Syngenta is working on a genetically engineered corn variety which contains amylase, an enzyme required to break starch down into sugars, a necessary step in fermenting corn into ethanol. Monsanto and Pioneer Hi-Bred are looking at ways to develop corn varieties which are better for ethanol production.
Despite this interest, corn is unlikely to meet the fuel needs of the US. Instead of starch, many people are looking to cellulose as a source of feedstock for ethanol production. Ceres and the Noble Foundation are looking at switchgrass in Oklahoma, while Mendel Biotechnology is looking at Miscanthus, a Chinese grass. (Read article)