Biotech Updates

Commercial Enzyme for Improved Grain Ethanol Production

September 15, 2011

Scientists at the U.S. Department of Agriculture discovered that a commercial enzyme developed by Genencor, a major developer and manufacturer of industrial enzymes that is now part of DuPont Industrial Biosciences, could help reduce costs in ethanol production from grain and at the same time decrease emissions of greenhouse gases. Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientist David Johnston and colleagues found that the enzyme helps extract water from an ethanol byproduct used to make dried distillers gains with solubles (DDGS), which can serve as feed supplements for cattle, swine, and poultry. Furthermore, this could dramatically decrease the amount of electricity, natural gas, energy, and water required for production of grain ethanol and its byproducts.

"The production of grain ethanol is a key component in our nation's efforts to increase the supply of transportation fuels derived from renewable plant resources," said ARS Administrator Edward B. Knipling. "The results from this investigation give us new tools for increasing the efficiency of grain ethanol production and for protecting our natural resource base."

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