Current News

Iowa Grain Quality Initiative Begins Life-Saving Research in Rwanda

Iowa Grain Quality Initiative (IGQI) is embarking on a project in Rwanda assessing the impact of mycotoxins – toxic chemicals produced by fungi found in food crops. The program will sample and test animal feed grains in Rwanda and is slated to begin mid-March. Little research has been undertaken on this issue in Rwanda, and the hope is to gain knowledge needed to apply solutions in the future. Read More»

Effect of high voltage atmospheric cold plasma on white grape juice quality

From Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture

Kevin Keener, CCUR director, and his team's research on the effects of high voltage atmospheric cold plasma (HVACP) processing on the quality of grape juice was published in the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture. Read More»

Bioplastics for the Green Industry Team presented with an award at CALS Spring Awards Program

Iowa State University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences presented awards to faculty and staff March 9. The Team Award went to the Bioplastics for the Green Industry Team. This CCUR-affiliated interdisciplinary team has made significant contributions through research, extension and graduate education to improve the sustainability of specialty crop production. The team members include: William Graves, associate dean of the graduate college; Chris Currey, assistant professor of horticulture; David Grewell, professor of agricultural and biosystems engineering; Darren Jarboe, CCUR program manager; Kurt Rosentrater, associate professor of agricultural and biosystems engineering; and James Schrader, associate scientist in horticulture. Read More»

Iowa State spinoff sees small towns using algae to clean water

From Des Moines Register

Two Iowa State University scientists believe algae can help cut costs for hundreds of small Iowa towns that face up to $1 billion to upgrade their wastewater treatment to meet tougher clean water standards. Article features CCUR's Darren Jarboe, Martin Gross and Zhiyou Wen. Read More»

Iowa State University Improves Algae Technology to Treat Wastewater for Communities and Businesses

Iowa State University technology that improves the efficiency of wastewater reclamation using algae has gotten the attention of small Iowa communities and the largest wastewater treatment system in the world. Read More»

Grease lightening: Trans-fat-free soybean oil produced

Researchers, including CCUR Director Kevin Kener, have developed a novel processing technology that prepares soybean oil without producing unhealthy trans-fats, which they say could help reformulation efforts. The technique called high-voltage atmospheric cold plasma (HVACP) hydrogenation relies on a high-voltage electrical current to split hydrogen molecules. Read More»

Keener combines science with practice to bring increased value to bio-based economy

Kevin Keener is a professor in food science and human nutrition who serves as director of Iowa State University’s Center for Crops Utilization Research (CCUR) and BioCentury Research Farm (BCRF). He uses today’s technology to help solve worldwide food and fuel challenges. Read More»

Ames biotech company gets $100,000 grant from USDA

From Ames Tribune

Gross-Wen Technologies, a biotechnology company based at the Iowa State University Research Park, is one of two Iowa companies to secure a share of $7.4 million in a new round of research and development grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Read More»

Workshop to Focus on the Use of Ultrasonics in the Food Processing Industry

Sound Solutions 2016
September 21-22 at Iowa State University

A workshop on ultrasonics and food processing will be held on Sept. 21-22 at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa. Attendees will learn about the use of ultrasonics in the food processing industry, including the fundamental principles of ultrasonics and how this technology is being applied to enhance food processing and food quality assurance. The workshop will help attendees determine if ultrasonics can improve their processes, products and profits.

The workshop is chaired by David Grewell, director of the Center for Bioplastics and Biocomposites and affiliate of the Center for Crops Utilization Research (CCUR). It will include tours of laboratories located at CCUR and the Center for Nondestructive Evaluation.

To register or for more information, visit www.ultrasonics.org/aws/UIA/pt/sp/midyear.


Modules Provide Education on Grain Handling, Storage Safety

With the goal of providing information and training on grain handling and storage safety, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach has produced a series of online learning modules. Developed through the Iowa Grain Quality Initiative, the no-cost learning modules can be used to train employees on current best practices. Read More»

Iowa State engineers develop micro-sized, liquid-metal particles for heat-free soldering

CCUR affiliate Martin Thuo, assistant professor of materials science and engineering, has led development of liquid-metal particles that can be used for heat-free soldering and other applications. Read More»

Retirement Reception for CCUR Affiliate Jay-lin Jane

Please join the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition for a retirement reception honoring CCUR affiliate Jay-lin Jane, Distinguished Professor, on Friday, April 29 from 2-5 p.m. at the Brunnier Art Museum, Scheman Building. A program will begin at 3 p.m. Read More

White paves the way for human scientists

Pamela White’s four decades of service at Iowa State University have helped the world to define what it means to be a human scientist. As a University Professor in food science and human nutrition who went on to become dean and Dean’s Chair of the College of Human Sciences, White leads by example in applying the science and technology of living and learning to expand human potential and improve people’s lives. Read More»

CCUR-BCRF April Affiliate Meeting Will Include Seminar and Student Poster Session

The next CCUR-BCRF affiliate meeting will be Thursday, April 7 at 1 p.m. in the CCUR Technology Transfer Theatre, 1951 Food Sciences Building. The meeting will include a presentation from new affiliate member Dirk Maier, professor of agricultural and biosystems engineering, and a student research poster session. Read More»

Call for Posters | 2016 Corn Utilization and Technology Conference

The 2016 Corn Utilization and Technology Conference will be held June 6-8 in St. Louis, MO. The CUTC has requested graduate student poster abstract submissions. If you have students interested in presenting corn-related research at the CUTC, see the “Posters” page for information needed to prepare the abstract.

Awards will be made to the top three student posters. The deadline for submission is April 15. The Iowa Corn Promotion Board has provided Iowa State’s Center for Crops Utilization Research (CCUR) with funding for at least 10 students to attend the CUTC. Please contact Darren Jarboe, jarboe@iastate.edu, 515-294-2342, if you have students interested in presenting a poster.

Upcoming Events

Debbie Mielewski from Ford Motor Company to Speak at Iowa State University on March 31

Debbie Mielewski from Ford Motor Company will present, "Returning to Our Roots: Inventing the Biobased Vehicle" on March 31 at 4:00 p.m. in Howe Hall. The seminar is co-sponsored by Bioeconomy Institute, Center for Bioplastics and Biocomposites, Center for Crops Utilization Research, Committee on Lectures and Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering. Download the flyer for more information.

Biotech Innovation Showcase and Partnering for Growth Forum is March 30-31

The Biotech Innovation Showcase and Partnering for Growth Forum hosted by the Iowa Biotechnology Association will be held March 30-31 at the FFA Enrichment Center in Ankeny Iowa. The showcase will be held on March 30 and is an investor conference that joins innovators, inventors and investors together to present and discuss the development of biofuels and biomaterials and advances in food, agriculture and plant genetics. The forum will be held March 31 and will focus on multiple biotech industries active in the state of Iowa. For more information or to register, visit www.iowabio.org.

20th Annual Distillers Grains Symposium is May 18-19

The Distillers Grains Technology Council will be holding its annual educational and outreach symposium May 18-19 in St. Louis, Mo. Topics will include economics, marketing, exports, quality, processing changes and animal nutrition. The intended audience is livestock producers and nutritionists, ethanol plants, beverage alcohol plants and commodity traders. More information can be found at the symposium's web site. The Distillers Grains Technology Council is housed at Iowa State University. CCUR affiliate Kurt Rosentrater, associate professor of agricultural and biosystems engineering, is the council's executive director.


Cedar Rapids, ISU Partnership promotes innovation and economic development

From Cedar Rapids Gazette, Feb. 13, 2016

Cedar Rapids Gazette guest columnist Jeffery Pomeranz, Cedar Rapids City Manager, talks about the ISU-Cedar Rapids partnership and the ongoing interactions between CCUR's David Freeman, program liaison, and Cedar Rapids bioprocessing companies. Read More>>

Raising Iowa's Cheese Profile

From College of Human Sciences, Feb. 8, 2016

CCUR affiliate Stephanie Clark, an associate professor in food science and human nutrition, is one of the state’s leaders in promoting Iowa cheese. Her efforts were key in bringing an international cheese conference to Iowa, forming a new guild that connects the state’s dairy professionals and co-founding a statewide dairy products showcase. Read More>>

Where Did Your Egg Come From?

From Slate, Feb. 9, 2016

CCUR director Kevin Keener is quoted in a recent Slate article about trace-back technology in the food industry. Read More>>

Seminar: Addressing Food Security Through Research and Outreach in Grain-based Food and Feed Processing — Dirk Maier

THE SEMINAR HAS BEEN POSTPONED. A NEW DATE WILL BE POSTED LATER.

Dirk Maier, a professor in agricultural and biosystems engineering, will present "Addressing Food Security Through Research and Outreach in Grain-based Food and Feed Processing." The event is free and open to the public. The Center for Crops Utilization Research (CCUR) will co-host this food science and human nutrition seminar.

Alternate Uses of Soybeans Topic of Speech at CCUR

A chemical engineer who specializes in the commercialization of bio-based products will speak about industrial uses of soybeans Dec. 1 at Iowa State University. Lee Walko, bio-based business development manager at Omni Tech International Ltd., will present, “Soybean Usage in Paints and Coatings” at 3 p.m. in the Center for Crops Utilization Research Technology Transfer Theater, Room 1951 of the Food Sciences Building. The event is free and open to the public. Read More>>

Hurburgh analyzes grain quality, storage options

The moderate fall temperatures mean this year’s crop will likely have good storage qualities.
With the wet summer weather, there was some uncertainty about how this year’s grain would mature. “I was skeptical,” says Charles Hurburgh, Iowa State University grain quality specialist and professor in agricultural and biosystems engineering. He credits the moderate temperatures for finishing the crop. Read More>>

Hurburgh: Enhanced ISO 22000 guide translates food safety management standards for grain handlers, processors

AACC International has developed the User’s Guide to ISO 22000 Food Safety Management System for the Grain Handling, Processing, Milling, and Baking Industries, a premier association of the cereal sciences, and licensed by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). CCUR affiliate Charles Hurburgh is member of the AACCI Food Safety Task Force, which developed this publication. Read More>>

Food Scientist to Lead Iowa State University Research Centers

The new director of the Center for Crops Utilization Research and the BioCentury Research Farm at Iowa State University will be Kevin Keener, most recently a professor of food science and agricultural and biological engineering at Purdue University. Read More>>

New Liaison To Connect Iowa State University Research with Cedar Rapids’ Processing Companies

Iowa State University has hired a food scientist to lead a new collaboration with Cedar Rapids and its agricultural, food and bioprocessing companies. David Freeman is a graduate of the food technology program at Iowa State and has industry experience with DuPont Industrial Biosciences in Cedar Rapids and Grain Processing Corp. in Muscatine. He began his duties in August. Read More>>

Trace heavy metals in plastics pose no immediate food safety threat but may lead to long-term environmental problems, according to ISU food science researcher

The trace amounts of toxic substances used to make plastics don’t contaminate the food or beverage products they contain at a significant level and pose no immediate threat to consumers, according to recent Iowa State University research. But the plastics may create environmental problems years after they’ve been used. Read More>>

Program Coordinator Position Available at Center for Bioplastics and Biocomposites

The Center for Bioplastics and Biocomposites is seeking candidates for the program coordinator position responsible for managing the daily operations of the center, organizing progress reports, managing budgets and preparing financial reports, organizing bi-annual meetings and workshops of the center, editing research proposals and progress reports, serving as liaison to industrial advisory board, and supporting the recruitment of potential industry members. View Position Details >>

Transformational Discoveries at Iowa State Fuel a New Generation of Innovation

Iowa State University Destination 2050 - Office of the President

Iowa State University research is discovering new compounds and ingredients from plants that will fuel inventions of products from materials that don’t exist today, improve the environment, and invigorate American manufacturing. Read More >>

Faculty and Staff Invited to Attend CCUR Candidate Seminars

The search committee for the director of the Center for Crops Utilization Research and the BioCentury Research Farm has scheduled campus interviews for three candidates. Faculty and staff are invited to attend the public seminars of the candidates, who will each present on the topic, “Vision for Food-Fuel-Biomaterials Research.” All seminars will be held in Room 1951, Food Sciences Building (the CCUR Theatre). The search will replace Larry Johnson, who is retiring.

  • James Wynn, Director of Bio-based Technology De-risking, MBI International, Lansing, Mich. – April 20, 10 to 11 a.m.
  • Kevin Keener, Professor of Food Science, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Ind. – April 23, 10 to 11 a.m.
  • Joseph Rich, Research Leader, Renewable Product Technology, USDA=ARS, Peoria, Ill. – April 27, 10 to 11 a.m.

For more information, contact search committee co-chairs Ruth MacDonald, ruthmacd@iastate.edu, or Joe Colletti, Colletti@iastate.edu.

Retirement Reception for Director Larry Johnson

April 24, 2015
1:30-4:00 p.m., Program starting at 2:00 p.m.
Campanile Room, Iowa State University Memorial Union

Distillers Grains Symposium Set for May 13 and 14

The Distillers Grains Technology Council, based at Iowa State University, will host its annual scientific meeting next month in Kansas City, Missouri. Read More >>

Iowa State University Researchers Make Fish Food from Iowa Agricultural Commodities

CCUR affiliate Kurt Rosentrater, assistant professor of agricultural and biosystems engineering, is studying how food derived from corn and soy can be used in aquaculture, or the cultivation of aquatic species like fish. Read More >>

Renewable Materials Research Gets Government, Industry Funding

Iowa Public Radio - December 11, 2014

David Grewell was interviewed by Iowa Public Radio about the new Center for Bioplastics and Biocomposites and its research projects. Read More >>

ISU to Lead New Center for Bioplastics and Biocomposites

A partnership among universities, industry and government, the Center for Bioplastics and Biocomposites or CB2 will be led by Iowa State University and funded through industry and National Science Foundation support. The center will be housed in and supported by the Center for Crops Utilization Research. Read More >>

Iowa State University Researchers Hope to Make Bioplastic Adhesives Stick in the Marketplace

CCUR faculty affiliates are working to prove that adhesives made from a byproduct of biodiesel production can offer consumers a cheaper, more environmentally friendly alternative to the acrylic adhesives currently on the market. Read More >>

ISU Professors Develop 'World's Purest' Vodka

Iowa State Daily

CCUR affiliates Hans van Leeuwen and Jacek Koziel develop purified vodka that is fully produced in Iowa with Iowa corn and by Iowa entrepreneurs. Read More >>

Q&A with Kurt Rosentrater, Distillers Grains Technology Council

From Biofuels Journal (Digital Edition)

CCUR affiliate Kurt Rosentrater, executive director and chief executive officer of the Distillers Grains Technology Council, answers questions from Biofuels Journal about the future of DGTC. Read More >>

Iowa Public Radio: Hunger Help from the Heartland

Kurt Rosentrater, assistant professor of agricultural and biosystems engineering, was featured on a recent Iowa Public Radio segement. It highlighted his work on producing nutritious and reliable aquaculture feed, which in turn means providing protein-rich food to more people. Listen at Iowa Public Radio>>

Iowa Public Radio: Hunger Help from the Heartland

Kurt Rosentrater, assistant professor of agricultural and biosystems engineering, was featured on a recent Iowa Public Radio segement. It highlighted his work on producing nutritious and reliable aquaculture feed, which in turn means providing protein-rich food to more people. Listen at Iowa Public Radio>>

From Energy to Food and Back Again

Funded by a grant from the Leopold Center’s Cross-Cutting Initiative, Stephanie Jung has found that the sugars, starches and fibers in food waste can be broken down and fermented into bioethanol using just a dose of yeast, some warmth and enzymes. Read More >>

Distillers Grains Symposium Set for May 14 and 15

The Distillers Grains Technology Council, based at Iowa State University, will host its annual scientific meeting this May in Irving, Texas. Read More >>

Schnable to Lead Iowa State’s Plant Sciences Institute

Patrick Schnable, Charles F. Curtiss Distinguished Professor in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, has been named director of the Plant Sciences Institute at Iowa State University, effective Feb. 1. Read More >>

Iowa State Faculty Member to Head Distillers Grains Technology Council

The Distillers Grains Technology Council has named Kurt Rosentrater, an assistant professor of agricultural and biosystems engineering at Iowa State University, to be its executive director and chief executive officer. Read More >>

Iowa State Integrates Science with Apparel Design, Product Development

A cadre of Iowa State University researchers is emerging on the national scene with its work of integrating science and technology with design — helping to improve apparel for law enforcement and others. The article features BBRT members Cheryl Farr and Chunhui Xiang. Read More >>

Iowa State Building Research and Development Program for Bioplastics

Kenny McCabe and James Schrader grabbed two pots of marigolds and placed them on a greenhouse bench. On the left, in a pot made from a biorenewable mix of soy protein and polylactic acid, was a thick plant with three orange-gold blooms and four buds about to pop, its leaves a rich and dark green. Read More >>

Algae Facility Featured in The Furrow Magazine (page 22)

There’s a new algae production facility at Iowa State University’s BioCentury Research Farm, located near Boone, where researchers are probing the possibilities of this new crop. Read More >>

Field Day on Aug. 30 will include Tours at the BioCentury Research Farm

The Iowa State University Agricultural Engineering/Agronomy Research Farm, rural Boone, will hold a cover crop and corn production field day Aug. 30. The free event runs from 9 a.m. to noon and includes a lunch following the program. The public is invited to attend. Following lunch, the ISU BioCentury Research Farm will offer tours of the facility and Iowa Learning Farms will demonstrate the Conservation Station. Read More >>

ISU Professor: Fungus will Feed Developing Countries One Day

Hans van Leeuwen has mobilized a new weapon in the fight against world hunger: fungus. The Iowa State University professor has been harvesting leftover material in farmers’ ethanol production, called thin stillage, and introducing fungal species to create a food product that has been fed to pigs and, eventually, he says it will feed people from developing countries. Read More >>

New ISU Production Facility Delivers Made-to-order Algae

A new algae production facility at Iowa State University makes use of an innovative design that’s attracting interest from other universities and private industry. The algal production facility, which was built inside a greenhouse on the BioCentury Research Farm in rural Boone, went online in January and has been filling orders for algae researchers ever since. Read More >>

Researchers Charting Health Benefits of Slowly Digested Starches

Researchers at Iowa State University are mapping the potentially far-reaching health benefits of starches that take extra time to digest. Read more>>

Algal Production Facility Open House - May 16

The BioCentury Research Farm will host an open house to showcase its new Algal Production Facility on May 16. Read more>>

Second Annual Hybrid Processing Symposium to be Held May 15-16

Iowa State University’s Hybrid Processing group is hosting the second annual Hybrid Processing for Biorenewable Fuels & Chemicals Production Symposium at Reiman Gardens, May 15-16 in Ames, Iowa. Symposium web site>>

VIDEO: BioCentury Research Farm Attends the 2013 ISU Day at the Capitol

The BioCentury Research Farm had a display at the 2013 ISU Day at the capitol on February 25. More than a dozen exhibits were set up around the rotunda of the capitol for legislators, staff and other elected officials to learn more about Iowa State University.
View video from News Service >>

Researcher Works to Improve Economics of Feed Costs

Helping livestock producers cope with higher feed costs is a top priority for Iowa State University researcher Kurt Rosentrater in the Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering.
Read more >>

Game-Changing Research - Putting a Spin on Biocomposites

Michael Kessler's research on developing low-cost carbon fibers from lignin was featured in the September-October issue of Composites Manufacturing magazine as one of “six projects conducted on three continents that could one day affect billions of people.”
Read more on page 16>>

Q&A - Corn's Cruel Summer

Iowa State University’s resident grain quality expert Charlie Hurburgh looks at corn quality, corn genetics and the role ethanol will play in the future of corn through the lens of the most devastating drought in his memory. Read more>>

MacDonald Receives ASME Young Investigator Award

Erin MacDonald, assistant professor of mechanical engineering at Iowa State and affiliated researcher at the U.S. Department of Energy Ames Laboratory, recently received the ASME Design Automation Young Investigator Award. Read more>>

Iowa State Researchers Feed Pigs, Chickens High-protein Fungus Grown on Ethanol Leftovers

Initial studies show a fungus grown in the leftovers of ethanol production could be a good energy feed for pigs and chickens. In separate feeding trials, nursery pigs and chickens have eaten high-protein fungi that Hans van Leeuwen and other Iowa State University researchers have produced in a pilot plant that converts ethanol leftovers into food-grade fungi. Read more>>

Iowa State's Biofuels Simulator Featured in Safety Training Article

David Grewell's Interactive Biorefinery Operations Simulator was featured in Biodiesel Magazine. Read more>>

USDA Awards Iowa State Grant to Develope Biorenewable Plant Containers

Iowa State University has been awarded a grant by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to develop biorenewable and biodegradable containers for the specialty crop industry.
Read more>>

Iowa State Hybrid Lab Combines Technologies to Make Biorenewable Fuels and Products

The Hybrid Processing Laboratory located just inside the front door of Iowa State University's new Biorenewables Research Laboratory is increasingly busy. It's a place where researchers in biochemical and thermochemical sciences work together to develop technologies that produce biorenewable fuels and chemicals. Read more >>

Iowa State Engineer Scales Up Process that Could Improve Economics of Ethanol Production

Iowa State University's Hans van Leeuwen has moved his research team's award-winning idea for improving ethanol production from a laboratory to a pilot plant. Read more >>

Learn to Run a Biorefinery in a Virtual Control Room Developed by Iowa State Researchers

David Grewell flipped on the augers that carry corn from a truck to a biorefinery. Then, with a few more clicks of his computer mouse, he turned on the pumps that send grain all the way through an ethanol plant, from storage to hammer mill to slurry tanks to jet cooker to liquefaction, fermentation, distillation, water separation and ultimately to ethanol storage. Read more >>

Biofuels Digest 2010 Awards

The Digest recognizes Iowa State University as Institutional Research Facility of the Year .... Iowa State's BioCentury Research Farm provides researchers with the opportunity to integrate harvesting, transportation, storage, and processing, as well as test plant breeding, genomics, cropping systems, soil conservation and nutrient management. Read more >>

Iowa State Food Science Professor Honored by Cereal Chemist Association

Larry Johnson, Iowa State University professor of food science and human nutrition, has been presented the Applied Research Award by the American Association of Cereal Chemists (AACC). Read more >>

Academic Exchange Program Gives Students International Opportunities to Study Biorenewables

Oct. 1 is the deadline for seniors and graduate students to apply for an educational exchange program to study and research biorenewables, bioproducts and food processing in Europe this spring semester. Read more >>

CCUR Affiliates Awarded Grant to Develop Green-Chemicals for Oil Spill Clean Up

Finding greener methods to clean up the Gulf oil spill is the focus of a National Science Foundation (NSF) Rapid Response grant. The grant was awarded to two Iowa State University faculty members who are collaborating with scientists and engineers from Modular Genetics, Inc., Columbia University and Louisiana State University (LSU). Read more >>