1.2- Species Zea mays L. - Corn or Maize + Overview Zea maysL. is a species of plants in the genus ZeaL., in the subtribe Tripsacinae, in the tribe Andropogoneae, in the the subfamily Panicoideae of the grass family (Poaceae). Zea mays, corn or maize, is a annual grass in the Poaceae (grass family) that originated in Central America and is one of the top three cereal crops grown in the world, along with rice (Oryza sativa) and wheat (Triticum spp.), with 2013 global commercial production of dried corn totaling 1,016.4 million metric tons, harvested from over 170 million hectares. + The Names The word maizederives from the Spanish form of the indigenous Taíno word for the plant, mahiz. It is known by other names around the world. The word "corn" outside North America, Australia, and New Zealand refers to any cereal crop, its meaning understood to vary geographically to refer to the local staple. In the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, corn primarily means maize; this usage started as a shortening of "Indian corn". "Indian corn" primarily means maize (the staple grain of indigenous Americans), but can refer more specifically to multicolored "flint corn" used for decoration. In places outside North America, Australia, and New Zealand, cornoften refers to maize in culinary contexts. The narrower meaning is usually indicated by some additional word, as in sweet corn, sweetcorn, corn on the cob, baby corn, the puffed confection known as popcorn and the breakfast cereal known as corn flakes. In Southern Africa, maize is commonly called mielie(Afrikaans) or mealie (English), words derived from the Portuguese word for maize, milho. Maize is preferred in formal, scientific, and international usage because it refers specifically to this one grain, unlike corn, which has a complex variety of meanings that vary by context and geographic region. Maize is used by agricultural bodies and research institutes such as the FAO and CSIRO. National agricultural and industry associations often include the word maize in their name even in English-speaking countries where the local, informal word is something other than maize; for example, the Maize Association of Australia, the Indian Maize Development Association, the Kenya Maize Consortium and Maize Breeders Network, the National Maize Association of Nigeria, the Zimbabwe Seed Maize Association. However, in commodities trading, corn consistently refers to maize and not other grains. + Subspecies Many forms of maize are used for food, sometimes classified as various subspecies related to the amount of starch each has: Flour corn: Zea mays var. amylacea Popcorn: Zea mays var. everta Dent corn : Zea mays var. indentata Flint corn: Zea mays var. indurata Sweet corn: Zea mays var. saccharata and Zea mays var. rugosa Waxy corn: Zea mays var. ceratina Amylomaize: Zea mays Pod corn: Zea mays var. tunicata Larrañaga ex A. St. Hil. Striped maize: Zea mays var. japonica Source: Maize- From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
2- Characteristics of the Species Zea mays L. - Corn or Maize
2.1- Description + The plant -
2.2- Origin and Distribution + Origin Genetic studies led by John Doebley identified Zea mays ssp. parviglumis, native to the Balsas River valley in Mexico's southwestern highlands, and also known as Balsas teosinte, as being the crop wild relative teosinte genetically most similar to modern maize. The original corn plant known as teosinte is still grown in Mexico and its size (ears of corn) has substantially increased due to efforts of American Indians and scientific research. Most historians believe corn or maize was domesticated in the Tehuacan Valley of Mexico. Mexico, the center of origin of corn and home to what appears to be its closest wild relative, teosinte (also known as teocintle), is also a center of biodiversity in domesticated corn. + Distribution A primitive corn was being grown in southern Mexico, Central America, and northern South America 7,000 years ago. Archaeological remains of early maize ears, found at Guila Naquitz Cave in the Oaxaca Valley, date back roughly 6,250 years; the oldest ears from caves near Tehuacan, Puebla, date ca. 3,450 BC. Corn or Maize is widely cultivated throughout the world, and a greater weight of corn or maize is produced each year than any other grain. The United States produces 40% of the world's harvest. Depending on FAOSTAT, production of corn or maize on the World in 2013 was 1,016,431,783 metric tons. Top ten of corn or maize producers on the World in 2013 are: 1- United States, 2- China, 3- Brazil, 4- Argentina, 5- Ukraine, 6- India, 7- Mexico, 8- Indonesia, 9- France and 10- South Africa.
2.4- The Health Benefits of Corn or Maize Corn provides many health benefits due to the presence of quality nutrients within. Besides being a delicious addition to any meal, it is also rich in phytochemicals, and it provides protection against a number of chronic diseases. Some of the well-researched and widespread health benefits of corn are listed below. 1-Rich source of calories: Corn is a rich source of calories and is a staple among dietary habits in many populations. The calorific content of corn is 342 calories per 100 grams, which is among the highest for cereals. It is why corn is often turned to for quick weight gain, and combined with the ease and flexibility of growing conditions for corn, the high calorie content makes it vital for the survival of dozens of agricultural-based nations. 2- Reduces risk of hemorrhoids and colorectal cancer: The fiber content of one cup of corn amounts to 18.4% of the daily recommended amount. This aids in alleviating digestive problems such as constipation and hemorrhoids, as well as lowering the risk of colon cancer due to corn being a whole-grain. Fiber has long been promoted as a way to reduce colon risk, but insufficient and conflicting data exists for fiber’s relationship with preventing cancer, although whole-grain consumption, on the whole, has been proven to reduce that risk. Fiber helps to bulk up bowel movements, which stimulates peristaltic motion and even stimulates the production of gastric juice and bile. It can also add bulk to overly loose stools, which can slow reduce the chances of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and diarrhea. 3- Rich source of vitamins: Corn is rich in vitamin B constituents, especially Thiamin and Niacin. Thiamin is essential for maintaining nerve health and cognitive function. Niacin deficiency leads to Pellagra; a disease characterized by diarrhea, dementia and dermatitis that is commonly observed in malnourished individuals. Corn is also a good source of Pantothenic acid, which is an essential vitamin for carbohydrate, protein, and lipid metabolism in the body. Deficiency of folic acid in pregnant women can lead to the birth of underweight infants and may also result in neural tube defects in newborns. Corn provides a large percentage of the daily folate requirement, while the kernels of corn are rich in vitamin E, a natural antioxidant that is essential for growth and protection of the body from illness and disease. 4- Provides necessary minerals: Corn contains abundant minerals which positively benefit the bodies in a number of ways. phosphorous, along with magnesium, manganese, zinc, iron and copper are found in all varieties of corn. It also contains trace minerals like selenium, which are difficult to find in most normal diets. Phosphorous is essential for regulating normal growth, bone health and optimal kidney functioning. Magnesium is necessary for maintaining a normal heart rate and for increasing bone strength. 5- Antioxidant properties: According to studies carried out at Cornell University, corn is a rich source of antioxidants which fight cancer-causing free radicals. In fact, unlike many other foods, cooking actually increases the amount of usable antioxidants in sweet corn. Corn is a rich source of a phenolic compound called ferulic acid, an anti-carcinogenic agent that has been shown to be effective in fighting the tumors which lead to breast cancer as well as liver cancer. Anthocyanins, found in purple corn, also act as scavengers and eliminators of cancer-causing free radicals. Antioxidants have been shown to reduce many of the most dangerous forms of cancer because of their ability to induce apoptosis in cancerous cells, while leaving healthy cells unaffected. This is particularly relevant when phytochemicals are the source of the antioxidants, which is another type of chemical found in high volumes in corn. 6- Protecting Your Heart: According to researchers, corn oil has been shown to have an anti-atherogenic effect on cholesterol levels, thus reducing the risk of various cardiovascular diseases. Corn oil, particularly, is the best way to increase heart health, and this is derived from the fact that corn is close to an optimal fatty acid combination. This allows omega-3 fatty acids to strip away the damaging “bad” cholesterol and replace them at the binding sites. This will reduce the chances of arteries becoming clogged, will reduce blood pressure, and decrease the change of heart attack and stroke. 7- Prevents Anemia: Corn helps to prevent anemia caused by deficiency of these vitamins. Corn also has a significant level of iron, which is one of the essential minerals needed to form new red blood cells; a deficiency in iron is one of the main cause of anemia as well. 8- Lowers LDL Cholesterol: According to the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, consumption of corn husk oil lowers plasma LDL cholesterol by reducing cholesterol absorption in the body. As mentioned earlier, this reduction of LDL cholesterol does not mean a reduction in HDL cholesterol, which is considered “good cholesterol” and can have a variety of beneficial effects on the body, including the reduction of heart disease, prevention of atherosclerosis, and a general scavenger of free radicals throughout the body. 9- Vitamin-A Content: Yellow corn is a rich source of beta-carotene, which forms vitamin A in the body and is essential for the maintenance of good vision and skin. Beta-carotene is a great source of vitamin-A because it is converted within the body, but only in the amounts that the body requires. Vitamin-A can be toxic if too much is consumed, so deriving vitamin-A through beta-carotene transformation is ideal. Vitamin-A will also benefit the health of skin and mucus membranes, as well as boosting the immune system. The amount of beta-carotene in the body that is not converted into vitamin-A acts as a very strong antioxidant, like all carotenoids, and can combat terrible diseases like cancer and heart disease. That being said, smokers need to be careful about their beta-carotene content, because smokers with high beta-carotene levels are more likely to contract lung cancer, while non-smokers with high beta-carotene content are less likely to contract lung cancer. 10- Controls diabetes and hypertension: In recent decades, the world has seemed to suffer from an epidemic of diabetes. Although the exact mechanism for this cannot be pinpointed, it is generally assumed to relate to nutrition. Eating more organic fruits and vegetables, like corn, has been thought to be a return to an older style of diet, and it has been linked to reduced signs of diabetes. Studies have shown that the consumption of corn kernels assists in the management of non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM) and is effective against hypertension due to the presence of phenolic phytochemicals in whole corn. Phytochemicals can regulate the absorption and release of insulin in the body, which can reduce the chance of spikes and drops for diabetic patients and help them maintain a more normal lifestyle. 11-Cosmetic benefits: Corn starch is used in the manufacturing of many cosmetic products and may also be applied topically to soothe skin rashes and irritation. Corn products can be used to replace carcinogenic petroleum products which are major components of many cosmetic preparations. Many of the traditional skin creams contain petroleum jelly as a base material, which can often block pores and make skin conditions even worse. Source: Health benefits of corn From: https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/cereal/health-benefits-of-corn.html.
3- The Uses of Corn or Maize
One reference lists over 500 different uses for corn. Corn is a component of canned corn, baby food, hominy, mush, puddings, tamales, and many more human foods. 3.1- Food Uses Maize is central to Mexican food. Virtually every dish in Mexican cuisine uses maize. On form of grain or cornmeal, maize is the main ingredient of tortillas, tamales, pozole, atole and all the dishes based on them, like tacos, quesadillas, chilaquiles, enchiladas, tostadas and many more. In Mexico even a fungus of maize, known as huitlacoche is considered a delicacy. Corn and cornmeal (ground dried maize) constitute a staple food in many regions of the world.
+ Corn on the cob Corn on the cob (known regionally as "pole corn", "cornstick", "sweet pole", "butter-pop" or "long maize") is a culinary term used for a cookedear of freshly picked maize from a cultivar of sweet corn. Sweet corn is the most common variety of maize eaten directly off the cob. The ear is picked while the endosperm is in the "milk stage" so that the kernels are still tender. Ears of corn are steamed or boiled, usually without their green husks, or roasted with them. The husk leaves are in any case removed before serving. Corn on the cob is a sweet corn cob that has been boiled, steamed, or grilled whole; the kernels are then eaten directly off the cob or cut off. Corn on the cob is normally eaten while still warm. It is boiled or grilled. It is then often seasoned with salt and buttered before serving. Some diners use specialized skewers, thrust into the ends of the cob, to hold the ear while eating without touching the hot and sticky kernels. In most of Latin America, sweet corn is traditionally eaten with beans; each plant is deficient in an essential amino acid that happens to be abundant in the other, so together sweet corn and bean form a protein-complete meal. If left to dry on the plant, kernels may be taken off the cob and cooked in oil where, unlike popcorn, they expand to about double the original kernel size and are often called corn nuts. A soup may also be made from the plant, called sweet corn soup. In Brazil, sweet corn cut off from the cobs is generally eaten with peas (where this combination, given the practicality of steamed canned grains in an urban diet, is a frequent addition to diverse meals such as salads, stews, seasoned white rice, risottos, soups, pasta, and, most famously, whole sausage hot dogs). A combination of ground sweet corn and milk is also the basis of various well-known dishes, such as pamonha and the pudding-like dessert curau, while sweet corn eaten directly off the cobs tends to be served with butter. The kernels are boiled or steamed. In Europe, China, Korea, Japan and India, they are often used as a pizza topping, or in salads. Creamed corn is sweet corn served in a milk or cream sauce. Sweet corn can also be eaten as baby corn. Similarly, sweet corn in Indonesia is traditionally ground or soaked with milk, which makes available the B vitaminniacin in the corn, the absence of which would otherwise lead to pellagra.
+ Cornmeal Cornmeal is a meal (coarse flour) ground from dried maize (corn). It is a common staple food, and is ground to fine, medium, and coarse consistencies, but not as fine as wheat flour. In the United States, very finely ground cornmeal is also referred to as corn flour. In the United Kingdom, the word cornflour denotes cornstarch, cornmeal is known a spolenta, and finely ground corn flour (for making bread or tortillas) is known as maize flour. - There are various types of cornmeal: 1- Blue cornmeal is light blue or violet in color. It is ground from whole blue corn and has a sweet flavor. The cornmeal consists of dried corn kernels that have been ground into a fine or medium texture. 2- Steel-ground yellow cornmeal, which is common mostly in the United States, has the husk and germ of the maize kernel almost completely removed. It is conserved for about a year if stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry place. 3- Stone-ground cornmeal retains some of the hull and germ, lending a little more flavor and nutrition to recipes. It is more perishable, but will store longer if refrigerated. However, it too can have a shelf life of many months if kept in a reasonably cool place. 4- White cornmeal (mielie-meal), made from white corn, is more common in parts of Africa. It is also popular in the Southern United States for making cornbread. - The Regional Uses of Cornmeal In Mesoamerica and South America 1- Fubá - Brazil 2- Masa or Masa harina - Nixtamalized corn used for making tamales and tortillas in Central America,Mexico, and South America. 3- Masarepa - Soaked and cooked corn, ground fine into a flour, used to make arepas and empanadas. 4- Polenta - a typical dish in many Latin American countries, including Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, Paraguay, Venezuela and Uruguay. In North America 1- As a batter for a fried food, such as corndogs 2- Made into bread, as in corn fritters, cornbread,hushpuppies, jonnycakes, or spoonbread 3- As breading for fried or baked foods, such as fried fish 4- As a breakfast cereal ingredient 5- Cheese curl-type snack foods, such as Cheetos and Cheezies 6- In corn chips such as Fritos, but not tortilla chips or corn tortillas, which are made from nixtamalizedmaize flour. 7- As a release agent to prevent breads andpizza from sticking to their pans when baking. 8- As grits 9- As a porridge, such as cornmeal mush, which is often then sliced and grilled 10- Known as "samp", it was used in colonial times as a kind of porridge. In Caribbean 1- Cou-cou - part of the national dish of Barbados, "cou-cou and flying fish". 2- Funchi also known as fungi/fungee - a cornmeal mush cooked and cooled into a stiff pudding, sometimes eaten with saltfish and/or pepperpot. It is consumed on the island of Curaçao and is part of the national dish of Antigua and Barbuda. In Europe 1- Arapash or harapash - Albania (similar to the Romanian style but often combined with lamb organs, or/and goat cheese) 2- Farina di granturco - Italy (not the same as farina, which is made from wheat) 3- G'omi (mchadi , tchvishtari) - Georgia (g'omi is similar to polenta, mchadi - cornbread, tshvishtari - cheese cornbread). Known by different names in local languages, it is also widespread in other Caucasian cuisines. 4- Kachamak - Republic of Macedonia, Bulgaria and Serbia. 5- Mălai - Romania (the cornmeal itself; prepared as mămăligă) 6- Polenta - southern Europe, especially Italy In Equatorial Africa 1- Mielie-meal or mealie pap - Southern Africa 2- Nomadi - Democratic Republic of the Congo 3- Nshima or bwali - Zambia 4- Nsima - Malawi 5- Oshifima or Oshimbob -Namibia 6- Sadza - Zimbabwe 7- Ugali - Great Lakes (sima and posho in Uganda) 8- Recipes that may use cornmeal as an additional ingredient are fufu (foufou) in Central and West Africa. In Horn of Africa 1- Soor - Somalia Cornmeal is also often used as an additional ingredient in the preparation of injera or lahoh, flatbread that is traditionally eaten in the countries of the Horn of Africa (Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia and Somalia) and nearby Yemen. In East Asia 1- Tie Bing (sticking bread) - This product can either be fluffy like a mantou or more flatbread-like. It is traditionally stuck around the outer rim of a large wok while meat or fish is being cooked. Generally, an alkalizing agent such as baking soda is added to increase the nutrient value. It is also found in northern China. 2- Corn congee - A porridge made from plain cornmeal. It is normally thinner than grits or polenta and is often eaten with Chinese pickles. 3- Wo tou (nest head) - Shaped like a hollow cone, this cornbread looks like a bird's nest, after which it is named. It is commonly eaten in northern China, and may contain dried jujubes and other flavoring agents. In South Asia Makki di roti - a traditional Punjabi bread often eaten with saag in Punjab province of northern India and eastern Pakistan. In Indian Ocean 1- Poudine maïs - Mauritius This is a local dessert dish made from maize flour in which milk, sugar, dried sultanas and cardamon powder are cooked together. The cooked paste is poured on a tray and coconut powder is sprinkled thereon and left to cool. Simple and delicious, this is a popular dish loved by many. This dessert is often cut into triangular shapes and can be bought from food vendors in the streets of Port Louis and also in market fairs around the island. Source: Cornmeal - From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
+ Corn starch Corn starch, cornstarch, cornflour or maize starch or maize is the starch derived from the corn (maize) grain. The starch is obtained from the endosperm of the corn kernel. Corn starch is a popular food ingredient used in thickening sauces or soups, and is used in making corn syrup and other sugars. Cornstarch was discovered in the year 1840 by Thomas Kingsford, whilst he was working as the superintendent of a wheat starch factory in Jersey City, New Jersey. Until 1851, corn starch was used primarily for starching laundry and industrial uses. Corn starch is used as a thickening agent in liquid-based corn dog foods (e.g., soup, sauces, gravies, custard), usually by mixing it with a lower-temperature liquid to form a paste or slurry. It is sometimes preferred over flour alone because it forms a translucent mixture, rather than an opaque one. As the starch is heated, the molecular chains unravel, allowing them to collide with other starch chains to form a mesh, thickening the liquid (Starch gelatinization). It is usually included as an anti-caking agent in powdered sugar (10X or confectioner's sugar). Baby powder often includes cornstarch among its ingredients. Corn starch when mixed with a fluid can make a non-Newtonian fluid, e.g. adding water makes Oobleck and adding oil makes an Electrorheological fluid. A common substitute is arrowroot, which replaces corn starch on a 1:1 ratio. Corn starch added to a batter which coated chicken nuggets increased oil absorption and crispness after the latter stages of frying. Corn starch can be used to manufacture bioplastics. Corn starch is the preferred anti-stick agent on medical products made from natural latex, including condoms, diaphragms and medical gloves. Prior usage of talc was abandoned as talc was believed to be a carcinogen. Food producers reduce production costs by adding varying amounts of corn starch to foods, for example to cheese and yogurt. This is more common in the United States of America where the Congress and the Department of Agriculture subsidize and reduce its cost to food manufacturers. Corn starch is used to supply glucose to humans who have glycogen storage disease (GSD). Without this, they would not thrive (i.e. little, if any, weight gain) and thus die. Cornstarch can be used starting at age 6 - 12 months which allows feeds to be spaced and glucose fluctuations to be minimized. Cornstarch can be further processed enzymatically to make high-fructose corn syrup, which has become widely used to replace sugar (sucrose) as an inexpensive sweetener in processed food and beverage products. See also: List of maize dishes.
3.2- Medicinal Uses Corn meal has been used by Native Americans for a wide range of ailments. It makes an effective poultice and has been used in Mayan, Incan, and American folk medicine to treat bruises, swellings, sores, boils, and similar conditions. In China, corn silk is used to treat fluid retention and jaundice. Other tradictional medicines of Chinese are for: Diabetes, Diuretic, Dropsy, Hypertension, Gravel, Urogenital, Stomachic, Strangury. The common medicinal uses on the world are: 1- Urinary remedy Partly due to its significant potassium content, corn silk is a useful diuretic for almost all problems of the urinary system. Corn silk soothes and relaxes the lining of the urinary tubules and bladder, relieving irritation and improving urine flow and elimination. Corn silk is also helpful for frequent urination caused by irritation of the bladder and urethral walls, and for difficulty in passing urine such as in prostate disorders. 2- Kidney stones Corn silk is thought to have a beneficial effect on the kidneys, reducing kidney stone formation and relieving some of the symptoms of existing stones. 3- Cystitis Chronic cystitis can be relieved with corn silk and and it is a useful adjunct to other treatments for acute cystitis. Source: http://www.mdidea.com/products/new/new072h.html.
3.3- Other Use + Bio-fuel "Feed maize" is being used increasingly for heating; specialized corn stoves (similar to wood stoves) are available and use either feed maize or wood pellets to generate heat. Maize cobs are also used as a biomass fuel source. Maize is relatively cheap and home-heating furnaces have been developed which use maize kernels as a fuel. They feature a large hopper that feeds the uniformly sized maize kernels (or wood pellets or cherry pits) into the fire. In the US since 2009/2010, maize feedstock use for ethanol production has somewhat exceeded direct use for livestock feed; maize use for fuel ethanol was 5,130 million bushels (130 million tonnes) in the 2013/2014 marketing year. As a result of the US federal government announcing its production target of 35 billion US gallons (130,000,000 m3) of biofuels by 2017, ethanol production will grow to 7 billion US gallons (26,000,000 m3) by 2010, up from 4.5 billion in 2006, boosting ethanol's share of maize demand in the US from 22.6 percent to 36.1 percent.
+ Corn Oil Corn oil (maize oil) is oil extracted from the germ of corn (maize). Corn oil, obtained from the grain, is used in cooking as well as many industrial uses. Its main use is in cooking, where its high smoke point makes refined corn oil a valuable frying oil. It is also a key ingredient in some margarines. Corn oil is generally less expensive than most other types of vegetable oils. One bushel of corn contains 1.55 pounds of corn oil (2.8% by weight). Corn agronomists have developed high-oil varieties; however, these varieties tend to show lower field yields, so they are not universally accepted by growers. Corn oil is also a feedstock used for biodiesel. Other industrial uses for corn oil include soap, salve, paint, rustproofing for metal surfaces, inks, textiles, nitroglycerin, and insecticides. It is sometimes used as a carrier for drug molecules in pharmaceutical preparations. + Industrial Uses Some industrial uses of corn include filler for plastics, packing materials, insulating materials, adhesives, chemicals, explosives, paint, paste, abrasives, dyes, insecticides, pharmaceuticals, organic acids, solvents, rayon, antifreeze, soaps, and many more. + Fodder Uses Maize produces a greater quantity of biomass than other cereal plants, which is used for fodder. Digestibility and palatability are higher when ensiled and fermented, rather than dried.
+ Ornamental uses Some forms of the plant are occasionally grown for ornamental use in the garden. For this purpose, variegated and colored leaf forms as well as those with colorful ears are used. Corncobs can be hollowed out and treated to make inexpensive smoking pipes, first manufactured in the United States in 1869. An unusual use for maize is to create a "corn maze" (or "maize maze") as a tourist attraction. The idea of a maize maze was introduced by the American Maze Company who created a maze in Pennsylvania in 1993. Traditional mazes are most commonly grown using yewhedges, but these take several years to mature. The rapid growth of a field of maize allows a maze to be laid out using GPS at the start of a growing season and for the maize to grow tall enough to obstruct a visitor's line of sight by the start of the summer. In Canada and the US, these are popular in many farming communities. Maize kernels can be used in place of sand in a sandboxlike enclosure for children's play. Stigmas from female maize flowers, popularly called corn silk, are sold as herbal supplements. Maize is used as a fish bait, called "dough balls". It is particularly popular in Europe for coarse fishing. Additionally, feed corn is sometimes used by hunters to bait animals such as deer or wild hogs. + Studying Uses Corn also is used as the major study plant for many academic disciplines such as genetics, physiology, soil fertility and biochemistry. It is doubtful that any other plant has been studied as extensively as has the corn plant.
4- Growing Corn or Maize
4.1- History Stone milling tools with corn or maize residue have been found in an 8,700-years old layer of deposits in a cave not far from Iguala, Guerrero (Mexico). Corn or maize pollen dated to 7300 cal B.P. from San Andres, Tabasco, on the Caribbean coast has also been recovered. A primitive corn was being grown in southern Mexico, Central America, and northern South America 7,000 years ago. Archaeological remains of early maize ears, found at Guila Naquitz Cave in the Oaxaca Valley, date back roughly 6,250 years; the oldest ears from caves near Tehuacan, Puebla, date ca. 3,450 BC. Most historians believe maize was domesticated in the Tehuacan Valley of Mexico. The Olmec and Mayans cultivated it in numerous varieties throughout Mesoamerica, cooked, ground or processed through nixtamalization. Before they were domesticated, maize plants only grew small, 25 millimetres (1 in) long corn cobs, and only one per plant. Many centuries of artificial selection by the indigenous people of the Americas resulted in the development of maize plants capable of growing several cobs per plant that were usually several centimetres/inches long each. Genetic studies led by John Doebley identified Zea mays ssp. parviglumis, native to the Balsas River valley in Mexico's southwestern highlands, and also known as Balsas teosinte, as being the crop wild relative teosinte genetically most similar to modern maize. Also, Doebley was part of the team that is credited with first finding, back in 2002, that maize had been domesticated only once, about 9000 years ago, and then spread throughout the Americas. Corn or maize is believed to have been introduced across what is now the United States-Mexico border a few thousand years ago. The original corn plant known as teosinte is still grown in Mexico and its size (ears of corn) has substantially increased due to efforts of American Indians and scientific research. It is now the third leading grain crop in the world. Beginning about 2500 BC, the crop spread through much of the Americas. The region developed a trade network based on surplus and varieties of maize crops. Around 2500 BC, maize began to spread to the north; it was first cultivated in what is now the United States at several sites in New Mexico and Arizona, about 2100 BC. During the first millennium AD, maize cultivation spread more widely in the areas north. In particular, the large-scale adoption of maize agriculture and consumption in eastern North America took place about A.D. 900. Native Americans cleared large forest and grassland areas for the new crop. As maize was introduced to new cultures, new uses were developed and new varieties selected to better serve in those preparations. Maize was the staple food, or a major staple - along with squash, Andean region potato, quinoa, beans, and amaranth - of most pre-Columbian North American, Mesoamerican, South American, and Caribbean cultures. The Mesoamerican civilization, in particular, was deeply interrelated with maize. Its traditions and rituals involved all aspects of maize cultivation - from the planting to the food preparation. Maize formed the Mesoamerican people's identity. After European contact with the Americas in the late 15th and early 16th centuries, explorers and traders carried maize back to Europe and introduced it to other countries. Maize spread to the rest of the world because of its ability to grow in diverse climates. Sugar-rich varieties called sweet corn are usually grown for human consumption as kernels, while field corn varieties are used for animal feed, various corn-based human food uses (including grinding into cornmeal or masa, pressing into corn oil, and fermentation and distillation into alcoholic beverages like bourbon whiskey), and as chemical feedstocks. The Iroquois gave the first recorded sweet corn (called 'Papoon') to European settlers in 1779. It soon became a popular food in southern and central regions of the United States. In 2005, research by the USDAForest Service suggested that the rise in maize cultivation 500 to 1,000 years ago in what is now the southeastern United States corresponded with a decline of freshwater mussels, which are very sensitive to environmental changes. In U.S.A, the growth of corn has spread to extensive production in 14 states (though it is grown to a lesser extent in all the other US states), a coalition of farmers associations in all these states has been established. This association is known as the Corn Farmers Coalition, which is a union of the National Corn Growers Association and 14 state corn associations (including Iowa Corn). Maize is the most widely grown grain crop throughout the Americas, with 332 million metric tons grown annually in the United States alone. Approximately 40% of the crop - 130 million tons - is used for corn ethanol. Genetically modified maize made up 85% of the maize planted in the United States in 2009. Depending on FAOSTAT, production of corn or maize on the World in 2013 was 1,016,431,783 metric tons. Top ten of corn or maize producers on the World in 2013 are: 1- United States, 2- China, 3- Brazil, 4- Argentina, 5- Ukraine, 6- India, 7- Mexico, 8- Indonesia, 9- France and 10- South Africa.
4.3- Growing Most methods for corn planting are similar. The difference will fall into what type of soil you have and whether or not you have to add certain garden materials to your soil for your corn to grow. Another difference would be the amount of corn your gardening space can handle. + Weather Corn is a warm-weather vegetable that grows best during the long, sunny days of summer. The standard rule of thumb for seeding corn is to plant it two weeks before the last expected frost date. To extend your harvest a few weeks, stagger your corn plantings. This also prevents accidental cross-pollination of certain varieties. Time your plantings by checking the days to maturity and counting back from the date you want to begin harvesting. One thing to remember is that the harvest time may vary slightly if the weather is very cool or very warm during the growing season. Timing your corn plantings is especially helpful if you're planning a midsummer vacation away from home. You needn't miss a single, delicious ear if you plan it right. Corn enjoys growing in an area that allows for full sunshine. Shade will not produce as much corn as you’d like.
+ Prepare Soil and Site If you want to know how to grow corn from seed, your first responsibility is to make sure you plant the seeds in well drained soil. This will increase your yield dramatically. Make sure your soil has a lot of organic matter in it and fertilizer before you plant the corn. Good soil preparation is very important. Corn likes rich soil with good drainage. Ideal soil for corn is sandy loam that stays moist, without being too wet. The fastest way to improve less-than-perfect soil is to add plenty of organic matter (leaves, compost, grass clippings and crop residues). If your soil is too sandy, organic matter will help it retain nutrients and moisture, which are vital to corn. If you have heavy clay soil, organic matter will wedge between the soil's tightly compacted particles to loosen it and improve its drainage. Corn has the same needs as most vegetables when it comes to soil pH (acidity or alkalinity). The best range for all vegetables is between 5.8 and 6.8 on the pH scale. This measurement indicates that soil is slightly acidic (the scale runs from 0 to 14, with 7 marking the neutral point). Anything below 7 is acid; anything above is considered alkaline. Contact your local extension service to have your soil tested every few years to be sure the pH is at an acceptable level. To raise or lower your soil's pH, you add lime or sulphur, and specific amounts are usually recommended in the test results. As you're planning your garden, whether on paper or in your head, arrange the corn so it will be in at least four side-by-side rows to ensure good pollination. Be sure it gets full sun, away from trees that might shade it. Most corn varieties are tall and can shade shorter crops, so plant corn on the north or east side of the garden. If you're growing corn for the first time, you may need to enlarge your existing garden. All you need to "sod bust" or turn a patch of lawn or an overgrown garden into a productive seedbed is a spade or tiller. Although it's best to break new ground the fall before you want to plant, you can create a new garden in the spring with fairly good results. If you spade an area by hand, dig it to a depth of 8 to 10 inches and turn each spadeful of soil bottom-side up. This helps to keep grass from resprouting. Keep working the soil by chopping and stirring it, breaking up the clumps to make it loose and friable. A tiller will also turn over sod to create a loose, friable seedbed. Till the soil back and forth until the seedbed is worked 8 to 10 inches deep. If you've grown corn before in the same garden, change the place where you plant it, or rotate it, every year. This can be tricky if you don't have lots of garden space, but when you rotate corn, you prevent disease and pest problems from recurring. You also keep your garden's natural fertility in balance by moving heavy feeders, like corn, around. If your garden is too small for yearly rotation, rotate it at least every second or third season. If you run into a bad insect or disease problem one year, rotation the following season is a must. Mulch will help keep your corn free from weeds and will help to hold in moisture during drought conditions in the summertime.
+ Fertilizing Plan to fertilize twice because corn is a hungry plant. Before setting out seedlings, amend the soil with compost and mix a balanced organic or timed-release fertilizer into the soil. About a cup of 10-10-10 per 10 feet of row is a good general rate, but be sure to check and follow rates given on the label of any fertilizer you are using. About 6 weeks or so later, when the plants start to produce tassels, fertilize them again. (If you amend the soil with cottonseed meal or other high-nitrogen amendment, it may not be necessary to feed the second time.) Use a hoe or trowel to mix the fertilizer into the top inch of soil between the plants. After this booster feeding, water your corn once or twice weekly if the weather is hot and dry. Normal plants should grow fast with dark green healthy leaves. Corn will tell you if it is hungry by turning very light green. If so, feed again.
+ Harvesting Most corn plants will yield at least 2 ears per stalk. Hybrids may yield more. To see if an ear is ready for harvest, look at the silks. They should be brown and dry with just a little fresh green at the base. Squeeze the husk to see if the ear inside feels plump, not skinny. If you’re still not sure if the ear seems ripe, check by peeling just enough of the husk back to expose a couple of inches of the ear. Poke a kernel with your fingernail. The corn is ready to pick if it bleeds a light milky sap like skim milk. If the liquid is clear, the ear is not ready. Ears that are too ripe will look too milky, like cream versus skim milk; they often taste starchy. Remove them right away. Perfectly ripened ears also taste sugary-sweet when sampled raw. When possible, harvest sweet corn in the morning, when the ears are cool. To remove the ear, use one hand to hold the corn stalk and the other to pull the ear down and away from the stalk, twisting a little until it breaks off. Before World War II, most maize in North America was harvested by hand. This involves a large numbers of workers and associated social events (husking or shucking bees). Some one- and two-row mechanical pickers were in use, but the maize combine was not adopted until after the War. By hand or mechanical picker, the entire ear is harvested, which then requires a separate operation of a maize sheller to remove the kernels from the ear. Whole ears of maize were often stored in corn cribs, and these whole ears are a sufficient form for some livestock feeding use.
+ Storage - For raw corn Place harvested ears in the refrigerator right away. When kept chilled, they should hold much of their sweet flavor for up to a week, though they’ll taste best if eaten as close to harvesting as possible. Corn can be blanched and frozen, on or off the cob. - For dry corn Few modern farms store maize in this manner. Most harvest the grain from the field and store it in bins. The combine with a corn head (with points and snap rolls instead of a reel) does not cut the stalk; it simply pulls the stalk down. The stalk continues downward and is crumpled into a mangled pile on the ground. The ear of maize is too large to pass between slots in a plate as the snap rolls pull the stalk away, leaving only the ear and husk to enter the machinery. The combine separates out the husk and the cob, keeping only the kernels.
4.4- Production of Corn or Maize on the World + Overview Corn or Maize is widely cultivated throughout the world, and a greater weight of corn or maize is produced each year than any other grain. The United States produces 40% of the world's harvest; other top producing countries include China, Brazil, Mexico, Indonesia, India, France and Argentina. Worldwide production was 817 million tonnes in 2009 - more than rice (678 million tonnes) or wheat (682 million tonnes). In 2009, over 159 million hectares (390 million acres) of maize were planted worldwide, with a yield of over 5 tonnes per hectare (80 bu/acre). Production can be significantly higher in certain regions of the world; 2009 forecasts for production in Iowa were 11614 kg/ha (185 bu/acre). There is conflicting evidence to support the hypothesis that maize yield potential has increased over the past few decades. This suggests that changes in yield potential are associated with leaf angle, lodging resistance, tolerance of high plant density, disease/pest tolerance, and other agronomic traits rather than increase of yield potential per individual plant. + Top ten of corn or maize producers in 2013 Country Production (tonnes) 1- United States 353,699,441 2- China 217,730,000 3- Brazil 80,516,571 4- Argentina 32,119,211 5- Ukraine 30,949,550 6- India 23,290,000 7- Mexico 22,663,953 8- Indonesia 18,511,853 9- France 15,053,100 10- South Africa 12,365,000 World 1,016,431,783 Source: FAOSTAT