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catching toxins on a digital camera

Elsewhere in ag innovations

New ethanol plant on the block

DuPont has opened its newest $225 million cellulosic ethanol plant in Nevada, Iowa which will produce ethanol from cornstalks, leaves and cobs instead of the kernel, which is most common in production methods. DuPont has integrated new technologies into the plant, which is being billed as the largest cellulosic plant in the world. The company plans to use the same bacteria distillers use to make tequila to produce 30 million gallons of ethanol per year as opposed to using yeast as is done across
the wider industry., November 2015

“Berry” good meat

An EU-funded research project is aiming to make sausages, patties and other meat products healthier. Researchers at Lund University in Sweden, the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences and four other European research institutions have launched a joint project to reduce the risk of colon cancer.

This project involves extracting antioxidants from plants and berries, and then adding them to meat products. Testing will be done afterwards to show whether or not this reduces the occurrences of cancer. According to the reserachers hypothesis, minimizing the oxidization in processed meat products will lead to the reduction of colon cancer.

Medical News Today, November 2015

Catching toxins on film

Digital cameras have been incorporated into a new system to detect pathogens that can cause foodborne illnesses. The new system, developed at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service, measures active and inactive Shiga toxin activity as effectively as equipment that costs 100 times more. Shiga toxin is a product of E.coli O157:H7, and is a major concern for the food industry, as it causes an estimated 73,000 cases of food poisoning each year. This new system is easy and affordable to use and will be useful in developing countries where the risk of foodborne illness is greater.

USDA-ARS, September 2015

Growing more oil

Plant-derived oils are widely used all over the world both for food and industrial purposes. In recent years they have also attracted attention as raw materials for potential biofuels and bioplastics that are friendly to the environment. Because of these new uses, the demand for vegetable oils is expanding year by year. Researchers in Japan have succeeded in inducing the genes involved in oil synthesis in seeds to work for longer periods of time, thereby allowing them to accumulate more seed oil. The study showed that the length of the oil synthesis phase in seed formation is one of the primary factors in determining final oil content. By suppressing protein synthesis while extending the oil synthesis period, researchers also succeeded in achieving further increase in oil production.

Dr. Kanai of the research group, said “By applying the current results to crop breeding, prolonging the period of oil synthesis will generate many new crops with high oil content.”, November 2015