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Scientists Genetically Engineer Sugarcane To Make Bio-diesel

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University of Illinois’ scientists have genetically engineered sugarcane to extract oil from the stems and leaves for bio-diesel production.

Moreover, the genetically modified sugarcane plants produced more sugar, which then could be used for ethanol production.

These dual-purpose bio-energy crops are projected to be over five times more cost-effective per acre than soybeans and two times more cost-effective than corn.

Bio-diesel not only keeps environment clean, it is also twice profitable than corns and five times than soybeans in an acre.

Professor of Plant Biology and Crop Sciences Stephen Long from the University of Illinois said,“Instead of fields of oil pumps, we envision fields of green plants sustainably producing bio-fuel in perpetuity on our nation’s soil, particularly marginal soil that is not well suited to food production.”

Long heads the research project Plants Engineered to Replace Oil in Sugarcane and Sweet Sorghum (PETROSS) that has initiated this study at the Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology at Illinois.

Long also explained that the technology of making bio-diesel from sugarcane would take 10-15 years to reach to the farmers, but during that time they would develop more solutions to ensure the fuel security.

According to Science Daily, researchers extracted about 60 percent oil and over 90 percent of sugar from the first modified sugarcane.

By using conventional method fermentation researchers first prepared ethanol.

Long added that increase of oil production would decrease the production of sugar but it won’t affect the average yearly production of sugar.

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