Slowing the Mold Growth on Stored Corn: The Effects of Vinegar, Baker’s Yeast, and Yogurt on Corn Weight Loss
(1) Saint Mary Magdalene School, Apex, North Carolina
There are many methods for preserving grain, most of them chemical. The application of chemical preservatives, such as strong acids or antifungal chemicals, has negative effects on farm storage facilities, animals, and humans. Biologically and environmentally friendly inhibitors can reduce the growth of harmful fungi and molds while also having nutritional benefits. In this study, three substances were used to study mold growth on corn kernels. Vinegar, baker’s yeast, and yogurt were applied to corn. Tap water was used as a control. Prior to adding these three substances the corn was steeped to reach a 30% moisture level and stored in Ziploc- plastic bags at room temperature (approximately 25C). Bags were weighed once a week and weight losses were recorded. Weight loss after four weeks was highest in the water treatment and lowest in the baker’s yeast treatment. Both the yogurt and baker’s yeast treatment were associated with more weight loss during the first week than the other two treatments, weight loss being a measure of mold growth. However, the baker’s yeast and yogurt treatments were associated with the least amount of weight loss during the last two weeks of incubation. Vinegar was very successful at preventing weight loss during the first week of incubation but the corn lost weight at a rate similar to that of the control during the following three weeks. In conclusion, biological treatments were as successful as chemical treatments in slowing down mold growth in corn after four weeks of incubation.