Cracking the Corn: Corn Steep Liquor and Powder Fertilizers

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Introduction

Corn Steep Powder (CSP) is a fine, yellow to yellow-brown, water-soluble powder made by spray drying corn steep liquor (CSL). Corn steep liquor is a concentrated liquid derived from the water that is used in the initial stage of the corn wet milling process. Once considered a waste stream byproduct, its properties lent well for other uses.  The tan to brown liquid is denser than water and has an acid pH (3.7 - 4.7). Since it contains 40 to 60% water soluble corn solids, it has a variety of nutrients. CSL has nitrogen in the form of amino acids and peptides, macro and micronutrients, and vitamins.  Because of this, it is particularly useful as an ingredient in microbiological growth media, or can be combined with gluten into an animal feed supplement. Most recently it has been shown to be useful as a fertilizer, for the production of food, in the production of microbial products, and has some industrial applications.

Corn steep liquor and the more recently developed corn steep powder (CSP) are excellent replacements for other organic fertilizers such as fish emulsion, chicken litter, soybean meal, or feather meal. Unlike most organic fertilizers, CSL and CSP nitrogen is readily available to the plant and not dependent on microbial activity for digestion and release.  

Learn more about the usage and advantages of using Corn Steep Liquor and Powder here.

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