The value of corn is growing, and not just because of ethanol. Rod Williamson, Director of Research and Business Development for the Iowa Corn Promotion Board, says there are already more than four-thousand different products made from corn.
"It wasn’t that long ago when corn was primarily a feed product," Williamson says, "and now, the sky’s the limit in terms of industrial uses for corn." The main reason a kernel of corn has so many uses is because it produces a large amount of starch.
Williamson says, "It’s the starch portion of the kernel that’s converted into all kinds of industrial and food products." For the first time, the Iowa Corn Promotion Board has published five patents. They all involve converting corn into an additive called isosorbide, which has been used in cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, and plastics.
"One of the patents that we’ve got a license to is a sunscreen, it would be used as a U.V. stabilizer," Williamson says, "other things that we’re looking at are plastics, such as epoxies, plastic cups and bottles." Williamson says he expect many more patents for the ICPB, saying it will bring more profitability to the Iowa corn grower.
"Companies that we meet with, nearly every one of them have a team dedicated to looking at renewable or biodegradable materials. More information about the work of the Iowa Corn Promotion Board can be found at www.IowaCorn.org .