Maize is one of the important food crops in the world. Its botanical name is ‘Zea mays’ and belongs to the family Poaceae Gramineae. It is called as ‘Queen of Cereals’ as it possess the high yield potential among the cereals. Origin of maize is still not definitely known most likely because of its wild relatives become extinct during the long period of cultivation.
Importance and Uses:
Maize contains a protein called ‘Zein’ which is deficient in two essential amino acids called Lysine and tryptophan.
Maize grain contains proteins- 10%, oil- 4%, Carbohydrates- 70%, fat-5 to 7 %, fiber- 3 to 5%, minerals- 2%.
Maize grain contains significant quantity of vitamin A, nicotinic acid, riboflavin and vitamin E.
Green cobs can be used for table purpose which can be roasted and eaten by people.
Corn has low fiber content, more carbohydrate and most palatable. It is widely used in the preparation of cattle and poultry feed.
It can be used as a green fodder and has no HCN content. It can be preserved as silage.
Corn starch is a raw material in many brews and jams. It is also good for alcohol preparation.
Corn germ oil is a good cooking medium and it is also used in soap making industry.
Maize is classified into seven groups based on the endosperm characters.
1. Dent corn- Its botanical name is Zea mays indentata. Kernel looks like a tooth and it is extensively grown in USA.
2. Flint corn- Botanical name is Zea mays indurate. Kernel is hard and smooth commonly cultivated in India.
3. Sweet corn- Botanical name is Zea mays saccharate. Sugar and starch are the major components of the endosperm, grown in north half of USA.
4. Flour corn- Botanical name is Zea mays amylacea. Kernels consists of entire soft starch so it is called as soft corn.
5. Popcorn- Botanical name is Zea mays everta. Consists of small kernel’s whereas the endosperm is hard and corneous.
6. Waxy corn- Botanical name is Zea mays mays creatine. The caryopsis of waxy corn contains two layered endosperm which is used to produce starch.