Maize (Zea mays), also called corn, is believed to have originated in central Mexico 7000 years ago from a wild grass, and Native Americans transformed maize into a better source of food. Maize contains approximately 72% starch, 10% protein, and 4% fat, supplying an energy density of 365 Kcal/100 g and is grown throughout the world, with the United States, China, and Brazil being the top three maize-producing countries in the world, producing approximately 563 of the 717 million metric tons/year. Maize can be processed into a variety of food and industrial products, including starch, sweeteners, oil, beverages, glue, industrial alcohol, and fuel ethanol. In the last 10 years, the use of maize for fuel production significantly increased, accounting for approximately 40% of the maize production in the United States. As the ethanol industry absorbs a larger share of the maize crop, higher prices for maize will intensify demand competition and could affect maize prices for animal and human consumption. Low production costs, along with the high consumption of maize flour and cornmeal, especially where micronutrient deficiencies are common public health problems, make this food staple an ideal food vehicle for fortification.
Keywords: consumption; corn; maize; production; varieties.
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