Submitted to: Biofuels
Publication Type: Review Article
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/2/2011
Publication Date: 9/1/2011
Citation: Xin, Z., Wang, M.L. 2011. Sorghum as a versatile feedstock for bioenergy production. Biofuels. 2(5):577-588.
Interpretive Summary: Sorghum is a versatile feedstock for grain, sugar, and biomass production. Excellent drought tolerance, wide adaptation, high water and nitrogen use efficiency could enable sorghum thrive on marginal lands that are not suitable for food production. Rich germplasm collections, diversity panels, and mutant populations facilitate the discovery of superior breeding lines and traits for improving biomass production and quality. Genome sequence, fine genetic maps, and transcriptome analysis tools aid the discovery of genes important for bioenergy production in sorghum and other bioenergy feedstocks.
Technical Abstract: World economy development, population increase, and urban expansion accelerate the depletion of naturally preserved energy (fossil fuel), reduction in arable land, and trend of global climate change. Bioenergy, the forms of energy produced from materials of living organisms, holds special promise in meeting the growing need for energy while reducing the negative impact of carbon release from burning fossil fuels. Biomass production, water and nitrogen uses, and tolerance to biotic and abiotic stress and low soil fertility are critical factors in the selection of ideal bioenergy feedstocks. As a C4 plant (with a high efficiency of photosynthesis, water use, and nitrogen use) capable of surviving hot, semi-arid environment, sorghum may stand out as a suitable versatile bioenergy feedstock. In this paper, the unique features of sorghum, available genetic and genomic resources, potentials and challenges as a feedstock for bioenergy production in the U.S. and China were reviewed.