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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Genetic Improvement of Switchgrass and Other Herbaceous Plants for Use As a Biomass Fuel Feedstocks

Authors
item Vogel, Kenneth
item Jung, Hans Joachim

Submitted to: Critical Reviews in Plant Sciences
Publication Type: Government Publication
Publication Acceptance Date: September 1, 2000
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: The economics and efficiency of the conversion of herbaceous biomass to liquid fuel could be significantly enhanced if feedstock quality could be genetically improved A review of research on breeding improved forages and the genetic systems controlling cell wall composition indicates that it should be highly feasible to genetically modify the feedstock quality of switchgrass and other herbaceous plants using both conventional and molecular breeding techniques. Effectiveness of breeding to modify herbage of switchgrass and other perennial and annual herbaceous species has already been demonstrated. The use of molecular markers and transformation technology will greatly enhance the capability of breeders to modify the plant structure and cell walls of herbaceous plants. It will be necessary to monitor gene flow to remnant wild populations of plants and have strategies available to curtail gene flow if it becomes a potential problem. It also will be necessary to monitor plant survival and long ter productivity as affected by genetic changes that improve forage quality. Breeding for improved feedstock quality will likely affect the rate of improvement of biomass production per acre. If the same level of resources are used, multi-trait breeding simply reduces the selection pressure and hence the breeding progress that can be made for a single trait. Review prepared as a White Paper for the U.S. Dept. of Energy (DOE).

Technical Abstract: The economics and efficiency of the conversion of herbaceous biomass to liquid fuel could be significantly enhanced if feedstock quality could be genetically improved A review of research on breeding improved forages and the genetic systems controlling cell wall composition indicates that it should be highly feasible to genetically modify the feedstock quality of switchgrass and other herbaceous plants using both conventional and molecular breeding techniques. Effectiveness of breeding to modify herbage of switchgrass and other perennial and annual herbaceous species has already been demonstrated. The use of molecular markers and transformation technology will greatly enhance the capability of breeders to modify the plant structure and cell walls of herbaceous plants. It will be necessary to monitor gene flow to remnant wild populations of plants and have strategies available to curtail gene flow if it becomes a potential problem. It also will be necessary to monitor plant survival and long ter productivity as affected by genetic changes that improve forage quality. Breeding for improved feedstock quality will likely affect the rate of improvement of biomass production per acre. If the same level of resources are used, multi-trait breeding simply reduces the selection pressure and hence the breeding progress that can be made for a single trait. Review prepared as a White Paper for the U.S. Dept. of Energy (DOE).

Last Modified: 10/24/2014
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