Lincoln, Neb. — Mark Wilkins, professor of biological systems engineering and food science and technology at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, has been named Nebraska Corn Checkoff Presidential Chair.
The Nebraska Corn Board made a $2 million commitment to the University of Nebraska Foundation in 2014 to establish the permanently endowed chair. The endowment provides annual support to the university’s Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources for research and development related to corn demand.
IAPC Director, Dr. Mark Wilkins, was recently awarded a UNL-SPRINT project entitled "Development of lignin active enzyme mixture to produce sugars from lignocellulosic biomass for production of fuels, chemicals and bio-based materials."
The UNL-SPRINT program is jointly administered by Nebraska and the São Paulo Research Foundation and funds research collaborations between researchers at Nebraska and research institutions in the State of São Paulo in Brazil. Dr. Wilkins will be working with Dr. Fernando Segato from the University of São Paulo on the project.
Dr. Sibel Irmak, Research Associate Professor of Biological Systems Engineering, and Samuel Wortman, Assistant Professor of Agronomy & Horticulture will lead the project in collaboration with Loren Isom, Assistant Director, Industrial Agricultural Products Center. Dr. Irmak and her colleagues will develop biodegradable mulch film formulations based on blends of various renewable raw materials for application to specialty crops such as, tomatoes and peppers in greenhouse and agricultural field trials. Which will evaluate protection from common weed infestations.
Nebraska researcher Yiqi Yang is using the byproducts of sorghum as a colorant for textiles. The Charles Bessey Professor of biological systems engineering and of texiles, merchandising and fashion design is using wool to start his research, but hopes that in the future sorghum can be used on other textiles and throughout many industries.
On June 7, the Nebraska Corn Board awarded two Industrial Agricultural Products Center (IAPC) researchers grants for research projects seeking to develop new uses for corn. Dr. Mark Wilkins, Professor of Biological Systems Engineering and Food Science and Technology and the Director of the IAPC will lead the project “Development of a succinic acid production process using corn fiber.” Wilkins will collaborate with Dr.
Former IAPC Director and Professor Emeritus, Dr. Milford Hanna, and UNL alumnus Pratik Bahndari (PhD 2012) were recently awarded a patent entitled “Method for the production of substituted polysaccharides via reactive extrusion.” For more information on the technology and potential licensing opportunities, please contact Dr. Mauricio Suarez at NUTech Ventures (firstname.lastname@example.org, 703-940-9330) and/or click here.