Maize germ is also known as Corn germ. It is a derivative or by-product of the process of oil extraction from maize.
Germ contributes about 11% of the kernel weight. The germ is a distinct entity that can be easily separated and then extracted to produce maize oil, yielding maize germ oil meal as the main by-product.
The germs themselves are obtained from maize processing from wet milling (starch production) or dry milling (maize grits, maize flour, maize meal and ethanol production).
In the wet milling process, maize grain is steeped in water and then separated into kernels, from which starch is later extracted, and germs. The germs are washed, dried, and extracted first by mechanical extraction and then by solvent (hexane). Maize germ meal consists of the spent germs and other maize grain fragments.