When temperatures drop, Siberian Miscanthus plants surpass main bioenergy variety

ScienceDaily | 2/26/2019 | Staff
bluelilly (Posted by) Level 3
"When an arctic vortex hits, we have the luxury to bundle up and stay indoors," said Stephen Long, the Ikenberry Endowed University Chair of Crop Sciences and Plant Biology at Illinois' Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology. "Miscanthus stays in the ground year-round, and in the spring, regrows from belowground stems to produce biomass that can be turned into a sustainable source for bioenergy and bioproducts -- but to survive, it has to withstand and remain productive in a wide range of weather conditions including chilling temperatures between 15 -- 0 °C [59 -- 32 °F]."

Today, a sterile clone of the hybrid of Miscanthus sacchariflorus and Miscanthus sinensis called Miscanthus x giganteus 'Illinois' is considered one of the best bioenergy feedstocks available due to its ability to thrive on marginal land, withstand chilling temperatures, and produce 59 percent more biomass than corn. Its sterility prevents it from producing viable seed and becoming invasive but also means it cannot be used to breed new lines. This requires new hybridizations of the parent lines, which provides the opportunity to add more chilling tolerance.

Scientists - Illinois - US - Department - Agriculture

Scientists from Illinois, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and Russia's N.I. Vavilov Research Institute of Plant Industry (VIR) led an expedition to Eastern Siberia, the coldest region where Miscanthus grows, to find wild populations of M. sacchariflorus that could be used to breed improved...
(Excerpt) Read more at: ScienceDaily
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