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Title: Future Testing Opportunities to Ensure Sustainability of the Biofuels Industry

item Karlen, Douglas
item Kerr, Brian

Submitted to: International Symposium on Soil and Plant Analysis
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/15/2009
Publication Date: 7/25/2009
Citation: Karlen, D.L., Kerr, B.J. 2009. Future Testing Opportunities to Ensure Sustainability of the Biofuels Industry [abstract]. International Symposium on Soil and Plant Analysis. p. 18.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: The Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) of 2007 increased the intensity of biofuel research and development throughout the U.S. For the Soil and Plant Analysis Community, this will undoubtedly create new opportunities to provide analytical services that will help ensure mandates such as the Renewable Fuels Standards (RFS) are met in a sustainable manner. In addition to quantifying traditional soil fertility and plant nutrition parameters from feedstock production sites, there will be opportunities to develop comprehensive soil quality evaluations using tools such as the Soil Management Assessment Framework (SMAF), feedstock quality assessments, and evaluation and monitoring programs for a variety of co-products created by corn (Zea mays L.) milling and biodiesel processing. For co-products produced from wet- or dry-corn milling, accurate and efficient analysis of fiber components (NDF, ADF, and TDF), amino acids (lysine, trypotophan, and methionine), fatty acids, and minerals (phosphorus and sulfur) will be needed. In addition, the capacity to accurately and rapidly detect contamination by mycotoxins such as aflatoxin, zearalenone, and fumonisisn or the presence of antibiotics such as penicillin or virginiamycin will also be needed. For co-products from the biodiesel industry, methanol concentrations in crude glycerin must be known to ensure this co-product is safe for use in livestock feeds. Current ARS research using these analytical assessments to develop baseline information for a sustainable biofuel industry will be presented and discussed using examples such as how swine diets that contain elevated dry distiller’s grain with solubles affect pork fat quality or how fatty acid composition and content affect the energy available to animals consuming the by-products in their diet.