Environmental exposure of plants bioengineered to improve efficiencies of biofuel production is an important consideration for their adoption. High-amylase maize genetically engineered to produce thermostable alpha-amylase in seed endosperm is currently in development, and its successful adoption will entail > 1000 km(2) of annual production in the USA. Environmental exposure of thermostable amylase will occur in production fields from preharvest and harvest dropped grain, with minor additional contributions from stover and root biomass. Mass loadings of thermostable alpha-amylase are projected to be 16kg km(-2) and represent a potential source of increased alpha-amylase activity in receiving soils. An understanding of the degradation, persistence, accumulation, and activity of thermostable alpha-amylase introduced from transgenic high-amylase maize will be necessary in order to effectively manage transgenic crop systems intended or biofeedstock production. (c) 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.