Maize (Zea mays) also known as corn is a cereal grain used as livestock feed, as human food, as biofuel, ethanol and as raw material in industry. There are six major types of maize, namely, dent corn, flint corn, pod corn, popcorn, flour corn and sweet corn.
Maize is a good source of vitamins (Vitamins A, B1, B2 C, E, K Niacin), minerals (Potassium, Calcium, Zinc, Iron and Selenium) and dietary fibre. It contains no cholesterol and has suboptimal amounts of essential amino acids tryptophan and lysine which accounts for its lower status as a protein source. The composition of maize ensures it has many health benefits. Its high fibre content plays a role in preventing constipation. Its antioxidants also neutralize the effects of harmful free radicals that cause diseases like cancer.
Polymers used in biodegradable plastics created from maize (specifically from the lactic acid that is generated during the fermentation process) are biodegradable and safer for the environment. Most plastics are made from synthetic polymers (large chain-like molecules composed of repeating structural units), which are long-lasting, nonbiodegradable, and can be toxic. Cornstarch, produced from the starch in the maize kernel, can also be used to make foam products similar to packing peanuts and package inserts. These maize-derived products are much better for the environment as they are biodegradable and made from renewable resources.