Formaldehyde-Free Adhesive for Particle board from Minimally Processed DDGS (Corn Ethanol By-Product)(Technology RFT-578)

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Scientists at NDSU have developed a formaldehyde-free adhesive from DDGS (i.e. distillers dried grains and solubles by-product of corn ethanol production) that can be used in producing particle board and similar ‘pressed wood’ boards. DDGS contains about 35% protein, 10% oil, and 45% fiber, all of which contribute to the performance of this technology.  Protein provides adhesive properties, oil provides water resistance, and fiber provides additional strength and structural support. However, one problem with DDGS is that the protein structure in its compact native configuration reduces the adhesive performance.  A key aspect of this innovation is that the DDGS is minimally processed, but in such a way that the adhesive properties are improved with minimal cost, and while retaining the benefits of the oil and fiber components.  The processing involves first reducing the DDGS particle size (approximately 150 to 200 microns) and then treating with alkali or acid to denature the protein. This results in the protein structure opening up, greatly increasing its adhesive performance.  Boards were produced by pressing at 190 C for 12 minutes, with no sign of blow out or moisture retention.


  • High performance adhesive with no formaldehyde
  • Extensive range of options to optimize performance, including adjusting DDGS concentration, acid vs. alkali denaturation, concentration of denaturant, temperature of board pressing
  • Performance in the lab has demonstrated the ability to tune treatments to meet all ANSI standards
  • DDGS can be used with minimal processing, meaning fewer steps and less cost to use this bio-based raw material 


Henry Nowak, Technology Manager


RFT, 578, RFT578 

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