Approximately 40% of the crop—130 million tons—is used for corn ethanol.
Sugar-rich varieties called sweet corn are usually grown for human consumption as kernels, while field corn varieties are used for animal feed, various corn-based human food uses (including grinding into cornmeal or masa, pressing into corn oil, and fermentation and distillation into alcoholic beverages like bourbon whiskey), and as chemical feedstocks.
A large corpus of data indicates that it [maize] was dispersed into lower Central America by 7600 BP [5600 BC] and had moved into the inter-Andean valleys of Colombia between 70 BP [5000-4000 BC].
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"In the view of Europeans, it was the food they ate, even more than the environment in which they lived, that gave Amerindians and Spaniards both their distinctive physical characteristics and their characteristic personalities." Maize spread to the rest of the world because of its ability to grow in diverse climates.
It was cultivated in Spain just a few decades after Columbus's voyages and then spread to Italy, West Africa and elsewhere. The word "corn" outside North America, Australia, and New Zealand refers to any cereal crop, its meaning understood to vary geographically to refer to the local staple.
Maize flour could not be substituted for wheat for communion bread, since in Christian belief only wheat could undergo transubstantiation and be transformed into the body of Christ.
Some Spaniards worried that by eating indigenous foods, which they did not consider nutritious, they would weaken and risk turning into Indians.
The apex of the stem ends in the tassel, an inflorescence of male flowers.