Penn State Scientists Study Beetles for Cellulosic Ethanol Production

Philadelphia, PA (November 1, 2007)- Dr. Kelli Hoover, Associate Professor of Entomology at Pennsylvania State University, is leading research to determine the potential role of Asian Longhorned Beetles in the biofuel industry. The beetles, which measure 1-1.5 inches and have black shells with white specks, carry microbes in their guts that can break up lignin, the material that makes living trees hard. The cellulose left behind can be broken down further and then fermented into ethanol that has a higher net energy balance and reduces greenhouse gas emissions even more than does corn starch ethanol.

Asian Longhorned Beetles came to the United States in cargo shipments from China and were first discovered in New York in 1996. They can attack healthy maple, elm, willow, poplar and horse chestnut trees.
Related Resources:
Penn State Collegian
U.S DOE Energy Efficiency and Renewal Energy