A corncob, also called cob of corn or corn on the cob, is the central core of an ear of corn (also known as maize). It is the part of the ear on which the kernels grow. The ear is also considered a "cob" or "pole" but it is not fully a "pole" until the ear is shucked, or removed from the plant material around the ear.
Young ears, also called baby corn, can be consumed raw, but as the plant matures the cob becomes tougher until only the kernels are edible.
The innermost part of the cob is white and has a consistency similar to foam plastic.
Corncobs find use in the following applications:
- Industrial source of the chemical furfural
- Fiber in fodder for ruminant livestock (despite low nutritional value)
Other applications include:
- Bedding for animals – cobs absorb moisture and provide a compliant surface
- Ground up and washed (then re-dried) to make cat litter
- A mild abrasive for cleaning building surfaces, when coarsely ground
- corncob pipes
- As a biofuel
- Charcoal production
- Environmentally-friendly rodenticide (powdered corn cob)
- Soil conditioner, water retainer in horticulture
- Absorbent media for safe disposal of liquid and solid effluents
- Diluent/carrier/filler material in Animal health products, Agro-chemicals, Veterinary formulations, Vitamin premixes, Pharmaceuticals, etc.
- Xylose – a sweetener
- Anal hygiene
- Engineers, N.B.C. (2006). Wheat, Rice, Corn, Oat, Barley and Sorghum Processing Handbook (Cereal Food Technology). Asia Pacific Business Press. p. 173. ISBN 978-81-7833-002-0.
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- Tobacco Leaf. 1907. pp. 36, 38. Retrieved October 29, 2015.
- Roth, Greg; Gustafson, Cole (January 31, 2014). "Corn Cobs for Biofuel Production". Cooperative Extension System. Retrieved October 28, 2015.
- "Corn Cob Powder". www.rahiindustries.com.
- Hudson, C. S.; Harding, T. S. (1918). "THE PREPARATION OF XYLOSE FROM CORN COBS". Journal of the American Chemical Society. 40 (10): 1601–1602. doi:10.1021/ja02243a010. ISSN 0002-7863.
- Ruane, Michael E. (18 Mar 2020). "Toilet paper takes center stage amid coronavirus outbreak. Be thankful we no longer use corn cobs and rope ends". The Washington Post. Retrieved 31 July 2021.