Engro and Midwest Corn Give Performance Shirts Real Starch

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Performance apparel made of corn from Engro offer comfort, wickability, and style, without relying on foreign oil.

You may soon be wearing shirts made of…corn. Indianapolis-headquartered Engro, LLC has introduced new apparel made entirely of corn--one of America's most abundant resources. Ingeo™, the new fiber developed by Cargill and Dow Chemical literally means "ingredients from the earth."

Ingeo is the world's first and only 'greenhouse neutral' polymer and achieves a 68 percent reduction in fossil fuel use compared with traditional plastics.

"This is one of the most significant developments in the textile industry of our generation," said Engro CEO, Larry Grider. "We no longer have to depend on foreign oil for performance apparel. This new fiber is made from a 100 percent renewable resource grown right here in our own backyard and everyone benefits…farmers, customers, everyone." Grider's company philosophy is "improving our world, one garment at a time."

Engro will unveil its new corn-based apparel at the Promotional Products Association International trade show, January 2-6, in Las Vegas.

"We are extremely excited," said Grider. "Ingeo washes in cold water and dries quickly even without a clothes dryer. It's great for traveling and active lifestyles! It's the most comfortable 'intelligent' apparel you can own," Grider said.

Ingeo corn-based products

  •     are stronger, better insulating, and less bulky than cotton and easier to maintain than wool or silk,
  •     wick moisture from the skin and help the body regulate its temperature,
  •     will not fade and resists wrinkles,
  •     will not shrink and do not absorb odors,
  •     are soil and stain resistant, hypoallergenic, and naturally anti-microbial,
  •     will not retain moisture and are biodegradable.

"We are really looking forward to working with entities on national and global levels," said Grider. "There are exciting opportunities to work with designers and performance labels across diverse industries."

Using a natural raw material like corn, Ingeo fiber can be easily and efficiently produced. First, sugar is extracted from the corn kernel. The sugar is then fermented and transformed into a high performance polymer and the Ingeo fiber is extracted. The remaining proteins, oils and fibers of the corn kernel remains can be used for livestock feed.

Ingeo uses a minimum amount of energy to produce the corn-based fiber--as much as 68 percent less than required for synthetics, and it generates 15 percent to 60 percent less greenhouse gases than the material it replaces.

Ingeo can be used in a variety of clothing, and consumer goods ranging from comforters, pillows, sleeping bags, to packaging and carpeting.


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