Contact Information:

Media Contact

Nicholas Vasi

Twitter: IGBIllinois

Kredyty mieszkaniowe Kredyty mieszkaniowe

Sprawdź aktualny ranking najlepszych kredytów mieszkaniowych w Polsce - atrakcyjne kredytowanie nieruchomości. - Press Release Distribution
RSS - Press News Release
Add Press Release

It's time to stop thinking in terms of food versus fuel

How farmers can sustainably, and affordably, meet humanity's growing demand for food and fuel

It's time to stop thinking in terms of food versus fuel
( Whether you have taken a side or a backseat in the discussion, the "food versus fuel" debate affects us all. Some say growing more biofuel crops today will decrease greenhouse gas emissions, but will make it harder to produce food tomorrow, which has prevented the U.S. from maximizing the potential of environmentally beneficial biofuels.

In a recent article, published by the National Academy of Engineering, University of Illinois' Gutgsell Endowed Chair of Plant Biology and Crop Sciences Steve Long and University of California's Philomathia Professor of Alternative Energy Chris Somerville predict farmers can sustainably, and affordably, meet humanity's growing demand for food and fuel.

"It is not possible to control which fields are affected by climate change, but we can decide which fields could produce biofuels without impacting food production, and which crops will benefit the environment most," said Long, who directs the Realizing Increased Photosynthetic Ef?ciency (RIPE) project at the Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology at the University of Illinois.

Biofuel crops capture and store carbon dioxide from the air, lowering greenhouse gases (GHG). This is especially true of the perennial biofuel crops, like Miscanthus and prairie cordgrass. As a clean-burning alternative to gasoline, biofuels also reduce GHG emissions from your car.

Not all biofuel is created equal Today ten percent of your car's fuel (or more if you use E85) comes from ethanol, a fuel often made from fermenting corn and sugarcane. An alternative--called cellulosic ethanol--is produced from plants (called feedstocks) that are not grown for food.

Corn ethanol produces 34-44 percent less GHG emissions than gasoline. Sugarcane ethanol reduces GHG emissions by more than 50 percent; some estimate it reduces GHG by as much as 82 percent. Cellulosic ethanol, when combined with carbon capture and storage, may be a carbon neutral source of fuel with no net GHG emissions.

Cellulosic feedstocks have a lot of other benefits: They convert more sunlight energy into biomass energy per unit land area than food crops. Their deep, soil-binding root systems preserve precious topsoil and recycle nutrients, requiring little or no additional fertilizer. And because they don't have to be replanted each year, perennial feedstocks have an even smaller carbon footprint than annual crops.

Long and Somerville predict that over time acreage devoted to sugarcane and cellulosic biofuels will increase while corn--which has relatively fewer GHG benefits--will be grown almost exclusively for food and livestock feed.

Turn idle acres into fuel sources The article notes that the U.S. is in a very fortunate position. "The U.S. has many millions of acres of unused and marginal land that could support biofuel crop production, to the economic and environmental benefit of those regions," Long said. "This cannot be done tomorrow, but with well-planned research and development, in 20 years these acres could provide a perpetual and sustainable source of fuels for the U.S."

Over the past 25 years, six million hectares of land dropped out of crop production due to federal conservation reserve programs and farmers abandoning marginal land that is not profitable for food crops. Cellulosic feedstocks thrive on this marginal land, including infertile land in the South as well as semi-desert and salty soils.

Miscanthus × giganteus, a promising cellulosic feedstock, showed no significant difference in yield when grown on high-quality or marginal land in Illinois. In England, it was grown for 14 years without fertilizer without any evidence of yield loss.

Great, but how much will this cost? In time, biofuels will likely cost less than fossil fuels which might one day be subject to carbon taxes for environmental damage from GHG emissions.

While biofuels made from food and feed crops (e.g. corn and sugarcane) will increase the price of food, you won't notice a price hike at the grocery store; the price of grain is a very small portion of retail food prices in developed countries. This also provides an incentive to the farmer to invest and improve efficiency of production, Long said.

Biofuels will increase food prices in developing regions where large numbers of urban people live on a few dollars a day and depend on raw grains. However, rural small farmers in these areas will benefit from higher crop prices and could invest their profits into increasing production, which would eventually decrease prices.

But ultimately it's the environmental costs we have to worry about, Long said.

"We cannot afford to ignore the effects of GHG emissions on our climate," said Long. "Failing to allocate acreage to produce these sustainable fuels will cost us much more in the long run. But to fully realize the potential of bioenergy, we need support for continued technical improvements, together with effective and enabling policies. Planned in an informed way we can have both food and fuel from plants."


This article "Future of Biofuel and Food Production in the Context of Climate Change and Emerging Resource Stresses" is available online:

[Attachments] See images for this press release:
It's time to stop thinking in terms of food versus fuel


Tall and slim: They go together, genetic study shows

University of Queensland scientists have found a genetic basis for height and body mass differences between European populations. Queensland Brain Institute researcher Dr Matthew Robinson said the findings could explain why people from northern European countries tended on average to be taller and slimmer than other Europeans. He said the genes that resulted in greater height correlated strongly with genes that reduced body mass index. "Our findings give a genetic basis to the stereotype of Scandinavians as being tall and lean," Dr Robinson said. The study paves ...

Findings could shed light on cancer, aging

Researchers at the Johns Hopkins University have found molecular evidence of how a biochemical process controls the lengths of protective chromosome tips, a potentially significant step in ultimately understanding cancer growth and aging. In a paper recently published as the cover story in the online journal eLife, biologist David C. Zappulla and graduate student Evan P. Hass show how in baker's yeast cells, two proteins work together to usher a key enzyme to the chromosome tip, the telomere, to restore its length, which diminishes with each round of cell division. That ...

Size matters -- the more DNA the better

A new study from researchers at Uppsala University shows that variation in genome size may be much more important than previously believed. It is clear that, at least sometimes, a large genome is a good genome. 'Our study shows that females with larger genome lay more eggs and males with larger genome fertilize more eggs', says research leader Göran Arnqvist, Professor of Animal Ecology at Uppsala University. The study of seed beetles is published in the scientific journal Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. The amount of nuclear DNA per cell, or the ...

AHA's 'Life's Simple 7' and diabetes care program reduce risk of heart failure

Philadelphia, PA, September 14, 2015 - One in four middle-aged adults who survive to age 85 will develop heart failure, according to current estimates. Intervention programs to improve lifestyles are widely advocated, but do they actually work? Investigators in the U.S. and Taiwan independently examined programs that may reduce cardiovascular risk and concluded that both programs will reduce lifetime risk of heart failure. Results are reported in The American Journal of Medicine. A group of American investigators estimated whether greater adherence to the American Heart ...

Three new studies converge on promising new target for addiction treatment

Philadelphia, PA, September 14, 2015 - The latest issue of Biological Psychiatry presents the results of three studies implicating metabotropic glutamate receptor 2 (mGluR2) as a new molecular target for the treatment of addiction. Group II metabotropic glutamate receptors, which include the subtypes mGluR2 and mGluR3, have been known targets for addiction treatment. Unfortunately, mGluR2/3 agonists studied to date have shown important limitations, including development of tolerance and decreasing food intake along with drug intake. Thus, scientists have been working ...

Optogenetics: Light switch generates cellular second messenger

This news release is available in German. FRANKFURT. Optogenetics is a quickly expanding field of research which has revolutionized neurobiological and cellbiological research around the world. It uses natural or tailored light-sensitive proteins in order to switch nerve cells on and off without electrodes with unprecedented accuracy in respect to time and location. The discovery of the light-gated ion channel channelrhodopsin in algae in 2002 was a key finding for this field. In 2005, Frankfurt scientists working with Prof. Alexander Gottschalk succeeded in transferring ...

You're not irrational, you're just quantum probabilistic

COLUMBUS, Ohio--The next time someone accuses you of making an irrational decision, just explain that you're obeying the laws of quantum physics. A new trend taking shape in psychological science not only uses quantum physics to explain humans' (sometimes) paradoxical thinking, but may also help researchers resolve certain contradictions among the results of previous psychological studies. According to Zheng Joyce Wang and others who try to model our decision-making processes mathematically, the equations and axioms that most closely match human behavior may be ones ...

World's turtles face plastic deluge danger

Worlds turtles face plastic deluge danger
An international study led by a University of Queensland researcher has revealed more than half the world's sea turtles have ingested plastic or other human rubbish. The study, led by Dr Qamar Schuyler from UQ's School of Biological Sciences, found the east coasts of Australia and North America, Southeast Asia, southern Africa, and Hawaii were particularly dangerous for turtles due to a combination of debris loads and high species diversity. "The results indicate that approximately 52 per cent of turtles world-wide have eaten debris," Dr Schuyler said. The study ...

Elite tennis players feel the heat at Australian Open as summers intensify

Melbourne summer temperatures have been steadily climbing over the past 25 years, but even more so during the two weeks of the Australian Open in late January, new data analysis reveals. The average afternoon temperature in January has risen by 0.8 degrees Celsius per decade since 1987. But in the two weeks of the Australian Open - usually held in mid-late January - temperatures have increased by 1.25 degrees per decade. Ben Hague, a third-year Atmosphere and Ocean Sciences student at the University of Melbourne, said extreme summer temperatures have also become more ...

Does social capital explain community-level differences in organ donor designation?

MEDFORD/SOMERVILLE, Mass. (Sept. 14, 2015)--A new study finds that the characteristics of one's community may be as important as individual factors on the decision to become an organ donor. The study, published in The Milbank Quarterly, shows an association between sociodemographic/social capital measures and organ donor registrations across 4,466 Massachusetts neighborhoods. In order to increase organ donation registrations, the research suggests that future health policies adopt a community-level focus. The shortage of organs for transplantation has reached unprecedented ...


How your brain decides blame and punishment -- and how it can be changed

Uniquely human brain region enables punishment decisions

Pinpointing punishment

Chapman University publishes research on attractiveness and mating

E-cigarettes: Special issue from Nicotine & Tobacco Research

Placental problems in early pregnancy associated with 5-fold increased risk of OB & fetal disorders

UT study: Invasive brood parasites a threat to native bird species

Criminals acquire guns through social connections

Restoring ocean health

Report: Cancer remains leading cause of death in US Hispanics

Twin study suggests genetic factors contribute to insomnia in adults

To be fragrant or not: Why do some male hairstreak butterflies lack scent organs?

International team discovers natural defense against HIV

Bolivian biodiversity observatory takes its first steps

Choice of college major influences lifetime earnings more than simply getting a degree

Dominant strain of drug-resistant MRSA decreases in hospitals, but persists in community

Synthetic biology needs robust safety mechanisms before real world application

US defense agencies increase investment in federal synthetic biology research

Robots help to map England's only deep-water Marine Conservation Zone

Mayo researchers identify protein -- may predict who will respond to PD-1 immunotherapy for melanoma

How much water do US fracking operations really use?

New approach to mammograms could improve reliability

The influence of citizen science grows despite some resistance

Unlocking secrets of how fossils form

What happens on the molecular level when smog gets into the lungs?

Using ultrasound to clean medical instruments

Platinum and iron oxide working together get the job done

Tiny silica particles could be used to repair damaged teeth, research shows

A quantum lab for everyone

No way? Charity's logo may influence perception of food in package

[] It's time to stop thinking in terms of food versus fuel
How farmers can sustainably, and affordably, meet humanity's growing demand for food and fuel is a service of DragonFly Company. All Rights Reserved.
Issuers of news releases are solely responsible for the accuracy of their content.