NEW YORK — Cargill Dow, the Minnetonka, Minn.-based company that produces polylactic acid — a polymer made from corn — laid off about 40 employees Tuesday, most of whom worked in research and development at the headquarters near Minneapolis.

According to a spokesman, the restructuring affected the research and development department most severely since Cargill Dow is now focusing on manufacturing PLA for markets where the material is already being used, such as in the chemicals, packaging and fibers industries.

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