Is the petitioned substance harmful to the environment?
Corn steep liquor, itself, should not cause any environmental contamination, because the material is approximately 50% water and the soluble proteins, amino acids, carbohydrates, organic acids (e.g., lactic acid), vitamins, and minerals would be readily metabolized and utilized by micro-organisms. Corn steep liquor could be used in crop production to add organic matter and other nutrients to the soil, however, there are probably other materials (animal manures) that are more cost effective. Corn steep liquor is used in the diets of ruminants.
Does corn steep liquor chemically interact with organic crops or other substances used in livestock production?
The water, soluble proteins, amino acids, carbohydrates, organic acids (e.g., lactic acid), vitamins, and minerals in corn steep liquor would be readily metabolized and utilized by microorganisms. Corn steep liquor should not interact chemically with other substances used in organic crop or livestock production.
Are there adverse biological or chemical interactions in the agro-ecosystem by using the petitioned substance?
Corn steep liquor should not cause any adverse biological or chemical interactions in the agro-ecosystem. The release of lactic acid, which comprises 10 to 25% of corn steep liquor, to the environment, may be an issue, if large quantities were released to the environment. However, this would not be expected since the production of corn steep liquor is performed by a controlled process. Any lactic acid released to the environment would be readily metabolized and utilized as an energy source by micro-organisms, therefore, it should have little to no long-term impact on the agro-ecosystem.