Making Progress in Biorefining Technology - Sent Using Google Toolbar

Making Progress in Biorefining Technology

Making Progress in Biorefining Technology

In her book, Welcome to Biotech Nation, Dr. Moira Gunn dedicated a section to a matter very close to my heart – that of biofuels, specifically bioethanol. With the recent flurry of media attention to the greenhouse gas problem, the concept of using biofuels has regained considerable attention. Although the technologies of the past had their problems with sustainability and cost effectiveness, the exciting thing about biotechnology is that it is always changing.

Bioethanol production has traditionally not been terribly cost-efficient, and critics have claimed (not necessarily accurately) that the use of corn for biofuels was responsible for driving up the price of foods that use corn-derived sugars and starches, in recent years. Past biofuel production processes are criticized for using too many fossil fuels and other forms of energy for too little benefit. However, Dr. Gunn put it best when she said "All analyses of ethanol production that you have come into contact with to date may no longer be accurate." She emphasizes that new reports on biorefining process "must be questioned as to…" the nature of the biorefinery process, parts of the crop that are being used, the possibility of value-added chemicals being derived and utilized, and their role in the economics of bioethanol production, in addition to other factors that affect the same economics.

Scientists are reworking the biorefining process in an ongoing attempt to make it more efficient, cost-effective and sustainable and that includes making use of cellulose (the whole cornstalk or other plants) instead of only the sugars found in eatable corn kernels, or developing GM crops with more efficient enzymes that are more suited to biorefining processes or alternative substrates. The just of the matter is, whenever you hear something about biofuels and biorefining, keep an open mind and never assume that what you've heard about it in the past applies now.


M. Gunn. Welcome to Biotech Nation. AMACOM, New York, NY, USA. 2007.

Wednesday January 9, 2008 | comments (0)

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Investing in Green-Based Biotech - Sent Using Google Toolbar

Investing in Green-Based Biotech

Investing in Green-Based Biotech

Are you thinking about investing in biotechnology? Oil prices are rising, clean water is becoming a commodity and the climate is warming. With all the environmental and energy challenges facing the world today, you might reasonably predict that the alternative energy and other "green" technology sectors will soon be flourishing. Investment experts are predicting growth in areas of green products and services, which means investing in alternative fuels, bioremediation technologies and other green areas of biotech is sounding like a good idea these days. Let's face it, these environmental challenges aren't going to go away on their own. The challenge you and I face, is how to weed out the most promising innovative technologies versus recognizing the lemons.

Monday January 28, 2008 | comments (0)

Drug Production Moving to China - Sent Using Google Toolbar

Drug Production Moving to China

Last week, the Financial Post reported that WuXi PharmaTech, China's largers drug research outsourcing company, is the latest Chinese company to make an American acquisition thus contributing to the trend in moving more and more drug development and production jobs to China. Moves such as this are being made to save time and money and Chinese CSOs are "expanding rapidly", according to the Post. My question is this: Considering recent scandals and tragic deaths stemming from the bioethics crisis and poor quality of pharmaceutical products coming out of China, does outsourcing to China by North American and European companies make any sense?


Chinese drug firm granted FTC approval to acquire AppTec Laboratory. Financial Post. Thursday January 24, 2008.

Wednesday January 30, 2008 | comments (0)