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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Method For Turning Plant Material Into Sugar For Producing Ethanol
See also: US Patent Office Full Record

Patent Number: 7993884
Docket Number: 6206
Serial Number: 11904577
Date Patented: 08/09/2011

Technology Description: 


ARS scientists in Peoria, IL have developed a new method for converting plant material into a simple sugar, which can be used in ethanol fuel production.  ARS’s technology uses fermentation to converts plant cell wall carbohydrates into xylose—a type of sugar found in most plants.   Most fuel ethanol is produced from sugars derived from corn starch or cane syrup.  No process exists for turning plant materials into sugars for large-scale industrial applications.  These sugars, and the method used to produce them, are relatively expensive.  Also, corn starch and cane syrup have a higher value when used in food products.  Starches and sugars—which are typically derived from sources like residues and byproducts from agriculture, gardening, and forestry—represent only a fraction of the total carbohydrates available from plant material.  Xylose is the second most abundant sugar in plants.  Xlose produced from this technology can be fermented to produce bioproducts, such as ethanol. 


ARS is seeking a cooperative research partner to develop the technology for large-scale commercial production.


Companies that produce enzymes for ethanol production would be able to use this technology, and adapt it for commercial applications.




Please refer to S.N. 11/904,577 (Docket #0062.06), which was filed on September 27, 2007.  Foreign rights are available.  Similar technologies relating to biofuels are also available.  Please refer to USPN 6,280,986; USPN 7,067,303; USPN 6,855,838; and S.N. 11/337,458.




Douglas B. Jordan

Terence R. Whitehead

Fermentation Biotechnology Research

(Same as first inventor)

Peoria, IL 61604

Phone: (309) 681-6472


   Fax: (309) 681-6427

Christopher A. Dunlap

Crop Bioprotection Research


Phone: (309) 681-6339

Michael A. Cotta

   Fax: (309) 681-6693

(Same as first inventor)



Last Modified: 10/1/2015
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