Food Science and Technology Department


Date of this Version



Mendoza. J. (2016). From milpas to the market: a study on the use of metal silos for safer and better storage of Guatemalan maize (Masters thesis). University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Food Science and Technology. 119pp.

Copyright (c) 2016 José Rodrigo Mendoza


A THESIS Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Master of Science, Major: Food Science & Technology, Under the supervision of Professor Jayne Stratton. Lincoln, Nebraska: July, 2016.


This project aimed to implement the use of metal silos to improve quality and safety of maize consumed by inhabitants of the highlands of Guatemala. This manuscript includes a literature review of the maize production chain in Guatemala, a survey about agricultural practices used in the region of study, as well as a characterization of the analyzed maize regarding its mycoflora, nutritional composition, and insect infestation. To better understand the current situation regarding agricultural practices and maize consumption, a survey was carried out. Sample consisted of 280 families representing 14 rural communities distributed in the townships of Todos Santos and Chiantla, Huehuetenango, Guatemala. In addition, 25 farms from the same region were sampled for maize, which was evaluated for fungal count, fumonisin and aflatoxin, and insect analysis. Among surveyed farmers, 13 grew and harvested maize (denominated Chain 1, C1) while 12 had no land available to plant and consequently acquired maize by other means (denominated Chain 2, C2) such as local markets. Due to a clear diversity in the phenotype of the corn samples, proximate analyses of the various cultivars was conducted. Most Guatemalan farmers from the rural area have low income and large families, thus the economic aspect is a key factor for farmers desiring to improve in their lives. By the implementation of a metal silo, farmers who have the means to acquire this technology would improve their grain quality and safety and, with that, their livelihoods. A financial analysis was conducted to evaluate the economic feasibility of the farmers on purchasing the storage technology and either obtaining revenue (C1) or saving money (C2) in the process would be able to afford such a vessel.

Advisor: Jayne Elizabeth Stratton