Straw bales in field© Design Pics Inc/REX

The potential for producing bioethanol from straw and other crop residues has moved a step closer, according to research from the University of East Anglia (UEA).

See also: Triticale outyields wheat for bioethanol

It has identified five naturally occurring strains of yeast that are capable of turning by-products, such as straw, sawdust and maize cobs, into bioethanol, significantly improving the current complex and inefficient fermentation processes.

UEA estimates that more than 400bn litres of bioethanol could be produced each year from crop wastage.