Scientists are making more plants bend to their will. According to the latest edition of Nature Genetics the white coated folk have come up with a way of milking corn for maximum oil.
Scientists have identified the gene determining the oil yield and, by monkeying around with it, can create oil-rich maize.
But not all is well in biofuels world (sound like a rubbish theme park) with some scientists warning that the likes of biodiesel will lead to peak food production. Here’s a neat summary from MIT:
High oil prices, energy security considerations and fears about global warming have helped revive interest in renewable energy sources like biofuels, which burn cleanly and can be produced from plants.
But there are a few catches, particularly regarding biofuels like corn-based ethanol: the more corn is used in ethanol production, the less is available for food–a reality that partly accounts for the recent run-up in world food prices. Moreover, most of the 6 billion gallons of ethanol produced annually in the United States comes from corn, but there’s not enough corn available to make it a viable long-term source.