The term bioproducts designates a wide variety of corn-based products made from natural, renewable raw materials that are used in food and also in some of the most innovative industrial and consumer products available today, often as a petroleum substitute.

For many decades, fermentation of corn-derived glucose has provided a multitude of bioproducts, including organic acids, amino acids, vitamins, and food gums.

  • Citric and lactic acid: Citric and lactic acid from corn can be found in hundreds of food and industrial products. They provide tartness to foods and confections, help control pH, and are themselves feedstocks for further advanced products.
  • Amino acids: Amino acids are organic compounds commonly described as the “building blocks” of protein. However, animals can only produce half the amino acids necessary for life – they must obtain the remaining ten acids from their diet. Amino acids produced by corn refiners are added to feed to ensure healthy livestock and pets.
  • Vitamin C and Vitamin E: These vital human nutritional supplements can be derived from corn.
  • Xanthan gum: Xanthan gum is a thickening agent and also a stabilizer, ensuring products with multiple ingredients, from salad dressings to haircare products, do not separate over time.

Petroleum Alternatives

Thanks to decades of work by scientists and researchers in our industry, the contents of a simple kernel of corn are the basis for a thousand everyday products, such as pharmaceutical casings, paper goods, and automobile tires.

Corn-based polymers, sometimes known as biopolymers, are high-performance, sustainable, and biodegradable alternatives to petroleum-derived materials. Biodegradable and energy efficient caps, cups, paper coatings, fabrics, carpeting, and a host of other products are all possible today because of corn-based biopolymers. And with technological improvements in fermentation, they are moving into the next generation of technology: Utilized in 3-D printing inks and studied by nanotechnology scientists as a method for delivering cancer treatments.

Examples of Advanced Bioproducts

Food Packaging: Plastic

Polylactic acid (PLA), a biodegradable plastic made from cornstarch, is used to create containers for edible items, like salads, fruits, and vegetables.

Liquid Hand Soap

In many cases, one-quarter of soap’s ingredients are corn-based, including corn oil and products made from bioprocessing. For example, xanthan gum thickens and stabilizes soap.

Biomedical Nanotechnology

Due to the unique size, shape and structure of the corn protein zein at the nanoparticle level, scientists are studying how it can deliver drugs that fight cancer.