The Company’s primary product is corn starch. The Company also derives three by-products from its manufacturing process of corn starch, namely: corn germ, gluten and fibre.
Starch is the energy reserve of many plants including corn, wheat, potatoes and rice.
Corn starch is derived from the energy storage part of the corn kernel called the endosperm. The endosperm is primarily comprised of starch and protein, with the remainder consisting of small amounts of oil, minerals and trace constituents.
Starch exists as a major carbohydrate storage product in all plants containing chlorophyll. In the process of photosynthesis, green plants extract energy from sunlight to form glucose from carbon dioxide and water. Glucose fuels plant growth processes and is the primary building material for plant support structures such as cellulose and hemicellulose. When the plant reaches maturity, the reproduction cycle begins, culminating in pollination and formation of the starch- and oil-rich seed embryo. Starch and oil exist in the corn kernel to supply energy to the germinating seed. The highly structured nature of the starch granule is demonstrated by its great strength. After the pulverizing, pumping, centrifugal circulation and physical attrition in the wet phases of the corn wet milling operation, followed by drying, grinding and mechanical or air transportation of the dry starch, almost all of the granules remain intact. Isolated starch is typically a dry, soft, white powder. It is insoluble in cold water, alcohol, ether and most organic solvents. Starch, if kept dry, is stable in storage for indefinite periods.
Starch may be further processed into a number of downstream products. This further processing may take three forms; physical modification to produce pre-gelatinized starch; chemical modification to produce oxidized starch, cross linked starch or acetylated starch and finally enzyme modification to produce glucose, alcohol, lactic or poly lactic acid.
Starches have four major properties that make them useful in food and industrial applications. The first property, thickening, gives many food products such as puddings, gravies, sauces and pie fillings their desired consistency. This property is also useful in many industrial starch applications. The second useful physicochemical property is the ability of the starch paste to disperse and suspend other ingredients or particulate matter. In many foods, fats and proteins are suspended and/or emulsified in starch pastes. In the manufacturing of paper and adhesives, clay particles are suspended in thick starch pastes.
When starch pastes are allowed to cool, they thicken and can congeal into a semisolid gel. The third useful property, gel formation, provides the body typical of starch-based puddings, salad dressings and some types of adhesives. The fourth useful physicochemical property of starch paste is its ability to produce strong adhesive films when spread on smooth surfaces and dried. The major industrial uses of starch, such as paper coating and sizing, textile sizing, corrugated board manufacture and all adhesive applications utilize this property.
Corn germ is the embryo of the kernel found in its centre and is comprised of fat (50%), starch (14%) and protein (13%). The germ can be processed into corn oil, which can then be further processed into cooking oil, margarine, mayonnaise, salad dressing, soaps and a variety of other products. Corn oil contains a high level of polyunsaturated fats, which is effective in lowering cholesterol levels as compared to animal fats. After the extraction of the corn oil from the germ, the residue is used in corn germ meal as animal feed primarily for pigs and poultry.
Corn gluten is the yellow portion of the corn kernel. Corn gluten is a moderately high source of protein (about 65-70%), low in starch (about 12%), and the fibre is digestible. Because of these characteristics, cattle can be fed relatively large amounts. Despite its high portion of fibre, it can still be regarded as an energy source. The level of protein degradability is an important factor when considering protein levels in the diet of livestock. Fibre produced from the wet milling process is somewhat more digestible than in the dry form, permitting greater intakes of wet versus dry corn gluten feed.
Corn fibre is a mixture of the seed coat and remaining endosperm of the kernel after the extraction of the starch, gluten and germ. Fibre is composed of 21% protein, 18% starch and 30% fibre which makes it ideal as an ingredient for animal feed. Fibre can be mixed with concentrated steeping liquor (called Gluten Feed). Despite its high portion of fibre, it can still be regarded as an energy source. The level of protein degradability is an important factor when considering protein levels in the diet of livestock. Fibre produced from the corn wet milling process is somewhat more digestible than in the dry form.