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Purdue yeast makes ethanol from agricultural waste more effectively

btained with other transportation fuels that are available," Tolan said.

Also known as ethyl alcohol, ethanol can be used as fuel by itself or blended with gasoline. The Purdue yeast is used in combination with other technologies under development that first convert agricultural materials to xylose and glucose, said Purdue's Michael Ladisch, Distinguished Professor of Agricultural and Biological Engineering and director of LORRE.

"Iogen's efforts are beneficial to companies in Indiana and elsewhere in the United States by providing an industrial test bed for the fermentation part of the cellulose conversion technology, hence speeding its development for uses on a range of crops and crop residues once the other technologies, including preprocessing of the cellulosic materials and converting these materials to sugars, are developed and proven in the industry," Ladisch said.

Ethanol is environmentally friendly and a cleaner fuel than gasoline, he said.

"The carbon dioxide that is generated from burning ethanol is recycled back into plant material because plants incorporate CO2 into cellulose as part of the photosynthesis cycle," Ladisch said. "This reduces the net generation of the greenhouse gas since part of it is recycled."

Ethanol currently is produced when yeast ferments glucose and related hexose - or six-carbon sugars in food crops such as cane sugar, corn and other starch-rich grains. However, Ho said, because these crops are expensive and in relatively limited supply, they can't yield sufficient amounts of ethanol for transportation needs.

Cellulosic materials represent an opportunity to address this problem, she said. Cellulosic materials cost only about half as much as corn per ton but are more difficult than corn to convert to ethanol. Part of the difficulty is the fermentation to ethanol of the xylose, which is a five-carbon sugar. This sugar is not naturally fermented by yeast or other microorga
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Contact: Emil Venere
venere@purdue.edu
765-494-4709
Purdue University
28-Jun-2004


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