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Biochemicals & Bioplastics

The result of these research efforts has been the discovery of many new uses for corn, such as bioplastics, renewable fuels and a host of other products that use the starch from corn. Just look at a few of the items in your local grocery store and you will see more often than not that corn is an ingredient. What will they think of next? Only time will tell!


Investment by the Iowa Corn Promotion Board in research and business development allows for a direct return on Iowa corn farmer checkoff investments. Research programs aim to find new innovative uses of corn and improve the production efficiency of growing corn.

Finding new uses for corn

The checkoff funds invested by the Iowa Corn Promotion Board are finding new ways to use corn.  This research will result in higher blends of renewable fuel, better livestock feed, new bioplastics and better understanding of the impact of corn production on land area, commonly referred to as international indirect land use. The results will help preserve existing markets and develop new markets for corn. 

The key objectives for this research are to:

  • Develop new markets for corn
  • Develop new corn based bioplastics
  • Overcome the current limits to ethanol use in gasoline (blend wall) to increase use of biofuels
  • Improve the performance of distillers grain as a livestock feed

Isosorbide is a corn-derived additive used to improve the properties of the plastic.

Isosorbide Applications is finding ways to utilize the corn based material in consumer products.

Mixed Alcohol Fuel is evaluation of blending several corn-based alcohols with gasoline to measure improved performance and reduced emissions.

MonoEthylene Glycol (MEG) is a corn-derived, drop-in monomer for soda bottles and polyester fabric, as well as antifreeze.

Hemicellulose is one of the components of the corn stover and kernels.  This is a potential source for new products such as fuel and bioplastics.

Feeding Vitamin C to beef cattle could offset the negative impact of sulfur in feed rations using distillers grain and solubles.

Indirect Land Use models use price elasticity of corn as an important input into the computer models that measure international indirect land use attributed to corn production.

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