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www.agrinews-pubs.com | INDIANA AGRINEWS | Friday, September 13, 2019

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Award to help scientists use giraffe dung to make biofuels WEST LAFAYET TE, Ind. — People use enzymes to create fuels from plants, fungi to produce antimalarial drugs and E. coli bacteria to generate life-saving insulin. These systems are attractive because they are sustainable and rely on renewable plant biomass, but they are still wildly inefficient. Kev i n Solomon, a Purdue assistant professor in the Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering, plans to improve the efficiency by using giraffe, wildebeest, zebra and horse dung and a U.S. Department of Energy Career Award,

which supports the development of research programs by outstanding scientists early in their careers. The DOE will provide $750,000 over five years to fund his pro- Solomon posal, “Genetic Tools to Optimize Lignocellulose Conversion in Anaerobic Fungi and Interrogate Their Genomes.” “Nature and biological processes are good at fixing carbon dioxide and turning it into biomass. But we want to break the

chemicals in that biomass back into sugars that we can convert into a wide array of products,” Solomon said. “However, if breaking down trees were easy, t hey wou ld n’t exist.” T he problem is twofold, Solomon explained. First, microbes exist to exist, only producing enough enzyme to break down as much plant material as they need to survive. To break down plant material on scales needed

for industrial production requires microbes to produce a lot of enzyme. Second, scientists need tools to reprogram microorganisms so that they generate desired products such as fuels and medicines. For years, Solomon has collected microbes from the fecal matter of sheep, cows, rhinos, horses, wildebeest, zebras and giraffes because they effectively break down the plant materials those ani-

mals consume. He’s particularly interested in a class of fungi with a diverse repertoire of enzymes. “These animals have this microorganism in their guts that digests the food, turning those grasses into the sugars we want,” Solomon said. “If you think of enzymes as teeth, these fungi have more teeth than other organisms, allowing them to break down trees and other plant materials more easily.”

With this award, Solomon envisions developing CRISPR Cas9 gene-editing technologies and other approaches to modify these fungi to create fuel or medicines in a one-step process. “Essentially you would feed engineered fungi grass, and out would come medicine or fuel,” he said. The Department of Energy’s Office of Science has funded Solomon’s previous work.

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(H) ‘11 CIH 7088, 870/600 Hrs., Hyd. Bin

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Power Bin Fold . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $150,000 (M) CIH 12140, 12R, Pivot, Bulk . . . . . . . . . . . . $45,000 (O) Kinze 3700 24R30, Clean Sweep, Elec. Shut Off, (P) ‘09 CIH 6088, 1970/1550 Hrs., 480/80R38, 2020 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $50,000 Chopper . . . . . . . . . . . . . . REDUCED TO $119,000 (P) CIH 5140, 260/200 Hrs., 800/65R32 . . . $189,000 (M) JD 2200 36.5’, 8 Bar Spike, Reduced . . . . $20,000 (P) CIH 2577, 2000 Hrs., NICE. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Call (O) CIH 4300, 32’, 5 Bar Harrow . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $12,000 (O) CIH 2388, 3930/2850 Hrs., RT, Chopper . $25,000 (P) CIH 3900 30’ Disk . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $15,000 (S) 1998 CIH 2388, 2600 Sep Hrs., 20.8/42. . $49,000 (H) Case IH 4900 Cultivator, 34.5’,

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2018 GMC K2500HD Crew Cab Short Bed 4x4, Denali Pkg., 6.6 Duramax, Allison, Full Pwr., Heated & Cooled Lthr., Spray In Liner, 20” Chrome Wheels, New Tires, 27K Miles, 1 Owner, Local Trade, We Sold New! . . . .$57,995 STK# G9089A

Silverado HD Featuring Duramax Diesel Engine & Allison Transmission

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