What is Corn Gluten Meal?

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  • Written By: N. Madison
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 20 October 2019
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Corn gluten meal is a byproduct formed during the processing of corn via wet milling. It is traditionally used for animal feed but can also prove helpful for other purposes. For example, corn meal gluten is used in organic gardening as a natural herbicide and as a plant food. As such, corn meal gluten is commonly referred to as a weed-and-feed garden aid. Interestingly, corn gluten meal may also prove helpful as a home remedy for the treatment of toenail fungus.

This corn byproduct is high in protein and has a powdery consistency. It may be used as a supplementary source of protein for animals, including cats and dogs. Unfortunately, however, there have been reports of allergy development in some cats and dogs that consume it for a long period of time.

Corn gluten meal is commonly used in organic gardening. It provides an option for those who want to slow or stop weed growth without using toxic substances in their gardens. It also adds nutrients to the soil, which may help to encourage the growth of desirable plants.


There are a few different ways a person may use corn gluten meal in his garden. An individual may spread the unprocessed powder throughout his garden by hand or via a hand seeder. In such a case, corn gluten meal is applied directly to the soil instead of on top of mulch. A person may also use a spreader to distribute granulated corn gluten meal in his garden or mix it with water to create a paste useful for preventing weeds from sprouting while he waits for his plants to grow. If used in a pellet form, a person may also spread it by hand to add nutrients to the soil and prevent weed growth at the same time.

Corn gluten meal works to impair a weed's ability to form roots once its seed germinates. It essentially dries the seed as soon as it opens. This results in the formation of a shoot without the root growth a weed needs to live. Used in the right concentrations, however, it will not adversely affect a person's mature or transplanted plants. This is the reason it proves helpful as both an herbicide and a plant food.

Interestingly, some people claim this product proves helpful as a home remedy as well. For example, some people use it as a remedy for toenail fungus. For this use, a person typically adds water to the corn gluten meal and allows it to sit for about an hour. An individual may then add warm water to this concoction and soak his feet in it for an hour or two. Though repeat applications may be necessary, some people claim this is an effective measure for toenail fungus.


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