Harry Hart understands that traditional crops, corn and tobacco, can no longer sustain his family farm. In fields that once lay fallow in the winter, Hart now cultivates the cool-weather canola plant, whose seeds are rich in oil. In his own backyard, Hart extracts the oil and mixes it with methanol and a catalyst in 50-gallon drums to produce a clean-burning biodiesel fuel that runs his tractors. As a result, Hart no longer bristles at the wildly vacillating prices at the gas pump in his rural southeastern town of Bolton, NC.

Beyond Hart's use of canola oil, a range of new industries in North Carolina comes from the state's land or sea. In the mountains, natural fauna promise anticancer properties. At the coast, marine biologists use algal compounds to treat cystic fibrosis....

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