Maize (Zea mays) is one among the foremost versatile rising crops having wider adaptability underneath varied agro-climatic conditions. Globally, maize is recognized as the queen of cereals because of its highest genetic yield potential among the cereals. It is also referred to as corn or Indian corn, a cereal plant of the grass family Poaceae.
It is cultivated on nearly 150 m ha angular distance in 160 countries having wider diversity of soil, climate, variety, biodiversity, and management practices that bestow 36 % (782 mt) in global grain production. The USA is the wide-ranging producer of maize contributes nearly 35 % of the total production in the world and maize is the carter of the US economy. It is used as eutherian feed, human food, biofuel, and raw material within the trade. In India, maize is the third most vital food crop after rice and wheat. Consistent with the advance estimate, its production is probably going to be 22.23 M Tonnes (2012-13) chiefly throughout the Kharif season which covers 80% space. Maize in Asian countries like India contributes nearly 9 % to the national food basket.
Corn (Maize) was initially domesticated by native peoples in the southern United Mexican States about 10,000 years past. Modern corn is believed to have been obtained from the Balsas teosinte (Zea mays parviglumis), a wild grass. Its culture had spread as far north as southern Pine Tree State by the time of European settlement of North America, and Native Americans paved the way for European colonists to spread the indigenous grains. Since its introduction into Europe by Christopher Columbus, a navigator, and other explorers and colonizers, corn has unfolded to all areas of the globe suitable for its cultivation.
The corn plant is described as a high-reaching annual grass with a stout, vertical, strong stem. The large narrow leaves have wavy margins and are spaced alternately on contrary sides of the stem. Staminate (male) flowers are borne on the tassel ceasing the main axis of the stem, and the pistillate (female) inflorescences, which mature to emerge as the edible ears, are spikes with a thickened axis, bearing paired spikelets in longitudinal rows; every row of paired spikelets commonly produces two rows of grain.
Varieties of yellow and white corn are the most popular as food, despite the fact, there are varieties with red, blue, pink, and black kernels, often banded, spotted, or striped. Each ear is circumscribed by modified leaves referred to as shucks or husks.
The six utmost types of maize are dent corn, flint corn, pod corn, popcorn, flour corn, and sweet corn. Sugar-rich varieties referred to as sweet corn are usually grown for human consumption as kernels, while field corn varieties are used for animal feed.
- Dent corn: It’s ordinarily grown as animal feed and for meals manufacturing, is characterized through a melancholy in the crown of the kernel due to the unequal drying of the tough and smooth starch making up the kernel.
- Flint corn: It includes little smooth starch and has no depression. It is used for adornment and is eaten as hominy withinside the Americas.
- Flour corn: It is poised abundantly with soft starch, has soft, mealy, easily ground kernels, and is a crucial supply of cornflour.
- Sweet corn: It is typically offered fresh, frozen, or canned as a vegetable, has wrinkled translucent seeds; the plant sugar isn’t transformed to starch as in other varieties.
- Popcorn: It is uttermost flint corn characterized by small though kernels, is without soft starch, and heating affects the moisture within the cells to expand, making the kernels explode.
Products and Uses
Corn is the third-biggest plant-based food source in the world, however, corn is not so good as other cereals in dietary value. Its protein is of poor quality, and it is deficient in niacin. Diets within which it predominates often leads to pellagra. The good part is that corn is high in nutritional fibre and wealthy in antioxidants. Corn flour is gluten-free and can’t be used alone to make rising loaves of bread.
In Latin American delicates it is far used to make masa, a form of dough utilized in such staple foods as tortillas, arepas, and tamales. In the US and lots of other places, candy corn is boiled or roasted at the cob, creamed, transformed into hominy or meal, and cooked in corn puddings, mush, polenta, griddle cakes, cornbread, and scrapple. It is also used for popcorn, confections, and various machined breakfast cereal preparations. Various corn-based human food is also fermented into some alcoholic beverages, notably bourbon and other corn whiskeys.
Corn oil, valued for its bland flavour and mild colour, is used often for food. It is favoured as a salad oil and frying oil as it incorporates little cholesterol. Corn oil may be transformed into margarine with the aid of using hydrogenation, a system wherein the oil is blended with hydrogen at excessive temperature and stress within the presence of a catalyst.
Corn is Maize is likewise utilized in making ethanol and other biofuels. Inedible elements of the plant are utilized in industry, stalks for paper and wallboard; husks for filling material; and cobs for fuel, to make charcoal, and within the formation of industrial solvents.