Changes in unreacted starch content in corn during storage

Benjamin M. Plumier, Mary Grace C. Danao, Kent D. Rausch, Vijay Singh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In the dry grind process, corn is ground, mixed with process water and cooked; starch is enzymatically hydrolyzed to sugars, and subsequently fermented to ethanol by yeast. The conversion of starch into ethanol, however, is not complete as distillers dried grains with solubles (DDGS) often contain more than 5% starch. The amount of unreacted starch represents inefficiencies in the process and reducing this amount is important to improving profitability of the ethanol industry. Additionally, dry grind facilities have reported seasonal variation in ethanol yields. In order to minimize variation in ethanol yields and the amount of unreacted starch in DDGS, it is important to understand the effects that storage temperature and time have on the digestibility of the corn starch. While starch quality is largely controlled by genetics and growing conditions, postharvest practices (handling, storage, and processing conditions) also affect starch composition and structure. In this study, changes in unreacted starch content of corn during storage were monitored to provide an explanation for the seasonal variation in ethanol yields observed by dry grind facilities. Yellow dent corn was harvested in 2011 and 2012 and stored indoors, outdoors, and under refrigeration for 5-12mo. Results with the 2011 harvest corn showed unreacted starch content ranging from 2.17 to 14.1% over a 48wk period. Unreacted starch was more influenced by storage time, initially decreasing at a rate of 0.31% per wk during the first 10wk and steadily increased at an average rate of 0.16% per wkfor the duration of storage. Results with the 2012 harvest corn, however, showed a higher average unreacted starch content of 13.0% during 20wk of storage and no appreciable change in unreacted starch content regardless of storage temperature.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)85-89
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Stored Products Research
StatePublished - Mar 1 2015


  • Distillers dried grains with solubles (DDGS)
  • Dry grind ethanol
  • Resistant starch
  • Storage temperature
  • Storage time

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Insect Science
  • Horticulture


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