Corn amylase: Improving the efficiency and environmental footprint of corn to ethanol through plant biotechnology

John M. Urbanchuk, Daniel J. Kowalski, Bruce Dale, Seungdo Kim

    Research output: Research - peer-reviewArticle

    • 7 Citations

    Abstract

    Treatment of starch-based grain with an alpha-amylase enzyme is essential to convert available starch to fermentable sugars in the production of ethanol. In an effort to improve the efficiencies of corn-based ethanol production, Syngenta has developed a new variety of corn that expresses alpha-amylase directly in the seed endosperm. This technology represents a novel approach to improving ethanol production in a way that can be integrated smoothly into the existing infrastructure. Between October 2007 and December 2008, Syngenta, in collaboration with Western Plains Energy, LLC, of Oakley, Kansas, conducted a commercial-scale trial of Corn Amylase. The results of this trial confirmed many of the potential benefits identified in laboratory trials, which include significant reductions in the amount of natural gas, electricity, water, and microbial alpha-amylase required to produce a gallon of ethanol. These savings are realized through the unique characteristics of Corn Amylase that enable ethanol producers to increase throughput at the plant without the typical tradeoff of losing conversion yield. Corn Amylase, therefore, will reduce the demand for natural resources, the consumption of fossil fuels, and the emission of greenhouse gases. Corn Amylase will also reduce utility costs at the plant and improve the energy balance (compared to ethanol produced from conventional corn).

    LanguageEnglish (US)
    JournalAgBioForum
    Volume12
    Issue number2
    StatePublished - 2009

    Profile

    ecological footprint
    amylases
    biotechnology
    ethanol
    corn
    Amylases
    Biotechnology
    Zea mays
    Ethanol
    Amylase
    Corn
    ethanol production
    alpha-amylase
    alpha-Amylases
    starch
    Starch
    natural gas
    fossil fuels
    new variety
    electricity

    Keywords

    • Alpha-amylase
    • Corn
    • Energy balance
    • Ethanol
    • Greenhouse gas
    • Throughput
    • Trial

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Agronomy and Crop Science
    • Food Science
    • Economics and Econometrics
    • Biotechnology

    Cite this

    Corn amylase : Improving the efficiency and environmental footprint of corn to ethanol through plant biotechnology. / Urbanchuk, John M.; Kowalski, Daniel J.; Dale, Bruce; Kim, Seungdo.

    In: AgBioForum, Vol. 12, No. 2, 2009.

    Research output: Research - peer-reviewArticle

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