This post is part of the Science Tuesday feature series on the USDA blog. Check back each week as we showcase stories and news from USDA's rich science and research portfolio.
If you’re of a certain age, you might remember General Douglas MacArthur’s famous corncob pipe, or the one sported by “Granny” on the hit TV show “The Beverly Hillbillies.” But aside from those picturesque examples, corncobs have tended to mostly be considered a waste product left over from the harvest of the golden, juicy kernels of corn.
That’s in the process of changing, thanks to the scientists of the Agricultural Research Service (ARS). For starters, they’ve shown that corn cobs left in the field after harvest can boost soil quality. Beyond that, those tough cobs can be used to make a whole host of products.