Submitted to: Agronomy Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: September 1, 2002
Publication Date: November 1, 2002
Citation: Vogel, K.P. 2002. Switchgrass germplasm: status and utilization for bioenergy and forage. Agronomy Abstracts. In Annual Meeting Abstracts [CD-ROM] ASA, CSSA, SSA. Madison, WI. Technical Abstract: Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.) is a native warm-season perennial grass that was native to prairies and grasslands of North America east of the Rocky Mountains. It has been identified as a primary species for development into a biomass energy crop. It also is being increasingly used as a pasture species in the Midwest. Access to germplasm is critical to the expanding use of this species. Although much of the prairies were plowed and converted into cropland, numerous remnant prairies are being preserved by an array of public and private agencies and organizations. Preserved remnant prairies serve as an 'in situ' germplasm source. Switchgrass is cross-pollinated by wind and it is largely self-incompatible which makes purity maintenance during seed increase and regeneration difficult. Switchgrass also has two ploidy levels and two main ecotypes (lowland and upland) that represent two distinct heterosis groups. Crosses between ploidy levels usually do not produce viable seed. Germplasm composite populations representing ecoregions and plant hardiness zones may be the most effective method of preserving and utilizing switchgrass germplasm. Separate lowland and upland composites need to be maintained. Plant geneticists are currently in the process of developing and releasing composite populations for use in future breeding programs.