Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Breeding Soybeans For Ethanol And Fiberboard

Date:
January 4, 2007
Source:
USDA/Agricultural Research Service
Summary:
Having successfully turned pieces of giant soybean stalks into charcoal briquettes, Agricultural Research Service chemical engineer Justin Barone now believes they would make good fiberboard and other wood-substitute products as well. ARS geneticist Thomas E. Devine took the plants to Barone after noticing they had a rare ability to stand up straight all season, despite their unusual height of up to 7 feet. Soybean plants often lodge--fall down--as they grow taller.

Geneticist Thomas Devine measures one of his large biomass soybean plants selected for fiber and ethanol production.
Credit: Photo by Ken Hammond

Having successfully turned pieces of giant soybean stalks into charcoal briquettes, Agricultural Research Service chemical engineer Justin Barone now believes they would make good fiberboard and other wood-substitute products as well. ARS geneticist Thomas E. Devine took the plants to Barone after noticing they had a rare ability to stand up straight all season, despite their unusual height of up to 7 feet. Soybean plants often lodge--fall down--as they grow taller.

Related Articles


Barone is with the ARS Environmental Management and Byproduct Utilization Laboratory, and Devine is with the ARS Sustainable Agricultural Systems Laboratory, both in Beltsville, Md.

Devine suspected one reason the experimental line of soybeans stood so straight all season was because the cellulose fibers in their sapling-like stalks were unusually strong.

Barone's heat-measurement test supports this: A piece of the stalk takes as long to heat up as a sturdy 2x4 pine board.

Barone hopes to design a test that plant breeders can use to determine the strength or weakness of a plant's cellulose. Plants could be specially bred with strong cellulose, for use in briquettes and wood substitutes, or with weak cellulose better suited for cellulosic ethanol production.

Finding new microbial enzymes to break down tough cellulose is a major obstacle to producing cellulosic ethanol from plants such as soybeans or corn. Giving breeders a test for weak cellulose would allow them to select plants with cellulose that could be easily converted to ethanol by existing enzymes. Devine and agronomist James McMurtrey (recently retired from ARS) found evidence for this two years ago, in a study showing that naturally occurring soil microbes degraded some soybean stalks more rapidly than others.

Soybeans have an advantage over corn and other crops because they don't need commercial nitrogen fertilizer. This helps ensure that producing ethanol or other products from soybeans uses less energy.

ARS is the U.S. Department of Agriculture's chief scientific research agency.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by USDA/Agricultural Research Service. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

USDA/Agricultural Research Service. "Breeding Soybeans For Ethanol And Fiberboard." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 January 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/01/070102134712.htm>.
USDA/Agricultural Research Service. (2007, January 4). Breeding Soybeans For Ethanol And Fiberboard. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/01/070102134712.htm
USDA/Agricultural Research Service. "Breeding Soybeans For Ethanol And Fiberboard." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/01/070102134712.htm (accessed December 17, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

When You Lose Weight, This Is Where The Fat Goes

When You Lose Weight, This Is Where The Fat Goes

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) Can fat disappear into thin air? New research finds that during weight loss, over 80 percent of a person's fat molecules escape through the lungs. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Hottest Food Trends for 2015

The Hottest Food Trends for 2015

Buzz60 (Dec. 17, 2014) Urbanspoon predicts whicg food trends will dominate the culinary scene in 2015. Mara Montalbano (@maramontalbano) has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Rover Finds More Clues About Possible Life On Mars

Rover Finds More Clues About Possible Life On Mars

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) NASA's Curiosity rover detected methane on Mars and organic compounds on the surface, but it doesn't quite prove there was life ... yet. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ivory Trade Boom Swamps Law Efforts

Ivory Trade Boom Swamps Law Efforts

Reuters - Business Video Online (Dec. 17, 2014) Demand for ivory has claimed the lives of tens of thousands of African elephants and now a conservation report says the illegal trade is overwhelming efforts to enforce the law. Amy Pollock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins