Student Research Efforts Recognized at Corn Utilization and Technology Conference

June 7, 2018

Student Research Efforts Recognized at Corn Utilization and Technology Conference

Jun 7, 2018

Key Issues:New Uses

A graduate student from Iowa State University took home the top prize in the National Corn Growers Association’s Corn Utilization and Technology Conference 2018 Poster contest held in St. Louis, Mo. this week. Joseph P. Polin, from Iowa State University’s Department of Mechanical Engineering, received top honors in the Gary Lamie Student Poster Competition, sponsored by the Indiana Corn Marketing Council for his work on improving the process economics of making bio-renewable fuels and chemicals from corn stover.


“Encouraging young researchers to consider a career in agriculture is a major focus for the National Corn Growers and their State Partners. Those recognized in the poster contest show our efforts are paying off and they provide another reason for optimism,” said Dennis Maple, chair of CUTC and the National Corn Growers Association’s Corn Productivity and Quality Action Team. “I think all of the conference attendees were very impressed with the quality of research and the level of enthusiasm the students exhibited.  These are the people who will drive much needed new uses for corn in the future.”


Polin’s research seeks to take abundant corn stover biomass and convert the lignocellulose fractions into valuable products more economically and efficiently by improving the scalability and process economics of corn stover pyrolysis systems.


 Other general poster session winners included Tanvee Deshpande of South Dakota State, who received second place honors for a project entitled “Developing food quality standards for distillers dried grains- evaluating composition quality and safety.” Third place went to Jennifer Mobley of the Rose Hulman Institute of Technology for “Investigation of the production of long-chain dicarboxylic acids from distillers corn oil using candida viswanathii.”


CUTC also conducted a second poster session focused on mycotoxin research efforts which were sponsored by Biocognito. Mycotoxin contamination of corn or DDGs complicates the handling of corn and can reduce limit in marketability and value.


Claiming first place in the mycotoxin poster session was Weiran Li a graduate student in the Department of Botany and Plant Pathology at Purdue University for a project titled “Characterization of ZMPK1 and its role in disease resistance to Goss’s Wilt.”


Li’s research focused on identifying genes which are involved in corn immune responses to bacterial pathogens which can then be utilized to slow down the disease development of Goss’s wilt on leaves on corn seedlings. Goss’s Wilt is a bacterial disease can cause systemic infection and wilt of corn plants, severe leaf blighting and ultimately reduced yields.


Also, recognized for their research work on mycotoxins were:  Second place - Felipe Dalla Lana of The Ohio State University for “Weather factors associated with Gibberella ear rot and vomitoxin accumulation in corn grains.” Third place - Huijuan Yan: Texas A & M for “FRN1, a gene coding for putative GPCR protein, critical for ear rot and fumonisin biosynthesis in maize pathogen fusarium verticillioides.”


Held on a biennial basis, CUTC is recognized as an important forum for exchanging ideas and networking with an international audience of 240 experts from agricultural industry, academia, associations and government.