Researchers seek to improve drought-resistance of biofuels grasses
The U.S. Department of Energy has awarded a five-year, $12.1 million grant to a multi-institutional effort to develop drought-resistant grasses for use in biofuels.
The Donald Danforth Plant Science Center in St. Louis will lead the initiative with researchers from the Carnegie Institution for Science, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the University of Minnesota and Washington State University.
The grant is timely, said U. of I. plant biology professor Andrew Leakey, whose lab will receive $1.8 million of the funding.
“The Midwest is in the midst of one of the worst droughts in decades,” he said, “and anything scientists can do to enhance a crop’s ability to endure such conditions will be a boon to agriculture in general.”
The new research will focus on Setaria viridis, a grass that is closely related to next-generation biofuel feedstocks such as Miscanthus and switchgrass, as well as corn.
Leakey and his colleagues at Illinois will lead field experiments on a variety of Setaria plants to determine the genetic basis of drought tolerance in these and other closely related plants. (Watch a video about the research: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=prM_p1jkmNk&feature=youtu.be)
“The opportunity to use the newest genomic and genetic tools available on this project provides an incredible opportunity for us to advance our understanding of the genes that confer drought tolerance to some C4 crops such as Miscanthus and switchgrass,” Leakey said. “Given the importance of C4 crops for fuel and food and the likelihood that droughts like those seen this year will become more frequent as the result of climate change, that’s an exciting prospect.”
Leakey is an affiliate of the Institute for Genomic Biology at Illinois.
Editor’s note: To reach Andrew Leakey, call 217-244-0302;
Diana Yates | University of Illinois
The most recent press releases about innovation >>>
Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:
Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.
As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...
Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.
Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...
For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.
While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...
An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.
The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...
A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.
Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...