Biofuel: A Burden On The Food Supply

Genetically modified crops are not only good for improving harvest yields bound for consumption as food. There are also other means of using such crops for the betterment of human existence. And with GM crops having recently come under fire for unanswered questions as to their safety as food, biotech companies needed other uses for the crops that they have developed or still under development stages. And one possible use is developing genetically modified crops for the production of biofuels.

With the increasing need for fuel to power industries as well as the rising costs of oil in the world market, a good substitute is required. Many scientists as well as a number of industry experts believe that biofuel may be able to fill the gap in the quest for a suitable alternative. Biofuel is a renewable energy source that can be produced by processing certain plants such as corn, sugarcane, etc. into an effective substitute for fossil fuels. With a supposedly dwindling oil supply with the demand still increasing, an alternative is truly a welcome addition in order to fill in the world’s energy needs. And biofuel fits the bill.

Biofuel is a cleaner alternative that can be used for current machineries as an energy source. What’s more, they are more environmentally sound to use. A certain advantage that biofuels have as an ideal alternative for fossil fuels is that it does not contribute to carbon emissions in the air. The reason for this is because biofuels only make use of carbon dioxide that the plants themselves made use while they were still growing. This makes biofuels carbon neutral and therefore allow little emissions that may pollute the environment.

And because biofuels are a renewable resource, countries may be able to produce their own fuel needs if not minimize their dependence on oil being supplied by other countries. But in order to produce great amounts of biofuels for use in the different industries, their must be an extensive supply of raw materials (plants) to create them. This is where biotechnology comes in.

Scientists may be able to genetically modify plants such as corn and other crops to produce more ethanol than usual. This allows for more biofuel production that will enable the biofuel industry to become more viable. One way that this can be done is by genetically modify plants to minimize the amount of lingin that they produce. Lingin is the substance that helps keep plants grow upright but also interferes somehow with the cellulose to ethanol process. Improving genetically modified crops to allow for the production of ethanol might just be what fuel hungry countries need in order to provide additional if not an alternative fuel source for the different industries that they have.

But there are also other concerns that may crop up if the biofuel industry and the use GM plants were to continue and widen their opportunities. By requiring more plantations of such biofuel crops, some people may get concerned about the amount of forest cover that may be displaced when they are to become farms. Another concern might be how such GM plants may have chances to contaminate those that are being raised for human consumption.

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