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: Contribution to journalArticle

  • 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
amylases
biotechnology
Zea mays
Ethanol
ethanol
corn
alpha-Amylases
ethanol production
alpha-amylase
Starch
starch
Natural Gas
Fossil Fuels
Electricity
Endosperm
natural gas
fossil fuels

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: Contribution to journalArticle

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