MAIZE or corn (Zea mays L.)is the third most important crop worldwide with a total production of 576 million metric tons in 1997–1998. Nearly 41% of the total production is in theUnited States. Other major producers include China, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Central America and many African countries . Maize grows well in hot, humid areas of the world and responds tofertilizer and moisture by producing large quantities of grain. However, it does not grow as well in hot, dry areas of the world where sorghum (Sorghum bicolor L. Moench)is raised. Sorghum is similar to cornin many respects and can also be used for snack food production.
Corn is processed into a wide variety of products and traditional foods, i.e., porridges, tortillas, arepas, empanadas, atoles,polenta and many snacks [2–6]. Utilization of corn for food and industrial products has increased rapidly in the United States, using nearly 20% of the annual corn crop of 225 million metric tons with thebalance going to animal feed. The largest users are wet millers, who produce sweeteners, glucose, starches, starch derivatives, alcohol, oil and other products, with considerable growth recently insweeteners and alcohol. The U.S. snack food industry produced nearly $6 billion of corn-based snacks
Corn with soft, floury endosperm is desirable for wet milling because it requires lesssteeping time and yields high recoveries of starch containing less than 0.3% protein. Hard food corns require extended steeping times to achieve the desired starch purity. Further, broken kernels andimproperly dried corn
cannot be wet milled efficiently.U.S. environmental conditions favor production of soft corn. Thus, dry milling and snack food industries must make special efforts to obtain hardercorn suitable for processing.
Critical factors that affect food corn quality for dry milling and snacks are discussed in this chapter. Key indices and measurements of food corn quality are...