New Syngenta corn trait touted as way to make ethanol more efficiently; USDA gives OK


MINNETONKA, MINN. — Syngenta Seeds announced Feb. 11 it received full deregulation from the USDA for the genetically modified output trait, corn amylase Event 3272. Syngenta Seeds plans to sell corn containing Event 3272 under the “Enogen” seed brand.

The corn offers an alpha-amylase enzyme, which breaks the starches into fermentable sugars, directly in the grain.

“Enogen corn is a breakthrough product,” said David Morgan, president of Syngenta Seeds.

The Enogen corn amylase trait is the first genetically modified output trait in corn for the ethanol industry. By enabling expression of an optimized alpha-amylase enzyme directly in corn, the Enogen trait improves dry grind ethanol production.

The company statement also said “targeted” corn growers could develop “a premium specialty crop in a contracted, closed production system.”

Syngenta calculates with the use of the new corn trait, a 100-million gallon ethanol plant could save 450,000 gallons of water, 1.3 million KWh of electricity and 244 billion BTUs of natural gas, while reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 106 million pounds.

Tested in Kansas. Enogen grain has been tested at Western Plains Energy, in Oakley, Kan. Syngenta said the most visible result for Western Plains Energy has been an 8 percent increase in ethanol production combined with an 8 percent reduction in natural gas consumption.

“What that means for us is more profits, with less expense,” said General Manager and CEO Steve McNinch.

Enogen grain gives ethanol producers the ability to stretch to maximum processing capacity, but it doesn’t require any changes to the process. It simply replaces the addition of the liquid product.

“We don’t ever want to go back to a liquid amylase product,” McNinch said.

Contract production

Enogen grain will only be allowed to be cultivated by corn growers under contract with a licensed ethanol plant in their local area in a highly controlled, closed production system.

Enogen grain produced from growers’ contracted acres will be delivered to the licensed ethanol plant. This managed track-and-trace system will maintain quality standards for the dry grind ethanol process while virtually eliminating the potential for misdirection of grain that may result in starch functionality impacts in some industrial and food processes.

In 2007, the Enogen trait completed the Food and Drug Administration consultation process.

The trait has been approved for import into Australia, Canada, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Philippines, Russia and Taiwan, and for cultivation in Canada — and now the U.S.


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