Submitted to: Biotechnology for Fuels and Chemicals Symposium Proceedings
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: May 1, 2002
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: Last year over 1.8 billion gallons of fuel ethanol were produced from nearly 700 million bushels of corn. Ethanol demand is expected to more than double in the next few years with the phase out of MTBE (methyl tertiary butyl ether) as a fuel oxygenate. In order to improve the yield of fuel ethanol from a bushel of corn, our research program on biofuels is focused in the short term on identifying higher yielding hybrids, conversion of corn hulls/fiber/bran in the grain, and generating higher value coproducts. The seed corn industry has suggested development of grains with tailored traits, e.g., corn with higher and more fermentable starch content. Our research has shown that the availability (digestibility) of starch is more important than the actual starch content. In addition, our collaborative research with industry and academia has shown that conversion of corn fiber can enhance ethanol yield from a bushel lof corn by 10%. Utilization of the starch, cellulose, and hemicellulose present in corn hulls/fiber/bran for ethanol has the potential to yield a higher protein coproduct from grain fermentations than the products (corn gluten feed and distillers dried grains plus solubles) on the market today.