Description and Cultivation
Like the sunflower and the groundnut, maize was originally cultivated in America. The stout stem can be up to 3-5 cm thick and 2.5 m high. The shallow root system also supports the heavy stem. The plan depends on wind pollination. There are different maize varieties; sweet corn, tooth, flint and puff maize, all with their own characteristics.
The most important cultivation regions are the USA, China, South America, Eastern and Southern Europe. North America produces about half the total world harvest.
Maize oil is a by-product from the wet or dry milling of Zea Mays, the primary product from this process being starch. Maize germs contain 30 – 40 % oil, which is obtained by pressing and extraction. Other important products from maize include starch and starch derivatives, meal and protein. Most of these are used as food ingredients and additives.
Maize oil has linoleic acid content of about 57 % and has a composition similar to sunflower oil. However, it has a different tocopherol composition with mainly µ-tocopherol, wich makes it more heat stable. Maize oil is used as salad and cooking oil, but also in the pharmaceutical industry and a variety of industrial applications.