American Agriculturist 5(6): 172-173 (June, 1846)
A. B. Allen, Editor

Composition of Corn, &c.—Mr. Browne presented specimens of several varieties of Indian corn, accompanied by a diagram showing the chemical proportions of the various kinds of corn, beans, peas, &c, from original experiments made by Dr. C. T. Jackson, of Boston. He also repeated several of the experiments, as illustrated by the diagram, and showed the proportions of starch, dextrine, and phosphates, contained in the corn, with the view of proving that the ingredients of which the different varieties are composed, are not uniform, and consequently the analysis of one kind alone cannot be of much practical advantage when applied to the whole. In splitting open, longitudinally, some kernels of Tuscarora corn, and dropping upon them a small quantity of the tincture of iodine, nearly all of their bulk was instantaneously changed from a pure white to an intense blue, indicating the presence of starch, with here and there a deep port wine colored speck, which defined the parts composed of dextrine. In treating some rice corn and pop corn in the same manner, only slight traces of starch were manifested, showing, conclusively, that the proportions of the ingredients of which the two varieties are composed, are widely different. Again, in soaking some split kernels of sweet corn in a solution of sulphate of copper (blue vitriol), the chits or parts containing the germs, were changed to a bright green, beautifully defining the limits of the phosphates of lime and magnesia contained in the corn, and indicating more than double the quantity than the Tuscarora variety contained when treated in the same way.

Corn Oil.—The horny or flinty portions of corn, Mr. B. remarked, when viewed in their sections under a good microscope, will be found to consist of a great number of six-sided cells filled with a fixed oil, which has been successfully employed for the purposes of illumination. He said that he had been informed from a credible source, that there is a distillery in the vicinity of Lake Ontario, where this oil is extracted, at the rate of sixteen gallons from one hundred bushels of corn, leaving the remaining portion of the com more valuable and in better condition for distillation, than before the oil is extracted.

Popping Corn.—On this oil, added Mr. B., depends the popping qualities of corn. For when the kernels are heated to a temperature sufficiently high to decompose the oil, a sudden explosion takes place, and every cell is ruptured by the expansion of gaseous matters arising from the decomposition of the oil, and the grain is completely evoluted and folded beck, or turned inside out. This property, continued he, is remarkably strong in the pop corn, and is common, in a greater or less degree, in all kinds of corn that abound in oil; but those varieties destitute of a horny covering, as the Tuscarora, and white flour corn, will not pop under any circumstances whatever.