Corn starch, sometimes referred to as corn flour, is a carbohydrate extracted from the endosperm of corn. This white powdery substance is used for many culinary, household, and industrial purposes. In the kitchen, corn starch is most often used as a thickening agent for sauces, gravies, glazes, soups, casseroles, pies, and other desserts.
However, because corn starch is made from corn and only contains carbohydrates (no protein), it is a gluten free product. For this reason, corn starch is an excellent gluten free alternative to flour thickeners in recipes.
In no doubt; corn starch is in enormous demand in Nigeria. The national demand estimate for corn starch is in excess of 500,000 tonnes/annum. Presently, the level of domestic production is negligible – very low. As the supply is mainly through importation. This makes the prospect of commercial production of corn starch very high.
Industries That Uses Cornstarch
- Food Industry
- Textile Industry
- Pharmaceutical Industry
- Paper packaging Industry
- Chemical Industry
- Automobile Industry
Cornstarch Raw Material
Maize or corn is the only raw material for corn starch production. This is available in commercial quantities in different parts of the country. Maize is cultivated is all the six geopolitical zones in Nigeria.
Machinery And Equipment Used In Producing Cornstarch
The major machinery and equipment for production of corn starch are: Aspirator, Degermer, Hammer mill (wet), Hammer mill (dry), Vibro sieve, Granulator, Hydraulic press and packaging machine. The estimated cost of machinery and equipment depends on the capacity of the equipment which could vary from 500Kg to 2.5tons per day.
Step By Step Guide On How To Produce Corn Starch
Production of Corn starch includes the following simple unit operations:
Cleaning: The raw material is cleaned to remove foreign matters like stones, broken cobs and so on.
Steeping: Kernels are steeped in large tanks of warm water containing mild preservative.
Milling: Soften kernels are wet milled in a pool of water.
Settling and Decanting: The milled product is allowed to settle under gravity and thereafter, the water is decanted to obtain thick slurry of corn mass.
Sieving: The slurry is sieved to remove the husks.
Centrifuging: The starch in the slurry (less germ and husks) is separated from the protein.
Dewatering: The starch is dewatered to form starch cake.
Granulating: The cake is broken to smaller pieces to increase its surface area for effective drying.
Drying: The starch is dried using flash dryer.
Milling: The dried corn starch is milled into desirable particle size.
Packaging: The product is packaged appropriately in air-tight and moisture impermeable packaging material