A type of corn that is genetically engineered to make it easier to convert into ethanol was approved for commercial growing by the Department of Agriculture.
The decision, announced Friday, came in the face of objections from corn millers and others in the food industry, who warned that if the industrial corn cross-pollinated with or were mixed with corn used for food, it could lead to crumbly corn chips, soggy cereal, loaves of bread with soupy centers and corn dogs with inadequate coatings.
The corn, developed by Syngenta, contains a microbial gene that causes it to produce an enzyme that breaks down corn starch into sugar, the first step toward making ethanol.
Syngenta says that having the crop make the enzyme for its own breakdown ? self-processing corn, as it were ? will increase ethanol output while reducing the use of water, energy and chemicals in the production process.
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