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Corn, the Misunderstood Miracle Grass

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Corn, the Misunderstood Miracle Grass

Corn, the Misunderstood Miracle Grass From the ancient Mayan culture to colonization of America to modern society, Corn has been a large part of many cultures. In Mayan Corn was such an important crop to them that they actually gave sacrifices to ensure that the Corn crops came out with abundance. With all of the changing it has done many do not understand that Corn is actually a grass and a sophisticated one at that. Corn has adapted itself to many environments and has changed forms dramatically over decades of being grown. Although Corn has advanced many times over, it still requires human intervention. Corn has been so much more than just food for people. From creating food for the livestock we grow and eat to being used in many everyday products from medicines down to the rubber in tires and gas in cars. While for many years Corn was thought to be just another vegetable Corn is actually grass that has evolved many different ways, been implemented in many products, and has become a part of everyday life. Corn has many points where evolution has taken its role in the Corn we know today (Omnivores Dilemma P. 37-38). The structure of Corn has been a crucial factor for its survival. The structure of Corn cannot be weak and flimsy; it has to withstand harsh weather, plowing, birds, and or insects. Many times Corn can adjust itself to the different climates whether there is abundance of water or lack thereof. “Like a giant wick, a growing corn plant pulls moisture out of the soil. Some of that moisture escapes through the plant’s leaves and enters the atmosphere (transpiration). Water vapor also enters the air from lakes and other surfaces (evaporation). (www2.ucar.edu)” Together these processes are known as evapotranspiration. When a stalk reaches about two-thirds of its full height the reproductive process begins. The development of the straw colored tassels near the top of the Corn is the evidence that the plant has begun the reproductive cycle. These tassels are known as the “male” parts of the plant. Nearly three days after the formation of these tassels the silks (stigma) of the “female” flowers of the plant form. These threadlike silks develop as a result of the newly formed ears of Corn. Each silk has a kernel that it must correspond with in pollination for the ear to be full formed. Tassels also contain pollen that detaches and is carried off by the wind to silks of other plants that are dangling ready to catch the pollen. This is one reason so many types of Corn are present in today’s world. When the pollen lands it is held in place until it can be moved down into a kernel for fertilization. Many times pollination can be hampered with by weather, soil conditions, and or fertility, thus is why you can see some ears that are fully formed and some that are not. With the exception of special variety multi-eared corn, the stalks generally produce one to two ears of Corn. Kernels generally develop faster in hot weather with a sufficient amount of water, but if the weather is too cool or too dry the harvest will be delayed. Corn is an amazing plant and the more it evolves the more it must be understood.
Evolution is complicated for this wondrous grass (Omnivores Dilemma P. 37-38). The Corn that is bred for thicker stalks is known as a hybrid and has a lot stronger, thicker stalk to help it withstand harsh conditions. This species of Corn can also be planted in a tighter formation. The reproduction of Corn is a complicated process but can have great outcomes. Genetics has played a large part in the fact that it has been used to alter the yield rate in certain corns. This can allow the Corn to produce many more offspring than its predecessors and allow for flourishing harvests. Although it has become a sophisticated process, Corn still needs human intervention to reproduce or it may not survive. Many different variations such as 34B98 and “Pioneer Hi-Bred’s 34H31,” only exist due to genetic alteration, this means nothing is perfect which is why at certain times yield rates drop like a pound of bricks through glass. Although Corn is a pain when reproducing it still has to be taken care of properly. Corn has evolved to more than just what science has labeled, the physical traits of the grass have changed along with how they grow (garden.org). When it comes to how Corn grows it all grows in basically the same manner. The seed must be planted in one to two inches of soil where it takes anywhere between five to twelve days for germination. However, if the soil is below 55 degrees Fahrenheit the seed will refuse to germinate. Thus far the best known temperature for seed germination is between 68 degrees Fahrenheit to 86 degrees Fahrenheit. Once the seeds have sprouted a taproot descends deeper into the soil where the first leaves will appear. It is said that these leaves resemble blades of grass. As the Corn grows a thick fibrous stalk, typically flat with pointed leaves begins to form. This stalk has the ability to grow up to fifteen feet tall with roots reaching anywhere from three to five feet long and can extend up to a foot to each side of the stalk. The roots that extend to the side are known as “prop roots,” (garden.org). While many do not realize it Corn has exceeded many other plants in its evolution and continues to do so. In further explanation of how Corn has evolved over the decades, there are many other variations (garden.org). The four basic types of corn are field, sweet, popcorn, and ornamental. Field corn has many different forms, but two that are more commonly used for roasting and eating are known as dent and flint. Conveniently these two types are easily ground down into cornmeal. Dent is known for how it got its name, after the ears have matured a crater like dent on the top. Flint however has a harder shell and is able to survive in the cooler climates of New England and Canada. Popcorn is another hard-shelled variety of Corn that contains a type of hardened starch that has the ability to expand when heated causing the kernel to burst open. No matter the Corn group, kernel texture, shape, and the flavor are all determined by starch and sugar content, this is different though for every variety. It is because of those types of Corn that the soft-shelled, moist and sweet tasting ones are considered the favorite variety. These types of the miracle grass are few of many that reside in society but are some of the most popular. Part of how Corn has advanced involves the formation of the kernels and the flavor of each type of Corn (garden.org). The flavor and texture of the kernel is determined in growth and is the part that is the most controllable because it is here that timing is crucial. Newly formed kernels contain a liquid or milk like fluid. In many varieties this stage does not last long as the natural goal for the plant is to convert it all into a form of starch. “If the seed were allowed to continue its life cycle, the starch would be stored and used later as food to sustain the new plant.” (Garden.org) This time however is the peak harvest time for sweet corn (field corn). If this time is not used for harvesting the corn then the starch is formed inside the kernel in a process known as the dough stage. Corn has many forms but in the end they all have very similar ways of handling the situations thrown at them. Many products that we eat, drink, or use have a form of corn in them (Kycorn.com 2002). In Hispanic cultures many people make what are known as Tamales. Many types of Tamale are made with a wrap that is the husk of the Corn plant. Also the masa used for the Tamales is essentially made primarily of Corn. Corn is also in masa used for the production of Corn tortillas. For livestock Corn is almost always the whole diet. Beef that we consume can be traced back to a location where Corn was fed to the cattle. Cattle are fattened up with the Corn so they can produce more products. Chickens that we eat feed on Corn feed their entire life. The Pork we consume can be traced back to a farm or plantation where Corn was inside the feed used to fatten the pigs. On average, Pigs alone consume 1/3rd of Iowa’s Corn (Iowacorn.org). Many sweeteners that are around have a form of the miracle grass in them; the main sweetener that contains it is High Fructose Corn Syrup which is a byproduct of corn. Conveniently one of the most popular soft drinks (soda) contains high amounts of the Corn Syrup. Another form of beverages would be those that are in the powdered form, they contain Maltodextrins (Corn byproduct that is created in the wet milling process) that allow the granules of the powder to stay free forming. In places like the United States many are pushing for a lighter beer that still has the taste of beer. That is where Corn plays into the beer business, dry adjuncts such as dry milled Corn grits, refined Corn starch, and dextrose are used in manufacturing of beer for a light taste. Many types of bread that have a sweet taste to them contain the syrup. In 2011 148 million bushels of Corn in Iowa alone were used to feed cattle in beef production (Iowacorn.org). Cows are considered important for many reasons. In 2011 4.34 billion pounds of milk was produced. It can be said that without Corn to eat the cows would die, meaning that milk would be non-existent in turn causing many, if not all dairy products to drop from the shelves. Many do not give credit where it is due but Corn has shown itself to be a crucial part of society.
Cars are a very good example that Corn is universal (agricorner.com). Innovations in the manufacturing of rubber tires have led to a byproduct of Corn being used in the rubber as a way to be environmentally friendly. An essential part to cars is the spark plug. Without these the car cannot start, but many do not know that Corn starch is used for the production of the special porcelain that spark plugs are made out of. Ethanol is a form of clean burning gasoline that allows cars to run longer while running clean and is a renewable resource. When it comes to manufacturing Ethanol in 2012 approximately 5.0 billion bushels of Corn were used to make the biofuel. Iowa alone produced 3.7 billion gallons of ethanol in 2012 (iowacorn.org). One bushel of corn can produce 2.8 gallons of ethanol. With the use of Ethanol the fuel life-cycle greenhouse gas emissions were down by 30 percent. “…replacing almost 14 billion gallons of ethanol on short notice would drive up prices at the pump by as much as $1.40 per gallon, according to Dan Basse, a market analyst in Chicago.” –Chicago Tribune, Feb. 24, 2011. (Iowacorn.org)” The batteries in our cars utilize a form of corn starch to run efficiently. Although we do not realize it not having Corn for the products we use will cost us more in the long run. Everyday life would not be the same without the presence of the miracle grass (Nebraskacorn.org). The medical field has benefited exponentially from the use of Corn and its byproducts. Aspirin contains a form of cornstarch that helps deliver the medicine. The silk (long brown strands) that hang down from the husk are used in the medical field. It has been noticed that some IVs contain a mixture of dextrose and water solutions as well. When it comes to Antibiotics, the preferred carbohydrate is corn syrup, dextrose, corn starch, lactose and sucrose. Corn steep liquor was discovered to be a steady source of nitrogenous nutrients that excite growth in the antibiotic production. There are more than 85 different types of antibiotics including Penicillin that contain multiple traces of Corn. “Corn silk is used for treating various disorders of the genitourinary tract including bladder infections, inflammation of the urethra, inflammation of the prostate, inflammation of the urinary system, and bedwetting. It is also used to treat congestive heart failure, diabetes, and high blood pressure. Corn silk contains tannins, which act as drying agents. It also contains cryptoxanthin, which acts like vitamin A (Webmd.com).” All though it is usually thought of as only a vegetable, Corn has evident medical purposes.
When it comes to hygiene, beauty aids, and cleaning products the miracle grass can be found in those as well. Many lotions contain an ingredient known as Maltodextrin which is a derivative of the wet milling process with Corn. Corn oil is present in some forms of soap, mainly in soaps that are homemade. The use of the oil is for moisturizing and to have a rich lather. Dry shampoos used in between hair washes contain an amount of corn starch. “Sorbitol, which is produced from the Corn sugar dextrose, is used in toothpaste as a low-calorie, water-soluble, bulking agent” (Agricorner.com). The Corn starch is used to absorb excess oil. Many times we think of eating Corn, not cleaning with it. Many paper products contain traces of Corn through a polymer coating that derives from this miracle grass. Many different forms of Corn are found in laundry detergents. Sodium Gluconate a form of Corn is used to balance PH levels and to prevent stain fighting chemicals from breaking down. Cocoglyceride a byproduct of Corn is found in some forms of detergents used to clean baby clothes. Citric acid found in Corn is used in many cleaning products. Green works uses the acid in bathroom cleaners and cleaning wipes. Traces of Ethanol are found in their glass cleaning wipes. Lactic acid which is found in Corn as well plays a crucial role in some products used for cleaning. Toilet bowl cleaners often contain this to remove the hard water rings that linger in a toilet bowl. Many brooms that we use now that is of higher quality are made of Corn husks and are stronger than typical broom bristles. Any way that this topic is looked at, Corn is a part of everyday life and without it many would suffer.
Some materials used in housing contain forms of Corn. The Gypsum or Drywall contains a starch containing Corn flour is gelatinized during the process of being manufactured. It is used to control the rate of water that can be lost during the time and use of heat it takes to dry the board. Soluble carbohydrates migrate to the surface in order to control the crystallization rate of the gypsum. This gives the gypsum a strong bond between itself and the liner. A form of alcohol known as Tetrahydrofurfuryl is used as a resin developed from the processing or corncobs. These resins are good to use in the paint and varnish industry as solvents for dyes, other resins, and lacquers. A new carpeting material from Dupont, known as Sorona is a versatile, high-performance biopolymer. In the past people misunderstood what Corn can actually do but it has become evident that many building materials now contain forms of the miracle grass.
Many do not know that Corn has thousands of uses, but even fewer know that a new trend is emerging in the environmentally friendly community (dexigner.com). This new trend is that is launching is in clothing, the name of this clothing fabric is Ingeo. Ingeo is made from animal corn feed. The Corn gives it a thin look and comfortable feeling and makes it extremely hard to tear or rip. While this product is more durable because of the Corn, it can be machine washed but not ironed, if ironed it melts. The thought of wearing Corn never occurred too many, but many wear it or have worn it unknowingly. Corn has been around since the ancient Mayans and is still standing tall today. It is in almost everything seen today. Many times it is overlooked that the miracle grass is an important part of an everyday life because the miracle grass can hide in many different forms. Looking at a label for anything it is almost certain traces of Corn will be located. Corn needs Mankind almost as much as Mankind needs it though. Without Man, Corn would shrivel and die and likewise in return to Man. Better understanding is needed for these two to be in complete unison but for now, Corn is a necessity in almost everything we do.

References
A Breakthrough, versatile, high-performance biopolymer. (2012. Retrieved from http://www2.dupont.com/biosciences/en-us/sorona/dupont-sorona.html
A Growing Opportunity. (n.d.) Retrieved from http://www.nebraskacorn.org/wp-content/uploads/210/07/newusesbrochure_2006.pdf
All ingredients. (2011). Retrieved from http://www.seventhgeneration.com/igredients
Billy J. (09 25 03) Kycorn.org. Retrieved from http://www.kycorn.org/documents/cornpresentation.pdf
Corn brooms. (2012). Retrieved from http://www.scrubble.com/quality-cleaning-products/brooms-handles-squeegees-and-accessories/corn-brooms/default.html Corn clothes: Thin and Comfotable. (2006, April 17). Retrieved from http://www.dexigner.com/news/7838
Corn history and how it grows. (2012). Retrieved from http://www.garden.org/foodguide/browse/veggie/corn_getting_started/397
Iowa. (05). Retrieved from http://www.iowacorn.org/documents/filelibrary/ethanol/iowa_ethanol_talking_points_May_201_89ED27DE92FD7.pdf Iowacorn.org. (2011) Retrieved from
Http://www.iowacorn.org/documents/filelibrary/livestock/Iowa_Livestock_Fact_sheet_82282E4C0F3E8.pdf

Pollan M. (2007). The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A natural history of four meals. (pp. 13-109). New York, Canada, England: Penguin Books
Shelton, K. (06, 16, 2011). Dry clean your hair: Instant shampoo formulas. Retrieved from http://www.hairboutique.com/tips/tip1172.htm
Top ten things you didn’t know are made from corn. (2012). Retrieved from http://www.agricorner.com/op-ten-things-you-didn’t-know-are-made-from-corn/ webmd.com. (2012). Retrieved from http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-140-CORN SILK.aspx?activeIngredientId=140&activeIngredientName=CORN SILK
Where green meets clean (2011). Retrieved from http://www.greenworks.com/products/ingredients/…...

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...ArisAngel Cuello English 101 Essay Assignment # 1 “Thanksgiving Day Miracle” The leaves on the trees seemed to follow a pattern and they changed colors, greens turned to yellows, yellows to oranges, oranges to browns and so on. Diverse and multicolored, the leaves then proceeded to take their journey ending plunge from the tips of the branches to the cold hard ground, which lay motionless underneath them. Hot humid breathes of nature seemed to increase in pace and magnitude but simultaneously decreased in temperature, as the gusts of wind became cooler to the touch, signaling the end of summer and the return of fall. The roads and sidewalks filled with chaos by the thousands of individual-minded leaves, resembling the room of a dirty child. As the presence of the great big star settled in the west and the sky lit with orange and yellow, the scenery was set, it was beautifully and uniquely painted in harmony, like the vivid colors of a Dr. Seuss illustration. It was that time of year again, my mothers’ favorite holiday – last Thanksgiving. As my mothers’ precious holiday arrived, so did the baggage, the stress and chaos of preparing. There was so much to do but so little time. It seemed as if every year there would be a preplanned agenda to conquer the stress of the holidays. However, every year that so called “plan” would fail. Every member of my family knew what to do, just sit there and wait patiently for the inevitable. Sitting there like......

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Corn

...Corn America The demand for corn has greatly increased because of its many new found uses but mainly because it has been discovered that corn can be use as an alternate energy source. This great demand for corn has increased many area of farming and production of corn here and other countries such as Mexico and South America. This great demand has lead to an increase in farmers who are willing to cash in on these cash crops and try to earn a few quick dollars because of the great demand for it. In 2007 Corn farmer saw record profits because famer where getting twice as much for corn as they did in previous years. The same trend continued but farmers dealt with so many obstacle such as weather, bugs and lack of equipment that they found themselves in an upside down situations. (www.cnn.com) Many of the corn farmers have made lots of sacrifices to meet the demands of corn by producing more corn, buying more land and seeds, use of extra fuel in farm equipment, which increased the farmers spending but also return great profits. This will cause the production of corn’s substitute, soybean, to diminish but not disappear because soybeans have a market of their own in china because of its production of soybean oil and milk that is wide spread in China.  As far as the US and soybean its production will slowly starts to diminish because many of the farmers will use their land to grown more corn to gain a better profit, instead of growing soybean and......

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Nursing Misunderstood

...lack of nursing opinion available in news media and public opinion, how it affects our profession and how we can change this perception. The general public is ignorant of the role nursing plays in healthcare and has misunderstood important aspects of the profession and how our contribution can be beneficial in many ways if we have a stronger voice. The perceptions and opinions are summarized from the third edition of the book, From Silence to Voice, and provide the resources for nurses to consider in getting their voice heard. The authors of this book describe the history of how nursing has allowed the profession to be overlooked and prevented our profession to be understood by allowing others to speak for us, and over us (Buresh & Gordon, 2013). Opportunities to overcome this perception will be discussed in detail and two supporting articles that address public opinion of nurses and how it relates to our status will be summarized to give opposing perspectives. The conclusion is an example of a letter to legislators that can help to have our voice heard in a persuasive manner addressing the effect technology has on the nursing profession. I urge you to consider issues in nursing that you are passionate about and get your voice heard. Nursing is a misunderstood profession. If you were to randomly ask anyone in the public what a nurse does you would likely get answers that deal with either, carrying out physicians orders, or dealing with emotional aspects of care, like......

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Grass Fed

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