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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: IMPROVED FORAGE AND BIOENERGY PLANTS AND TECHNOLOGIES FOR THE CENTRAL USA

Location: Grain, Forage & Bioenergy Research

Title: Discovering Traits Controlling Winter-hardiness and Spring Regrowth in Diverse Switchgrass Germplasm

Authors
item Sarath, Gautam
item Vogel, Kenneth
item Tobias, Christian
item Soundararajan, M -
item Twigg, Paul -
item Saathoff, Aaron
item Okada, Miki

Submitted to: Biotechnology for Fuels and Chemicals Symposium Proceedings
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: April 19, 2010
Publication Date: April 19, 2010
Citation: Sarath, G., Vogel, K.P., Tobias, C.M., Soundararajan, M., Twigg, P., Saathoff, A.J., Okada, M. 2010. Discovering Traits Controlling Winter-hardiness and Spring Regrowth in Diverse Switchgrass Germplasm. Abstract presented at Biotechnology for Fuels and Chemicals Symposium Proceedings April 19-22, 2010 in Clearwater, FL. Not published anywhere else.

Interpretive Summary: Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.) is a perennial bioenergy plant that needs to survive both repeated harvests and harsh winters experienced in the Central and Northern USA. The plant traits that control winter-hardiness are not known, but will be critical to the future development of cold-tolerant, high yielding cultivars. This project aims to use novel tools and techniques to understand the genetic, physiological and biochemical factors underlying winter hardiness, and uncover traits that are associated with these processes.

Technical Abstract: Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.) is a perennial bioenergy plant that needs to survive both repeated harvests and harsh winters experienced in the Central and Northern USA. The plant traits that control winter-hardiness are not known, but will be critical to the future development of cold-tolerant, high yielding cultivars. We have been funded through the Joint DOE-USDA granting program to uncover genes and metabolites and C and N recycling in diverse switchgrass germplasm. The objectives of this project are (Obj. 1) To use 454 sequencing, metabolite profiles and stable-isotopes to investigate molecular mechanisms underpinning nutrient partitioning and remobilization in crowns and rhizomes of 5 different strains of switchgrass plants that differ in their cold-hardiness and fitness. Preliminary data from initial 454 sequencing and 13C-labeling experiments currently underway will be presented. (Obj. 2) To use HTS to query transcript abundance (levels of gene expression) in specific populations of switchgrass plants during regreening and dormancy. We will use HTS and bioinformatics to discover additional genes impacting fitness using individual plants from switchgrass populations divergently selected over ~30 years for ruminant digestibility that differ significantly for winter survival. (Obj.3) To study the genetic variation (extent of linkage disequilibrium in populations) and eventually develop genetic markers for cold-adaptation and fitness traits in switchgrass plants being developed for Central and Northern USA that show significant hybrid vigor (heterosis), using over 2000 plants from various genetic backgrounds have been planted in the field for these analyses. Some preliminary data collected during 2009 and early 2010 will be presented.

Last Modified: 9/10/2014