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Adding value to European maize use in the starch industry in relation to growing areas and cultivation techniques used

This research project compared the extractability of various maize kernel components, and the industrial properties of the starch extracted, by using experimental samples from several maize producing regions in the European Community. The varieties, type of kernel, production areas and growing techniques were all varied. On the basis of the results of this research, the purpose was to orient maize growing by enabling the choice of hybrids and growing techniques most suited for supplying the European wet-milling industry with maize of optimal quality.

Despite very different production conditions, resulting in extremely variable agronomic results (in yield, kernel weight, etc), especially in the irrigation and nitrogen fertilization trials, the starch extractability functional properties were, overall, little affected by the growing conditions and varietal types. The usual modes of nitrogen fertilization for maize have no influence on starch quality. A very severe restriction of water throughout the maize cycle failed to produce any noticeable reduction in the starch properties and recovery rate. Water deficit after silking, however, resulted in a significant reduction in the first extract starch recovery, without altering the starch properties. The area of production had no effect on the extraction results, whereas the agronomic results differed between Northern Europe (growing early flint-dent varieties) and Southern Europe (growing late dent varieties). The gelatinization temperature of the starch samples from Belgium (the coldest area) was lower then the gelatinization temperatures observed in the other areas. A production year effect (hitherto unexplained) on the extraction results was evidenced. Inbred lines of particular value as a source of flouriness were detected, converted into a large number of genitors for the ultra-rapid production of starch inbred lines by the use of in situ haplodiploidization with a minimal induction of 2%. In the semi-early varieties, pure dent hybrids more floury that the flint-dent varieties grown were detected.

As far as the starch, protein and lipids are concerned, the hypothesis was put forward that the starch-protein-lipids bonds depend, not only on the proper filling of the kernels, but also on the drying speed.


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