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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: GENETIC ENHANCEMENT AND MANAGEMENT OF WARM SEASON GRASS SPECIES FOR FORAGE AND ALTERNATIVE USES
2008 Annual Report


1a.Objectives (from AD-416)
To develop and evaluate bermudagrass, napiergrass, pearl millet, and rhizoma peanut for forage production and for alternative uses in the southeastern U.S.; to enhance bioenergy production from warm-season grasses; and to apply molecular genetic technology to improve grass species adapted to the southeastern U.S.


1b.Approach (from AD-416)
Develop and select improved populations and germplasms of bermudagrass for forage, bioenergy, and turf; develop and select improved populations and germplasms of napiergrass for forage and bioenergy; develop and select improved populations, inbreds, and hybrids of pearl millet for forage, bioenergy, and wildlife; and select improved rhizoma peanut germplasms for forage. Evaluate genotype and production effects on ethanol production from pearl millet; assess genotypic differences in bermudagrasses, napiergrass, and pearl millet for conversion to fermentable product or through thermochemical techniques to syngas; and improve selection efficiency for superior forage and cellulosic feedstocks. Measure genetic diversity within bermudagrass, napiergrass, and pearl millet using molecular markers; and identify associations of molecular markers in bermudagrass and pearl millet with traits important for forage or alternative uses.


3.Progress Report
This project supports National Program 215 Action Plan (Rangeland, Pasture, and Forages Program Direction), Component 3, Objective H.2: Develop improved grass and forage legume germplasm and varieties that can be more efficiently converted into livestock, bioenergy, and bioproducts that can be produced in a variety of environments. Activities focused on the genetic improvement of pearl millet, napiergrass, and rhizome peanut for forage, bioenergy, and alternative uses. Bermudagrass populations were established for recurrent selection for yield and for mapping cell wall traits. Field trials were established to evaluated bermudagrass for differences in nitrogen-use efficiency, and for shade tolerance for agroforestry settings. Cynodon dactylon genotypes were assessed for salinity tolerance. A bioassay was conducted to assess genetic variation in bermudagrass for fall armyworm. Bermudagrassess were assessed for differences in in vitro dry matter disappearance, lignocellulosic conversion, and ethanol production, and equations for near infrared spectrometry assessment of quality were established. A napiergrass population for recurrent selection for yield was established. Pearl millet breeding populations were evaluated for traits contributing to yield and quality. New accessions for the A5 cytoplasmic male sterility system were acquired and increased in quarantine. A field experiment was conducted to assess nitrogen use efficiency in staygreen pearl millets. Low temperature germination study was conducted to evaluate genetic variation in pearl millet. Multilocation yield trials were conducted to assess genotype by environment interaction for proximate composition and fermentation to ethanol. No-till practices were evaluated to improve production economics for pearl millet. Rhizoma peanut experiment was established to assess winterhardiness. Genetic polymorphisms in bermudagrass and pearl millet and bermudagrass were assessed by Amplified Fragment Length Polymorphism (AFLP) and Simple Sequence Repeat (SSR) markers, and a mapping population of pearl millet was characterized in field assessments.


4.Accomplishments
1. TifQuik bahiagrass is licensed. Bahiagrass is an important forage grass in low-input production settings in the south, but newly seeded pastures require up to 5 months before they can be grazed or cut for hay. TifQuik bahiagrass has faster germination, reduced weeds in establishment, and can be cut for hay 4-5 weeks earlier than other varieties. Three licenses have been granted seed production and sales of the variety. Foundation seed has been produced and distributed to other licensees. TifQuik will be on the market in time for 2008 fall seeding. This accomplishment supports National Program 215 Action Plan (Rangeland, Pasture, and Forages Program Direction), Component 2, Problem Statement D: Need for appropriate plant materials to improve the economic viability and enhance the environment in pasture-based livestock systems.

2. First pre-emergence herbicide option for pearl millet is registered. Annual weeds, and particularly grass weeds, are serious pests of a pearl millet crop. In collaborative studies, mesotrione was identified as an effective pre-emergence herbicide for control of annual grasses in pearl millet. Because of these studies, Callisto was registered for use on pearl millet by Syngenta in January 2008. This is the first herbicide that is registered for pre-emergence control of annual grass weeds in this crop. This accomplishment supports National Program 215 Action Plan (Rangeland, Pasture, and Forages Program Direction), Component 2, Problem Statement D: Need for appropriate plant materials to improve the economic viability and enhance the environment in pasture-based livestock systems.


5.Significant Activities that Support Special Target Populations
None


6.Technology Transfer

Number of the New MTAs (providing only)7
Number of Invention Disclosures Submitted2
Number of New Germplasm Releases1
Number of Non-Peer Reviewed Presentations and Proceedings23

Review Publications
Anderson, W.F., Akin, D.E. 2008. Structural and chemical properties of grass lignocelluloses related to conversion for biofuels. Journal of Industrial Microbiology & Biotechnology. 35:355-366.

Anderson, W.F., Dien, B.S., Brandon, S.K., Peterson, J. 2008. Assessment of bermudagrass and bunch grasses as feedstock for conversion to ethanol. Applied Biochemistry and Biotechnology. 145(1-3):13-21.

Brandon, S.K., Anderson, W.F., Eiteman, M.A., Patel, K., Richbourg, M.M., Miller, D.J., Peterson, J.D. 2008. Hydrolysis of Tifton 85 bermudagrass in a pressurized batch hot water reactor. Journal of Chemical Technology & Biotechnology. 83:505-512.

Burton, G.W., Anderson, W.F., Gates, R.N. 2008. Registration of higher herbage Pensacola bahiagrass germplasm lines T18 and T23. Journal of Plant Registrations. 2:51-52.

Hanna, W.W., Anderson, W.F. 2008. Development and Impact of Vegetative Propagation in Warm-Season Forage and Turf Grasses. Agronomy Journal. 100:103-107.

Jurjevic, Z., Wilson, J.P., Wilson, D.M., Casper, H.H. 2007. Changes in Fungi and Mycotoxins in Pearl Millet Under Controlled Storage Conditions. Mycopathologia. 164:229-239.

Buntin, G.D., Cunfer, B.M., Phillips, D.V., Wilson, J.P. 2007. Sequence and rotation effects on pest incidence and grain yield of double-cropped soybean and pearl millet after wheat and canola. Online. Crop Management doi:10.1094/CM-2007-1023-01-RS.

Nutsugah, S.K., Wilson, J.P. 2007. Development of a reliable inoculation technique to assess resistance in pearl millet to Fusarium grain mold. Journal of SAT Agricultural Research 5(1). http://www.icrisat.org/Journal/volume5/News/News5.pdf

Wilson, J.P., Mcaloon, A.J., Yee, W.C., Mckinney, J., Wang, D., Bean, S. 2007. Biological and Economic Feasibility of Pearl Millet as a Feedstock for Ethanol Production. In: Janick, J., and Whipkey, A. (Eds.) Issues in New Crops and New Uses. ASHS Press. Alexandria, VA. p. 56-59.

Gulia, S.K., Wilson, J.P., Carter, J., Singh, B.P. 2007. Progress in Grain Pearl Millet Research and Market Development. In: Janick, J., and Whipkey, A. (Eds.) Issues in New Crops and New Uses. ASHS Press. Alexandria, VA. p. 196-203.

Wilson, J.P., Sanogo, M., Nutsugah, S.K., Angarawai, I., Fofana, A., Traore, H., Ahmadou, I., Muuka, F.P. 2008. Evaluation of pearl millet for yield and downy mildew resistance across seven countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. African Journal of Agricultural Research. 3:371-378.

Last Modified: 11/20/2014
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