Friday, February 01, 2019

Production of cornstarch

In producing cornstarch, the corn is inspected and cleaned, then place in vats, where it is steeped in warm water containing a small concentration of sulfur dioxide for about 40 hr, to begin breaking the starch and protein bonds.

The kernel swells to more than double the size and increases its moisture content from about 15% to 45%. The softened kernels are next run through an attrition mill to break up the kernels.

If not previously degerminated the steeped kernels are passed through mills that separate the germ and loosen the hull. The germ is removed by density separation in a cyclone.

The mass is then passed through tanks of water where the germs (being lighter) float and are skimmed off. The remaining endosperm, containing starch, corn gluten and hulls is then finely ground in steel mills.

The finely ground material is then passed through sifters to remove hulls, the starch and gluten passing through. The starch is separate from gluten by centrifugation. The starch-gluten suspension is concentrated by centrifugation and the higher and lower densities of gluten and starch facilitate centrifugal separation, again in a cyclone.

The gluten is dried and the starch is washed and dewatered. With hydrocyclones and a centrifuge the starch settles and separates from the water and fibers.

The starch fraction is finally dried to yield the familiar cornstarch. Cornstarch can be used as such in manufacture foods or be further converted into corn syrup by the hydrolytic action of acid or starch-splitting enzymes.
Production of cornstarch
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