In the United States farmers have begun to plant a GM corn variety that will be better at producing ethanol. This has drawn criticism for the food industry and environmentalists, who say this product will make the international food crisis worse.
The corn is being grown in Kansas and has been developed by a Swiss company, Syngenta. Critics have said that if the corn should accidentally cross breed with regular corn then cereals could become damp, but the company says that precautions are being taken against this. Syngenta has claimed the crop will help feed the demand for ethanol in the US and help reduce carbon emissions.
As this crop is using land for fuel production rather than food, critics say this will mean that there will be higher food prices. The US Millers’ Association has spoken out against the crop, saying the risks of cross contamination are too great. Opposition aside, the United States Department of Agriculture approved the crop in February.
This new form of corn has a gene in it that will cause corn starch to break down into sugar due to the production in the corn of a new enzyme. The ethanol can then be extracted from the corn once it has been harvested.