Farmers usually leave the leftovers of the corn harvesting in the fields to rot. Engineers came up with a way to convert that leftover into ethanol.
Further advancement of this technology could allow us not to rely so much on fossil fuels.
This new yeast was quite successful in converting one litre treated corn stover into 100 grams of ethanol. Corn is the largest crop in the US and is being used to make ethanol. The produced ethanol undergoes various other processes and is sold at gas stations.
According to Felix Lam of MIT, Corn has proved to be a successful source of renewable energy, but we cannot rely on it for fuels. We have other alternatives.
Lam and his colleagues began with baker’s yeast and came up with the finding that it is capable of converting sugars present in corn kernels into ethanol. The drawback of this process is that it results in the production of toxic by-products known called aldehydes. These by-products can be quite harmful to the yeast.
To address this problem, Lam brought the idea of converting aldehydes into something tolerable. The possible way of doing that is by using a yeast gene, known as GRE2, for converting aldehydes into alcohol.
There are limitless possibilities and more room for improvement.