Non-traditional uses of maize: Biofuels, remediation and pharmaceuticals

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Department of Biological Sciences


Traditionally, plants have been used for a variety of applications in addition to food and feed, including manufacture of industrial products, vaccines and pharmaceuticals. Maize has the potential to be used for numerous non-food purposes. Maize has been used extensively as an energy crop, to produce bioethanol both from grain as well as biomass. In addition, a wide variety of industrial products such as packing and insulating materials, chemicals, explosives, paint, insecticides, organic acids, solvents, antifreeze, etc. are made using maize products. Maize is also being used as a source of recombinant pharmaceutical products. The main advantages of using maize are that it is genetically well characterized, a well-established agricultural production infrastructure is available for its production, the technology for in vitro manipulation and gene transfer exists in maize, and it also is a fast-growing, high biomass plant. Maize has also been studied extensively for use in phytoremediation of various heavy metals.

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© 2015 by Taylor & Francis Group, LLC. Publisher’s version of record: https://doi.org/10.1201/b17274

Publication Title

Genetics, Genomics and Breeding of Maize