Related topics: crops

Early breeding reduced harmful mutations in sorghum

When humans first domesticated maize some 9,000 years ago, those early breeding efforts led to an increase in harmful mutations to the crop's genome compared to their wild relatives, which more recent modern breeding has ...

Possible explanation for more efficient maize growth

Maize has a significantly higher productivity rate compared with many other crops. The particular leaf anatomy and special form of photosynthesis (referred to as C4) developed during its evolution allow maize to grow considerably ...

How maize makes an antibiotic cocktail

Maize (Zea mays) produces a plethora of antibiotics called zealexins. Even though scientists have identified at least 15 zealexins, they suspect there are even more to find. Zealexins are produced in every corn variety and ...

Maize outpaces soybeans in fighting off fungal invasions

Sudden death syndrome (SDS) is a devastating disease that afflicts soybean crops, causing annual losses in U.S. soybean yields in excess of $274 million dollars. New Michigan State University research shows that the trick ...

X-ray imaging of beetles in ancient Japanese earthenware

Using X-rays, Professor Hiroki Obata of Kumamoto University, Japan has imaged 28 impressions of maize weevils on pottery shards from the late Jomon period (around 3,600 years ago) excavated from the Yakushoden site in Miyazaki ...

Can organic plant protection products damage crops?

Protecting crops against pests and diseases is essential to ensure a secure food supply. Around 95 percent of food comes from conventional agriculture, which uses chemical pesticides to keep crops healthy. Increasingly, however, ...

European and American maize: Same same, but different

German researchers decoded the European maize genome. In comparison to North American maize lines, they discovered variations that underlie phenotypic differences and may also contribute to the heterosis effect. A better ...

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Maize

Maize (Zea mays L. ssp. mays, pronounced /ˈmeɪz/; from Spanish: maíz after Taíno mahiz,) known in many English-speaking countries as corn or mielie/mealie, is a grain domesticated by indigenous peoples in Mesoamerica in prehistoric times. The leafy stalk produces ears which contain seeds called kernels. Though technically a grain, maize kernels are used in cooking as a vegetable or starch. The Olmec and Mayans cultivated it in numerous varieties throughout central and southern Mexico, cooked, ground or processed through nixtamalization. Between 1700 and 1250 BCE, the crop spread through much of the Americas. The region developed a trade network based on surplus and varieties of maize crops. After European contact with the Americas in the late 15th and early 16th centuries, explorers and traders carried maize back to Europe and introduced it to other countries. Maize spread to the rest of the world due to its ability to grow in diverse climates. Sugar-rich varieties called sweet corn are usually grown for human consumption, while field corn varieties are used for animal feed and as chemical feedstocks. Approximately 37% of the United States' acres are corn fields.

Maize is the most widely grown crop in the Americas with 332 million metric tons grown annually in the United States. Approximately 40% of the crop - 130 million tons - is used for corn ethanol. Transgenic maize (Genetically Modified Corn) made up 85% of the maize planted in the United States in 2009. While some maize varieties grow to 12 metres (39 ft) tall, most commercially grown maize has been bred for a standardized height of 2.5 metres (8.2 ft). Sweet corn is usually shorter than field corn varieties.

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