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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Madison, Wisconsin » U.S. Dairy Forage Research Center » Dairy Forage Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #277266

Title: Genetic variability for biofuel traits in a circumglobal reed canarygrass collection

item OLMSTEAD, JULIA - University Of Georgia
item Casler, Michael
item BRUMMER, E. CHARLES - Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation, Inc

Submitted to: Crop Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/3/2012
Publication Date: 1/19/2013
Citation: Olmstead, J., Casler, M.D., Brummer, E. 2013. Genetic variability for biofuel traits in a circumglobal reed canarygrass collection. Crop Science. 53(2), 524-531.

Interpretive Summary: Reed canarygrass has been used as a forage crop for many years. Because of its high productivity and its persistence, it is being considered for development as a dedicated biomass feedstock crop. This will require many years of intensive selection and breeding to produce new varieties with the required traits. Thus, it is important to begin with the best plant materials, some of which were identified in this study. We identified numerous European populations that should be useful in developing dedicated feedstock varieties for the USA. These results will have value to other breeders and to people in the biofuel industry who are concerned with developing sources of feedstock to feed energy conversion plants.

Technical Abstract: Reed canarygrass (Phalaris arundinacea L.) is a cool-season perennial forage crop that grows well in cool, wet climates and could be used as an energy crop. Despite its bioenergy potential, little breeding effort has gone into its development as an energy crop. We evaluated the entire reed canarygrass germplasm collection available in the United States for agronomic and quality traits at two locations in 1999 and 2000. Variation among accessions was observed for all variables. Biomass yield was not correlated with acid detergent fiber (cellulose + lignin) or with acid detergent lignin, indicating good potential for developing favorable feedstocks for cofiring or for fermentation. Analysis of regional geographic variation, as well as principle component analysis, showed that phenotypes varied considerably among geographic regions, with much of the variation attributable to differences between Europe and Asia. European germplasm tended to have higher biomass yield than germplasm from the Middle East and Asia, suggesting that the former may be better suited for use in direct breeding programs. Overall, sufficient variation exists among wild and cultivated germplasm to warrant further reed canarygrass breeding efforts for biofuel development.