Page Banner

United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


Location: Sugarcane Field Station

Title: Improving Sugarcane for Biofuel: Engineering for an even better feedstock

item Lam, Eric
item Shine, James
item Da Silva, Jorge
item Lawton, Michael
item Bonos, Stacy
item Calvino, Martin
item Carrer, Helaine
item Castro Silva F, Marcio
item Glynn, Neil
item Helsel, Zane
item Ma, Jiong
item Richard Jr, Edward
item Souza, Glaucia
item Ming, Ray

Submitted to: Global Change Biology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/28/2009
Publication Date: 7/14/2009
Citation: Lam, E., Shine, J., Da Silva, J., Lawton, M., Bonos, S., Calvino, M., Carrer, H., Castro Silva F, M., Glynn, N.C., Helsel, Z., Ma, J., Richard Jr, E.P., Souza, G., Ming, R. 2009. Improving Sugarcane for Biofuel: Engineering for an even better feedstock. Global Change Biology. J. 1: 251-255. 2009

Interpretive Summary: This paper summarizes the findings of a two day meeting held at Rutgers University in October 2008 between scientists from the US and Brazil who are either involved or interested in biofuel feedstock research. Several important areas for biofuel feedstock research were identified. These included both traditional methods and the utilization of molecular genetic approaches involving information from translational research from other grasses and model organisms. The development of novel technologies as well as improvements in phenotypic evaluation and educational programs that incorporate crop physiological research in sugarcane were also identified as important priorities.

Technical Abstract: Sugarcane is a proven biofuel feedstock and accounts for about half the biofuel production worldwide. It has a more favorable energy input/output ratio than that of corn, the other major biofuel feedstock. The rich resource of genetic diversity and the plasticity of autopolyploid genomes offer a wealth of opportunities for the application of genomics and technologies to address fundamental questions in sugarcane towards maximizing biomass production. This Research areas and emerging technologies were identified that could have significant impact on sugarcane improvement. Traditional plant physiological studies and standardized phenotypic characterization of sugarcane are essential for dissecting the developmental processes and patterns of gene expression in this complex polyploid species. Breeder friendly DNA markers associated with target traits will enhance selection efficiency and shorten the long breeding cycles. Integration of cold tolerance from Saccharum spontanium and Miscanthus has the potential to expand the geographical range of sugarcane production from tropical and subtropical regions to temperate zones. The Flex-stock and mix-stock concepts could be solutions for sustaining local biorefineries where no single biofuel feedstock could provide consistent year-round supplies. The ever increasing capacities of genomics and biotechnologies pave the way for fully exploring these potentials to optimize sugarcane for biofuel production.

Last Modified: 10/18/2017
Footer Content Back to Top of Page