Crop Biotech Update

Corn Amylase Improves Efficiency and Environmental Footprint of Corn to Ethanol

October 23, 2009

Corn Amylase (CA), an enzyme essential to convert available starch to fermentable sugars in the production of biofuels, can improve the efficiency, cost, and environmental footprint of biofuels. It will reduce the demand for natural resources, the consumption of fossil fuels, the emission of greenhouse gases, reduce utility costs at the plant and improve the energy balance (compared to ethanol produced from conventional corn). In Corn Amylase: Improving the Efficiency and Environmental Footprint of Corn to Ethanol through Plant Biotechnology published in the e-journal AgbioForum, John Urbanchuk and colleagues from LECG, LLC and Michigan State University review the potential economic and environmental benefits of CA on the production of ethanol from corn and sorghum.

Results were confirmed in a trial of a new variety of corn developed by Syngenta that expresses alpha-amylase directly in the seed endosperm. The authors noted that "This technology represents a novel approach to improving ethanol production in a way that can be integrated smoothly into the existing infrastructure."

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