Kansas Corn: DDG Nutrient Testing (HS)

Seed to STEM
Grade Level: High School

Corn is a vital part of our society. It has many uses, such as feeding people and producing ethanol. This lab can be used in two different ways. It can be used as a stand-alone lab if you do not have the time or resources to conduct a full ethanol distillation lab. However, you can also use this lab to enhance the Ethanol- Corn Mash and Distillation and to observe the different levels of nutrient availability before fermentation, after fermentation, and again after distillation. We will focus on what is happening to the nutrients, along with discussing macromolecules and the importance they provide to organisms.

The first part of the lab is creating a corn mash that will ferment and form methanol and ethanol. Discussions about ethanol can begin here. The main focus will be on what the yeast is doing to the corn, as well as the purpose of the enzymes that are present in the corn mash. The next part of the lab will be to compare the nutrient availability with a corn slurry (this can be made at the start of the second lab day), and the corn mash. This lab focuses on the liquid feed. Lugol’s Iodine provides a black color change when present in starch. The Buiret Test Solution provides a purple color change when present in protein. The last indicator provides an orangish-red color change when heated and present with glucose. These changes provide an important laboratory practice in observations.