A graduate student from Iowa State University took home the top prize in the National Corn Growers Association’s Corn Utilization and Technology Conference 2016 Poster contest held in St. Louis, Missouri recently. Lei Fang received top honors in the Gary Lamie Student Poster Competition, sponsored by the Indiana Corn Marketing Council for his work on increased oil recovery during ethanol fermentation and downstream processing.
“This is a premier scientific conference on corn wet and dry milling and new uses for corn, so it is appropriate that we also have a high caliber poster competition like this,” said NCGA Research and Business Development Action Team Chairman Larry Hoffmann during the awards presentation. “The National Corn Growers Association is pleased to lend our support, encouragement and a cash stipend to young researchers who are shaping the future of this important industry.”
The second place award was presented to David Orrego and Dahewan Kim of Purdue University. The Purdue Tandem are researching more efficient corn separation during processing which improves starch recovery, reduces enzyme use and saves energy during ethanol production. Their work is also designed to introduce cellulose ethanol production into an existing corn to ethanol facility by hydrolyzing and fermenting the pericarp or the top portion of a corn kernel to ethanol.
Third place went to Z.E. Carlson, University of Nebraska-Lincoln. This year’s contest attracted 29 student entries. 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.
A separate poster session for research professionals addressing mycotoxins in corn was conducted concurrently with the student competition. The Mycotoxin Poster winners are:
1st Place – Joseph Noonan, Mississippi State
2nd Place – Tabyta Sabchuk, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
3rd Place – Felicia Parish, Mississippi State
Noonan’s research focuses on identifying corn genes and proteins that are resistant to feeding by southwestern corn borer and fall armyworm as well as being resistant to A. flavus infection and aflatoxin accumulation. Significant aflatoxin contamination complicates the handling of corn and can reduces limit is marketability and value.
Addressing aflatoxin in DDGS, a high protein feed co-product from ethanol production, is the focus of Sabchuk’s work. She is developing hydrothermal processing that uses heat to reduce aflatoxin as well as improving feed characteristics.
Held on a biennial basis, CUTC is recognized as an important forum for exchanging ideas and networking with an international audience of 250 experts from agricultural industry, academia, associations and government.