(Posted Wed. Jun 6th, 2012)
June 6: A successful Corn Utilization and Technology Conference concluded today with the presentation of awards recognizing the top poster contest entries this year.
“The National Corn Growers Association is pleased to lend our support and encouragement to young researchers,” said NCGA Director of Research and New Uses Dr. Richard Vierling. “Corn offers a variety of solutions for many of today’s problems, and we are honored to play a small role in recognizing the scholarly efforts that will help create entirely new ways to utilize this amazing resource.”
This year’s contest attracted more than 30 student entries, which is more than a third more than those submitted at the last event in 2010. A panel of industry and academic experts evaluated the posters on their relevance to the corn industry, scientific originality, viable and supportable conclusions and oral and visual presentation. The judges reviewed entries that detailed research well above average in their significance to the industry. Due to the impressive quality of the entries, multiple rounds of judging were necessary to select the winners.
In an effort to reflect the broadened scope of the conference, the contest added two new awards this year for posters concerning the importance of aflatoxin research and mycotoxin mitigation.
First place in the corn growing, dry grind processing and wet milling industries category went to Tyler Jordison from Michigan State University. His poster, The Catalytic Conversion of Bioethanol to 1-Butanol and Higher Alcohols, outlined the production of more valuable chemicals from ethanol using existing ethanol plants. This research could prove valuable as it shows a path for ethanol production beyond the “blend wall.”
The second place poster, Solid State Fermentation Kinetics and Reactor Design for the Production of Cellulase, was from University of Nebraska student Hunter Flodman. The research for this poster focused on a less expensive approach to the production of enzymes that can produce more fuel and higher protein DDGs.
Third place was awarded to Reetam Chakrabarti for his poster, Effect of Ash on the Catalytic Gasification of Corn Residues. Chakrabarti, a student from the University of Minnesota, showed a more efficient and cost effective process for producing cleaner fuels and chemicals from corn residue.
First place in the aflatoxin research and mycotoxin mitigation category was awarded to Jenny Bibb from Mississippi State University. Her poster, Impact of Corn Earworm on Grain Quality, explored the effects Bt corn technologies and foliar applications on kernel damage and aflatoxin concentrations in the southern United States.
Second place went to Alka Tiswari, also from Mississippi State University. Tiswari’s poster, Comparative Structural Analysis of Maize Homologous Proteins Tentatively Associated with Host Plant Resistance to Aspergillus Flavus Infection and Aflatoxin Accumulation, demonstrated that comparative modeling can be used to facilitate corn resistance breeding.
Held on a biennial basis, CUTC attracts experts from agribusiness, academia, commodity associations and government to participate in an industry-leading international forum for the exchange of ideas.