Starch Conference Offers Global Stage For Council’s Recent Study

This week, the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) hosted a starch conference in Seoul, South Korea. focusing on the fundamentals of corn wet milling, processing and considerations of starch into glucose, fructose and other sugars using enzymes and other products.
This conference is a part of a series of conferences the Council has hosted to highlight the findings of its industrial corn starch study, which examined and compared the extractable starch of U.S., Brazilian, Argentinean and Black Sea corn. Conducted over a three-year period, the results showed that U.S. corn has three to four percent more extractable starch than other origins, leading to the potential for increased profits by wet millers switching to U. S. corn.
“For every one percent increase in starch yield, a plant can increase its annual profitability by one million dollars, so this study clearly shows that the industry has a financial incentive to use only 100 percent U.S corn all year long,” said Kurt Shultz, USGC senior director of global strategies.
“Any plant using other origin corn is clearly at a competitive disadvantage to those plants relying on U.S. corn. In addition, the study has shown that plants can cut their corn steeping time, the first step in the process, in half by using U.S. corn, which effectively doubles the capacity of the existing plant, another financial incentive to use U.S. corn,” continued Shultz.
With participants in attendance from Korea, China, Japan, Taiwan and the Latin America, Southeast Asia and Middle East and Africa regions, the conference acted as a great opportunity for networking and knowledge-sharing, helping to build a strong community within the industry.
Dr. Vijay Singh, a founder professor in Grainger College of Engineering, distinguished professor of bioprocessing in the college of ACES, director of Integrated Bioprocessing Research Laboratory at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and deputy director of the Center for Advanced Bioenergy and Bioproducts Innovation, who conducted the study, shared the findings with attendees, prior to Council consultant Ibrahim Yalgin elaborating on yield improvement and cost-saving opportunities in corn wet milling and the sweetener refinery industry. Dr. Vivek Sharma also spoke at the event, highlighting the art of liquefaction and the conversion of starch into glucose, fructose and other sugars.
“This conference served an important role in highlighting the benefits of U.S. corn to the industrial starch industry worldwide and had a profound impact in educating on ideal milling practices and optimization methods, while also providing ways to solve challenges that can be faced in the milling process, said Alexander Grabois, USGC manager of global strategies and trade.
“The participants were able to partake in a comprehensive discussion on how their productivity and profitability can be increased substantially through buying U.S corn. Our goal is that the participants can continue to push the results presented within their plants and to impact and increase the use of U.S. corn.”
Through hosting this conference, the Council hopes wet milling customers from the countries in attendance will network with counterparts from around the world while learning how to increase production and efficiency in their work, which will in turn lead to further advancement in their own operations.