The influence of environment on the composition of sweet corn, 1905-1908
Nos. 64, 74, 78, 95, and 96. 5 6 INTRODUCTION. of the continent may affect in a marked degree the character of the product. The distribution of the work from north to south rendered it possible for the same analysts to perform the chemical analyses in the different locahties. Beginning with the earliest harvest in Florida, the same workers followed the ripening crop from Florida to South Carohna, Maryland, New Jersey, Connecticut, and finally to Maine. One of the most important points in
... nt points in connection with this study was that the analytical work be done as quickty as possible after the harvesting of the crop. Previous work had shown a rapid change, especially in the sugar content of the green Indian corn, after its separation from the stalk, and particularly if exposed to a high temperature. It was necessary, therefore, where no chemical laboratory was available, to have a portable laboratory, so that the analyses could be made as soon as the corn was harvested. In this way the errors which would necessarily occur in examining the samples at different periods after harvesting were avoided. As it was quite impossible to perform all the analytical operations on many hundreds of samples in the field, only those analyses were made which could be speedily completed, and the samples were preserved in such a way as to protect them from any appreciable change until the more elaborate chemical work could be accomphshed. By the course of experiments which preceded the beginning of this work it was found that the best, simplest, and easiest way of preserving these samples is immediately to boil them in alcohol. This not only prevents all enzymic and other destructive action but also protects the samples from fermentation until such time as they can be more carefully examined. There are many points relating to the influence of environment which are not covered by these investigations. It seemed wiser not to comphc'ate the problem by undertaldng too many lines of study. Sweet Indian corn is valued as a table dish on account of its succulence, tenderness, and sweetness, and these were-the points to which particular attention was directed. Organoleptic tests were made in addition to the chemical determinations as to the sweetness and general character of the product and it is interesting to note that the results of these agreed in nearly every instance with the chemical determinations. In other words, the trained palate, while not able to determine the percentage of sugar in such a product as sweet Indian corn, was at least able to note the samples as poor, good, or excellent, and the chemical analyses bore out the classification thus made. This line of work has been continued now for a number of years with excellent practical results.