Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Ethanol 'Leftover' Has Weed-Fighting Potential

Date:
May 23, 2007
Source:
USDA, Agricultural Research Service
Summary:
Distiller's dried grains (DDGs) -- byproducts of converting corn into ethanol -- are usually fed to livestock. But a new use could be on tap: fighting weeds and reducing herbicide use. That's the hope of scientists seeking to identify new, value-added uses for farm-based commodities like DDGs and help bring them to commercial fruition by developing novel processing technologies.

A typical ethanol plant in West Burlington, Iowa.
Credit: Steven Vaughn

Distiller's dried grains (DDGs)—coproducts of converting corn into ethanol—are usually fed to livestock. But a new use could be on tap: fighting weeds and reducing herbicide use.

That's the hope of plant physiologist Steve Vaughn and colleagues with the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) in Peoria, Ill. There, at the National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research (NCAUR), Vaughn is among approximately 100 scientists seeking to identify new, value-added uses for farm-based commodities like DDGs and help bring them to commercial fruition by developing novel processing technologies.

In laboratory, greenhouse and field studies over the past few years, Vaughn has shown that applying DDGs to soil as a surface mulch can not only suppress weeds, but also bolster the growth of tomatoes and some turfgrasses. In one study, for example, Roma tomatoes in DDG-treated plots yielded 226 pounds, versus 149 pounds from untreated control plots.

Vaughn attributes some of the increase to nitrogen, phosphorus and other nutrients released by the DDG mulch as it decayed.

In another study, using various analytical methods, NCAUR collaborator Mark Berhow is seeking to identify, measure and monitor the activity of the chemicals in the DDG mulch that may have kept chickweed, annual rye and other weeds from germinating.

Rick Boydston, an ARS collaborator at Prosser, Wash., tested the mulch's weed control in potted ornamentals, including roses. He observed that DDGs worked best when applied to the soil surface, because mixing them into the soil harmed both ornamentals and weeds alike.

On another front at Peoria, ARS chemist Rogers Harry O'Kuru is examining DDGs for phytosterols, lecithin and other substances with potential use as health-promoting food ingredients.

The team's efforts to expand the market for DDGs are timely. In the Midwest, ethanol producers generate 10 million tons of DDGs annually. Farmers buy most of it for about $80 per ton and feed it to cows and other ruminants. However, the nation's increasing production of ethanol may create a DDG surplus that exceeds the current demand, Vaughn notes.


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. "Ethanol 'Leftover' Has Weed-Fighting Potential." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 May 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/05/070522134713.htm>.
USDA, Agricultural Research Service. (2007, May 23). Ethanol 'Leftover' Has Weed-Fighting Potential. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/05/070522134713.htm
USDA, Agricultural Research Service. "Ethanol 'Leftover' Has Weed-Fighting Potential." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/05/070522134713.htm (accessed September 22, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Monday, September 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Cat Lovers Flock to Los Angeles

Cat Lovers Flock to Los Angeles

AFP (Sep. 22, 2014) The best funny internet cat videos are honoured at LA's Feline Film Festival. Duration: 00:56 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Washed-Up 'Alien Hairballs' Are Actually Algae

Washed-Up 'Alien Hairballs' Are Actually Algae

Newsy (Sep. 22, 2014) Green balls of algae washed up on Sydney, Australia's Dee Why Beach. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: San Diego Zoo Welcomes Cheetah Cubs

Raw: San Diego Zoo Welcomes Cheetah Cubs

AP (Sep. 20, 2014) The San Diego Zoo has welcomed two Cheetah cubs to its Safari Park. The nearly three-week-old female cubs are being hand fed and are receiving around the clock care. (Sept. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Chocolate Museum Opens in Brussels

Chocolate Museum Opens in Brussels

AFP (Sep. 19, 2014) Considered a "national heritage" in Belgium, chocolate now has a new museum in Brussels. In a former chocolate factory, visitors to the permanent exhibition spaces, workshops and tastings can discover derivatives of the cocoa bean. Duration: 01:00 Video provided by AFP
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:
from the past week

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