Editor’s note: As a service to our readers, we provide news about the work of others in ag utilization. Often, research done elsewhere complements AURI’s work. Please note that ARS is the USDA’s research division.

Samoan bug buster

ARS researchers from American Samoa are investigating the insect repellent qualities of essential oil from a native Samoan plant. The unnamed plant is one of more than 500 flowering species from the South Pacific U.S. island territory. Preliminary studies show the plant’s oil repels mosquitoes and pest ants.

From: USDA-ARS

August 24, 2009

Yeast beast

A new yeast could boost ethanol production. ARS scientists have developed yeast that can produce ethanol from five or six carbon sugars without oxygen. This could be an important breakthrough as oxygen levels are difficult to control when yeasts ferment sugars to ethanol.

From: USDA-ARS

July 18, 2009

Runway soy

RePLAY, a soy-based asphalt sealer, is clear for takeoff at Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida. According to its manufacturer, BioSpan of Ballwin, Mo., environmentally-friendly RePLAY is 88-percent biobased and penetrates into asphalt, protecting it from moisture while strengthening existing pavement. Applying sealer is about onetenth the cost of reconstructive overlays. RePLAY shouldn’t need to be reapplied at the Air Force runway for at least three to five years.

From: Biobased Solutions

July 2009

Bio-powered hydroplane

A blended biomass fuel has successfully powered a high-performance hydroplane. The Boeing U-787 unlimited hydroplane was the first ever to be powered by 100- percent biofuel made primarily from camelina, jatropha and algae oil. The boat made several successful test runs during Seattle’s Seafair. The biofuel performed the same as petroleum-based fuels during rapid acceleration, decelerations and cornering under a variety of water conditions. The boat’s engine has the same fuel performance requirements as a commercial airliner.

From: Soyatech.com

August 24, 2009

Fine feathered fuel

Nevada scientists have developed an environmentally-friendly way to produce biodiesel from chicken feather meal. University of Nevada researchers are extracting fat from the meal with boiling water, then processing it into biodiesel. Feather meal contains up to 12 percent fat, making it a potential biodiesel feedstock.

From: Soyatech.com

July 23, 2009

Renewable jet power

A renewable jet fuel developed and produced by the University of North Dakota’s Energy and Environmental Research Center has successfully powered a rocket — at speeds approaching sound to about 20,000-foot altitudes. The canola and soybean oil fuel meets the same screening criteria as petroleum for jet propellant-8 aviation fuel, which is widely used by the U.S. military.

From: undeerc.org

July 22, 2009

Spice power

Dried, ground cayenne peppers have been spicing up cuisine for thousands of years. ARS researchers have found that a patented antifungal plant compound in cayenne, CAY- 1, holds promise as an antifungal agent in both agriculture and medicine. It’s believed to work by attaching to fungal membranes, where it causes cell components to leak, eventually killing the cell.

From: USDA-ARS

July 9, 2009

Spice power

Dried, ground cayenne peppers have been spicing up cuisine for thousands of years. ARS researchers have found that a patented antifungal plant compound in cayenne, CAY- 1, holds promise as an antifungal agent in both agriculture and medicine. It’s believed to work by attaching to fungal membranes, where it causes cell components to leak, eventually killing the cell.

From: USDA-ARS

July 9, 2009