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About CCUR

Wet Processing Pilot Plant, Center for Crops Utilization Research

The Center for Crops Utilization Research, established in 1984, is committed to increasing the utilization of corn, soybeans, and other crops and creating new agricultural enterprises by developing advanced technologies and high-value products. The center is a multidisciplinary research, development, and technology transfer program in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Iowa State University.

Celebrating 35 Years, Center for Crops Utilization Research
The Center for Crops Utilization Research celebrated 35 years in 2019. View history

CCUR explores new food, feed, and non-food industrial uses for agricultural materials, and focuses on problem-oriented research directed at expanding midwestern crop utilization. CCUR provides cost-effective research solutions for industry clients through the use of state-of-the-art facilities and equipment and staff expertise. Clients can test new products and processes without interrupting their own full-scale production systems, enabling companies to start new businesses or expand existing ones.


To identify, coordinate, facilitate and foster mission-oriented interdisciplinary research (both basic and applied), development, technology transfer, and commercialization activities that will increase and enhance utilization of Midwestern crops, and create new agricultural utilization enterprises in Iowa.


No grain or crops should leave the state without “adding value,” Iowa remains the world’s primary source of food and feed ingredients, biofuels and biobased products, and Iowa State University becomes the internationally recognized source of new crop utilization technologies.


  • Develop new healthful food and feed products, and environmentally friendly processing technologies to increase effective utilization of agricultural commodities and products.
  • Replace petroleum-derived products with products derived from agricultural resources.
  • Transfer new agricultural utilization technologies to the private sector and encourage their successful commercialization to stimulate economic development.
  • Provide rapid response research and services, and incubation facilities needed by domestic and multinational businesses as well as entrepreneurs to develop new businesses and grow existing ones.

Areas of Research Excellence

CCUR specializes in food, feed, biofuels, and biobased product technologies to expand the demand for agricultural materials. Affiliated faculty from 15 departments in five different colleges at Iowa State have earned international reputations by pioneering a variety of new products from agricultural resources and developing new processes.

  • Bioadhesives and composite building materials
  • Biodiesel, oleochemicals, and biobased lubricants
  • Degradable plastics made from vegetable oils, starches, and proteins
  • Fats and oils chemistry and processing
  • Fermentation and other conversions
  • Grain quality testing
  • Pharmaceuticals and industrial enzymes
  • Plant fractionation
  • Starch chemistry and utilization
  • Soy protein chemistry and utilization