Iowa State University

Inside Iowa State
May 21, 1999

At the movies

Some corn lines developed at Iowa State may be pop, pop, popping up in your popcorn. Kenneth Ziegler, head of ISU's popcorn breeding program, has spent nearly 20 years developing new corn hybrids for popcorn.

His work is paying off. Ziegler has released 13 breeding populations and two inbred lines to the popcorn industry and has more on the way.

"Once we release a new source population, it will take at least five years for a private company to develop new inbred lines to make hybrids for farmers' fields," Ziegler said. "Some companies have indicated they are using some of my material in their popcorn now."

Two breeding populations were released this spring, one that offers improved popping expansion and standability (the ability of corn stalks to remain standing until harvest) and one that has a high tolerance to the European corn borer and improved popping expansion.

Ziegler is developing a new mushrooming line he expects to release next spring. It's targeted for caramel corn makers and other candy coaters because it offers nearly 100 percent round ball flakes, which don't have as many wings and appendages that break off during coating.

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