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Yes, those unpopped kernels of corn can break a tooth. But for most of us, they're just an annoying disappointment as the edible bits dwindle before the movie is over.
Not all corn pops well. A new study found that out of 14 varieties of popcorn, the number of unpopped kernels ranged from 4 percent to a staggering 47 percent.
More important, the study may reveal how to make better popcorn.
"We think the secret to maximizing ‘pop-ability’ is found in the special chemistry of the corn kernel," says Bruce Hamaker, a food chemist at Purdue University. "We now have a better understanding of the science behind why unpopped kernels occur and how we can use this knowledge to go about reducing their number."