Extraction, characterization and potential applications of cellulose in corn kernels and Distillers' dried grains with solubles (DDGS)

Weijie Xu, Narendra Reddy, Yiqi Yang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

55 Scopus citations


Cellulose with properties suitable for films and absorbents has been extracted from corn kernels and DDGS. Although DDGS is an inexpensive and abundant co-product that contains valuable components, it is currently not being used for industrial applications. DDGS contains about 9-16% cellulose by weight but the properties of cellulose in DDGS or even in corn kernels such as degree of polymerization (DP), morphology and crystallinity of cellulose have not been studied. In this study, cellulose was extracted from corn kernels and DDGS using alkali and enzymes. A minimum crude cellulose yield of 1.7% and 7.2% with cellulose content of 72% and 81% was obtained from corn kernels and DDGS, respectively. The solids obtained after extraction with cellulose contents ranging from 35% to 81% were made into films with tensile strength and elongation up to 42.5 MPa and 3.3%, respectively, using water and without any additional chemicals. The cellulose obtained holds water up to 9 times its weight and could therefore be used as an absorbent. The cellulose could also be used as paper, composites, lubricant and nutritional supplement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)521-527
Number of pages7
JournalCarbohydrate Polymers
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - May 16 2009



  • Cellulose
  • Corn kernels
  • DDGS
  • Films
  • Properties

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Organic Chemistry
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Materials Chemistry

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