africa (ear of maize in milk), it is harvested after just one week of drying on the stalk during the lean season.
Le but sweet has become the fifth most important vegetable in France. It is packaged in several ways: canned (canned), frozen or fresh, and is used in the composition of salads. The French consume 1 kg per year, far behind the Americans (7 kg). Popcorn (popcorn) is eaten as a snack or as an aperitif. Cornmeal is the basis of polenta, of Italian origin, or its Romanian variant, mamaliga, but products derived from corn are also used in the composition of certain industrial preparations (cereals for breakfast). In the United States, cornbread is also prepared. Since corn flour cannot be made into bread, wheat flour and baking powder are sometimes added.
It is also used in the form of starch, that is to say corn starch, sold in particular under the Maïzena brand, in particular for preparing sauces. Cornstarch makes the sauce lighter than wheat flour.
– Maize with dark yellow, hard grains, carried by a small cob is mainly intended for animal feed (80%). However, reduced to semolina or via flour, it allows to prepare beignets, porridge (gaudes, Millas, polenta, etc.), pancakes, cakes, cakes various, cakes and breads. We also eat cooked corn as it is on the cob or in gratin, seasoned de Butter and salt. Raw grains are used in macedonia and relishes steamed, we serve them as vegetable support.
Popcorn corn is shelled and is used to make popcorn, salty or sweet: when its grains are heated in an airtight container (or in a special microwave bag), they burst and swell, forming white, light masses, to taste natural, savory or sweet.
– Corn flakes (corn flakes) are prepared from grains, or grits, dehydrated and reduced to thin strips then toasted, they are generally eaten with milk, or tortillas (cakes) Et les chips Mexican cuisine, (tacos) are made with corn flour. Corn starch (Maïzena) is used as binder and D'thickening in the kitchen, delicatessen, confectionery, biscuit factory et pastry.
– Miniature corn (or mini-corn or baby corn) is a ear immature. Available fresh, frozen but most often sold canned (in brine or via pickles au vinaigre white), miniature cobs enhance salads and vegetable stir-fries. Very popular in Thai and Chinese cuisine, their taste is however quite different from that of fresh corn.
– We also extract corn germs, separated from the flour in the corn mills, a popular food oil, corn germ oil, rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids.
Alcohol and distillation : Alcohol can be obtained from the fermentation of maize grains, which is used in particular for the manufacture of beer or, in addition to other sources, in the preparation of alcoholic beverages distilled (gin, whisky, bourbon, vodka,…). For example, Tennessee Whiskey is a corn-based alcohol that is filtered through charcoal.
Animal feed : The whole plant can be eaten by livestock as fresh or dry fodder or as silage. Corn is a fattening plant, so it fattens cattle more quickly and thus increases the milk production of cows. The relatively low protein content of maize and its relative poverty in lysine and methionine require the use of supplements richer in nitrogen.
Worldwide, two-thirds of the maize produced is used for animal feed, 27% for human food.
However, there are strong disparities between continents.
In Western Europe, all silage maize and around 80% of grain maize is used for animal feed (cattle, poultry farming and pig farming). Most of the remaining 20% of grain maize is used in starch and semolina production.
Corn is the favorite food of force-fed geese and ducks for the production of foie gras. The dentate type varieties are preferred because they are richer in starch, which makes them both more profitable for the animal and more suitable for crushing and making mash. One hectare of maize produces 4 kg of grain-fed turkeys.
Corn is also used to attract game, such as deer or roe deer for hunting.