EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) -- Researchers at Michigan State University are working to turn the rutabaga into an oil-producing powerhouse that could make the turnip-like vegetable a better source of biofuel than other food crops.
The idea is that the rutabaga, which stores oil in its seeds like some other biofuel crops, could be genetically modified to churn out more oil and store it throughout the plant. Professor Christoph Benning is leading the research.
The rutabaga hasn't had much presence on U.S. dinner tables, an advantage in using it for biofuel. The use of corn, soybeans and other food crops for fuel instead of food has raised the specter of shortages, and some blame the biofuel boom for pushing up food prices.
Benning's research is one of many efforts nationally to get biofuel from sources other than major food crops.