Skip to content

Elsewhere in Ag Utilization

Editor’s note: As a service to our readers, we provide news about the work of others in the ag utilization arena. Often, research done elsewhere complements AURI’s work.

Flat beer fuel

A group of Ohio investors wants to convert sugary syrups and other waste liquids into fuel. They are building an ethanol plant near Akron that will use raw materials such as flat beer and soda from beverage manufacturers. Company investors hope to begin production by the end of the year.

Source: Akron Beacon Journal, July 9, 2003

Brain-boosting blues

Trying to entice people to eat more blueberries, University of Maine researchers are whipping up new recipes that combine wild blueberries with other healthy products, such as soy. The researchers’ efforts have yielded some offbeat concoctions such as “berry burgers,” precooked beef or chicken patties mixed with blueberry puree to improve taste after reheating.

Besides capitalizing on various blueberry uses, the industry is touting the fruit’s health benefits. A USDA study suggests blueberries may reverse age-related short-term memory loss and help restore some balance and coordination.


Space-age grapes

Satellites are helping Europe’s wine industry design the perfect vintage.

European Space Agency craft are beaming back images of vineyards that, with unprecedented detail, provide vital information about the area’s conditions, such as slope, soil type and humidity. Growers could analyze how geology affects the grapes’ distinct flavor. The satellites may also monitor grapes’ color and shape as they grow and help farmers determine the optimal harvest time.

Source: BBC News, July 17, 2003

Cancer-halting genistein

A soy extract may help slow the progress of prostate cancer, according to University of California Davis Cancer Center researchers. A study found that only 38 percent of men given genistein, a soy isoflavone, experienced a rise in prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels, versus 98 percent in the untreated control group. PSA levels tend to rise when cancer causes the prostate gland to enlarge. Genistein may help men with prostate cancer, but researchers say more studies are needed.

Source: BBC News, May 1, 2003

Corn cloth

DuPont has been honored for its innovative use of corn in clothing, carpets and automobile interiors. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency presented its Presidential Green Chemistry award to Dupont in June.

Dupont engineered a microorganism to use corn sugars in a fermentation process to produce Sorona¨, a polymer platform that can be used in textile apparel, carpeting and packaging. Not only does the new bio-based method employ renewable resources, it uses less energy and produces fewer emissions than traditional petrochemical processes.

Source: July 24, 2003

Record-busting ethanol

The U.S. ethanol industry set an all-time record in June by producing 181,000 barrels per day Ñ 47 percent more than a year ago, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

The ethanol industry is expected to produce more than 2.7 billion gallons in 2003, up from a record annual production of 2.13 billion gallons in 2002. Currently, 73 ethanol plants have the capacity to produce over 2.9 billion gallons annually. Thirteen ethanol plants are under construction.


A Case for soy

Case IH, a leading farm equipment manufacturer, is using polyurethane plastic made from soybean derivatives for exterior trim panels on AFX Series combines. Over 370 pounds of the soy-based plastic are used on each harvester. Although 25 percent lighter weight than steel, the soy panels are extremely strong and similar to conventional polyurethane in quality. John Deere also uses soy-based panels in some implements.

Source: USB Biobased Solutions, July 2003

Fertility vitamin discovery

Japanese scientists have discovered a vitamin that may play an important role in fertility. A research team has confirmed that pyrroloquinoline quinone (PQQ), a substance discovered in 1979, can be categorized as a vitamin. Mice deprived of PQQ suffer reduced fertility and roughened fur. Vitamins’ effects on mice are often similar to humans.

The best PQQ source identified so far is “natto,” a pungent Japanese dish of fermented soybeans. Other foods rich in the vitamin include parsley, green tea, green peppers, kiwi fruit and papaya.

Source: Reuters, April 24, 2003