6 October 2015

A PLANT used to make tequila could be good for something other than a hangover, University of Adelaide research shows.

AGAVE produces large amounts of sugar that can be fermented into bioethanol, Associate Professor Rachel Burton says.

Research from crop trials in South Australia’s Whyalla and regional Queensland suggest whole plants could yield between 4000 and 15,000 litres of ethanol per hectare per year.

“Bioethanol yields from agave fermentation could rival the most successful biofuel feedstock crops around the world,” Prof Burton said on Tuesday.

“Importantly, it doesn’t compete with food crops. It’s fast growing, so the whole plant could be used rather than just harvesting the leaves.

“And it is up to 10 times more water efficient than some other crop plants.”

Agave sugar could also be used in place of fossil fuels in the production of paints, plastics and high-value chemicals.

The chiefly Mexican native is more traditionally used to produce mezcal, of which tequila is one of the best-known forms.

Extracted in full from The Australian.