Current Miscanthus News and Events

Current Miscanthus News and Events, Miscanthus News Articles.
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CABBI researchers challenge the CRP status quo to mitigate fossil fuels
Amid population expansion and severe climate conditions threatening agricultural productivity, sustainable food production is a national priority. Simultaneously, advances in bioenergy agriculture are necessary to move our energy sector away from fossil fuels. A CABBI team led by Madhu Khanna and Ph.D. student Luoye Chen suggest allocating Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) land for energy biomass, eliminating the need for competition between food and energy crops and proving advantageous for landowners, the government, and the environment. (2021-02-22)

Energy sorghum may combine best of annual, perennial bioenergy crops
Researchers at the Department of Energy's Center for Advanced Bioenergy and Bioproducts Innovation (CABBI) found that energy sorghum, an annual crop, behaves more like the perennial grass miscanthus in the way it efficiently captures light and uses water to produce abundant biomass. The findings highlight energy sorghum's potential as a sustainable bioenergy crop and provide critical data for biogeochemical and ecological models used to forecast crop growth, productivity, and sustainability. (2021-01-07)

Bioenergy research team sequences miscanthus genome
An international research team has sequenced the full genome of an ornamental variety of miscanthus, a wild perennial grass emerging as a prime candidate for sustainable bioenergy crops. The genome project -- led by scientists at the Center for Advanced Bioenergy and Bioproducts Innovation (CABBI), a Department of Energy (DOE) bioenergy research center -- provides a road map for researchers exploring new avenues to maximize the plant's productivity and decipher the genetic basis for its desirable traits. (2020-10-28)

Research could save years of breeding for new Miscanthus hybrids
As climate change becomes increasingly difficult to ignore, scientists are working to diversify and improve alternatives to fossil-fuel-based energy. Renewable bioenergy crops, such as the perennial grass Miscanthus, show promise for cellulosic ethanol production and other uses, but current hybrids are limited by environmental conditions and susceptibility to pests and diseases. (2020-07-28)

Undergrad-led study suggests light environment modifications could maximize productivity
Crops form canopies with overlapping leaves. Typically, the sun leaves at the top of the canopy photosynthesize at maximum efficiency at high light, while shade leaves at the bottom photosynthesize at maximum efficiency at low light. However, this is not the case for maize (corn) and the bioenergy crop Miscanthus. Researchers have published a study that looked into the cause for this maladaptation and found that altered light conditions, not leaf age, were these crops' Achilles' Heel. (2020-06-24)

Researchers shed light on new enzymatic reaction
Researchers have discovered that repurposed enzymes and light are key to producing chemical compounds in an environmentally friendly fashion. By blending bio- and photocatalysis and experimenting with reactionary 'ingredients,' the CABBI team developed a visible-light-induced reaction using the enzyme family ene-reductase (ER). The substrates used in this study, alkenes, can be derived in principle from biomass fatty acids; the end products are valuable chiral carbonyl compounds with potential pharmaceutical applications. (2020-06-08)

Overcoming carbon loss from farming in peatlands
Miscanthus, willow found as good biomass crops to add carbon to vulnerable soils. (2020-04-01)

Aerial insect trap network describes life in the skies
Like most invasive species, when the soybean aphid arrived in the Midwest in 2000, it brought none of its natural enemies along for the ride. So, naturally, finding itself in the soybean capital of the world, the tiny insect went bonkers. Taking advantage of a nifty ability to reproduce without mating, populations exploded and the soybean aphid quickly became the number one insect pest affecting the crop. (2020-03-12)

Biomass fuels can significantly mitigate global warming
'Every crop we tested had a very significant mitigation capacity despite being grown on very different soils and under natural climate variability,' says Dr. Ilya Gelfand, of the BGU French Associates Institute for Agriculture and Biotechnology of Drylands, The Jacob Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research. 'These crops could provide a very significant portion of the decarbonization of US light-duty vehicle transport to curb CO2 emissions and slow global warming.' Decarbonization of transportation is critical to limit rising temperatures.' (2020-03-10)

How preprocessing methods affect the conversion efficiency of biomass energy production
Research on energy production from biomass usually focuses on the amount of energy generated. But it is also important to consider how much energy goes into the process, a component that is often neglected. A study from the University of Illinois takes a look at the bioconversion efficiency of two products often used as biomass for energy production, miscanthus giganteus and sugarcane bagasse. (2019-10-11)

Finding (microbial) pillars of the bioenergy community
In a new study in Nature Communications, Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center scientists at Michigan State University have focused on understanding more about the plant regions above the soil where these microbes can live, called the 'phyllosphere.' Ashley Shade, MSU assistant professor of microbiology and molecular genetics, and her lab classified core members of this community in switchgrass and miscanthus. (2019-09-12)

Biochar may boost carbon storage, but benefits to germination and growth appear scant
Biochar may not be the miracle soil additive that many farmers and researchers hoped it to be, according to a new University of Illinois study. Biochar may boost the agricultural yield of some soils -- especially poor quality ones -- but there is no consensus on its effectiveness. Researchers tested different soils' responses to multiple biochar types and were unable to verify their ability to increase plant growth. However, the study did show biochar's ability to affect soil greenhouse gas emissions. (2019-06-19)

When temperatures drop, Siberian Miscanthus plants surpass main bioenergy variety
Miscanthus is a popular, sustainable, perennial feedstock for bioenergy production that thrives on marginal land in temperate regions. A new study in GCB Bioenergy assessed Miscanthus collected on a Siberian expedition to identify three Miscanthus plants with exceptional photosynthetic performance in chilling temperatures that outstrip the industry favorite by as much as 100 percent. (2019-02-26)

Miscanthus with improved winter-hardiness could benefit northern growers
The cold-sensitivity of Miscanthus, a perennial biomass crop, has limited its adoption in northern climes, but new research from the University of Illinois shows a way forward for would-be Miscanthus growers in cold regions. (2019-01-30)

Why some mites are mightier than others: The evolution of lethal fighting in a spider mite
Unlike most male animals, some males of the social spider mite engage in deadly fights with rival males. Their level of aggression (low, mild or high) is related to the geographical location, and the resulting climate, of the colony in which the mites live. It appears that as the temperature rises, so do the tempers of the male spider mites. (2019-01-25)

Scientists debunk potential link to crop cold tolerance
New research debunks a long-held theory that corn and other grass crops are susceptible to cold because they lack the space in their leaves needed to boost photosynthetic efficiency in low temperatures. (2018-11-12)

The new bioenergy research center: building on ten years of success
The Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center (GLBRC), led by the University of Wisconsin-Madison, recently embarked on a new mission: to develop sustainable alternatives to transportation fuels and products currently derived from petroleum. (2018-02-18)

To maximize sugarcane harvesting, use the right blade
You wouldn't use the same knife to cut through a thick steak as you would to slice an angel food cake, right? Although that may be a ridiculous comparison, the same principle holds true when harvesting various crops. One blade doesn't slice all. Researchers at the University of Illinois tested four blades to find the one that most efficiently cuts sugarcane. (2018-01-17)

New study shows producers where and how to grow cellulosic biofuel crops
A new multi-institution report provides practical agronomic data for five cellulosic feedstocks, which could improve adoption and increase production across the country. (2018-01-16)

Study identifies additional hurdle to widespread planting of bioenergy crops
A study examining how certain decisions impact what farmers plant and harvest identified one crucial factor that researchers believe needs to be added to the list of decision variables when considering bioenergy crops: the option value. (2017-11-02)

Regulating the indirect land use carbon emissions imposes high hidden costs on fuel
Biofuel policies like the Low-Carbon Fuel Standard in California are trying to minimize the indirect land use change related emissions by accounting for the indirect land use change factor as part of the carbon emissions per gallon of biofuels. A University of Illinois study examines the costs and benefits of using this approach at a national level. (2017-06-26)

Energy crop production on conservation lands may not boost greenhouse gases
Growing sustainable energy crops without increasing greenhouse gas emissions, may be possible on seasonally wet, environmentally sensitive landscapes, according to researchers who conducted a study on Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) land. (2017-03-10)

Crop achilles' heel costs farmers 10 percent of potential yield
When top and bottom leaves are placed in the same low light, the lower canopy leaves showed lower rates of photosynthesis. Shaded corn leaves are 15 percent less efficient than top leaves -- and worse, lower leaves are 30 percent less efficient than the top leaves of Miscanthus, a perennial bioenergy crop. Considering the crop as a whole, this loss of efficiency in lower leaves may costs farmers about 10 percent of potential yield. (2017-01-23)

Open-source plant database confirms top US bioenergy crop
Scientists have confirmed that Miscanthus, long speculated to be the top biofuel producer, yields more than twice as much as switchgrass in the US using an open-source bioenergy crop database gaining traction in plant science, climate change, and ecology research. (2017-01-06)

Argonne researchers study how reflectivity of biofuel crops impacts climate
Researchers at Argonne National Laboratory have conducted a detailed study of the albedo (reflectivity) effects of converting land to grow biofuel crops. Based on changes in albedo alone, their findings reveal that greenhouse gas emissions in land use change scenarios represent a net warming effect for ethanol made from miscanthus grass and switchgrass, but a net cooling effect for ethanol made from corn (2016-11-21)

Giant reed is a photosynthetic outlier, study finds
Arundo donax, a giant reed that grows in the Mediterranean climate zones of the world, isn't like other prolific warm-weather grasses, researchers report. This grass, which can grow annually to 6 meters (nearly 20 feet) in height, uses a type of photosynthesis that is more common to crop plants like soybeans, rice and peanuts. The new findings are published in Scientific Reports, a Nature publishing group journal. (2016-03-07)

Best regions for growing bioenergy crops identified
Researchers at Illinois have identified regions in the United States where bioenergy crops would grow best while minimizing effects on aquatic ecosystems. 'We expect the outcome of this study to support scientifically sound national policy decisions on bioenergy crops development especially with regards to cellulosic grasses,' wrote Atul Jain, professor of atmospheric sciences. (2016-02-17)

Study: Second-generation biofuels can reduce emissions
Second-generation biofuel crops like the perennial grasses Miscanthus and switchgrass can efficiently meet emission reduction goals without significantly displacing cropland used for food production, according to a new study. Researchers from the University of Illinois and collaborators published their findings in the inaugural edition of the journal Nature Energy. The researchers call it the most comprehensive study on the subject to date. (2016-01-11)

Export of wood pellets from US to EU more environmentally friendly than coal
A new study co-written by Madhu Khanna, a professor of agricultural and consumer economics at the University of Illinois, found that harvesting wood pellets in the US and exporting them to the EU was more environmentally friendly than burning coal in the EU to generate electricity. (2015-11-20)

Bravo to biomass
A new University of Iowa study documents that biomass burning has positive environmental and public-health effects. Co-firing oat hulls with coal reduced emissions of carbon dioxide, particulate matter, and heavy metals, compared with burning coal alone. results appear in the journal Fuel. (2015-09-25)

It's time to stop thinking in terms of food versus fuel
In a recent article, published by the National Academy of Engineering, University of Illinois' Gutgsell Endowed Chair of Plant Biology and Crop Sciences Steve Long and University of California's Philomathia Professor of Alternative Energy Chris Somerville predict farmers can sustainably, and affordably, meet humanity's growing demand for food and fuel. (2015-09-14)

Grant to help increase biofuel yield while limiting fertilizer use
Michigan State University has earned a $5 million grant from the US Department of Energy to better understand how biofuel crops acquire nitrogen, insights that could help maximize yields while minimizing fertilizer use. (2015-09-09)

Chill-tolerant hybrid sugarcane also grows at lower temperatures, team finds
US farmers have long hoped to extend sugarcane's growing range northward from the Gulf coast, substantially increasing the land available for sugar and biofuels. Several hybrid canes developed in the 1980s have proved hardy in cooler climes, surviving overwinter as far north as Booneville, Arkansas. But until now, no one had tested whether these 'miscanes,' as they are called, actually photosynthesize, and thus continue to grow, when the thermometer dips. (2015-07-28)

Perennial biofuel crops' water consumption similar to corn
Converting large tracts of the Midwest's marginal farming land to perennial biofuel crops carries with it some key unknowns, including how it could affect the balance of water between rainfall, evaporation and movement of soil water to groundwater. (2015-07-06)

Food and fuel: A model for bioenergy feedstock/vegetable double-cropping systems
Researchers realize that biomass feedstock will need to come from many different sources, in order to meet the revised Renewable Fuel Standard mandating the production of 36 billion gallons of biofuel by the year 2022. The concern remains over converting land from food crops to energy crops. A University of Illinois crop scientist, interested in a possible bioenergy feedstock/vegetable double-cropping system, found promising results in such a system using pumpkin as the vegetable crop. (2015-05-08)

Miscanthus-based ethanol boasts bigger environmental benefits, higher profits
A recent study simulated a side-by-side comparison of the yields and costs of producing ethanol using miscanthus, switchgrass, and corn stover. The fast-growing energy grass miscanthus was the clear winner. Models predict that miscanthus will have higher yield and profit, particularly when grown in poor-quality soil. It also outperformed corn stover and switchgrass in its ability to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. (2015-03-04)

Argonne model analyzes biofuel impacts
Argonne researchers today released a new version of an online analysis tool that will help biofuels developers gain a detailed understanding of water consumption of various types of feedstocks, aiding development of sustainable fuels that will reduce impact on limited water resources. (2015-01-15)

New discovery will enhance yield and quality of cereal and bioenergy crops
A team of scientists led by Thomas Brutnell, Ph.D., have developed a new way of identifying genes that are important for photosynthesis in maize, and in rice. (2014-10-13)

Regulations needed to identify potentially invasive biofuel crops
If the hottest new plant grown as a biofuel crop is approved based solely on its greenhouse gas emission profile, its potential as the next invasive species may not be discovered until it's too late. In response to this need to prevent such invasions, researchers at the University of Illinois have developed both a set of regulatory definitions and provisions and a list of 49 low-risk biofuel plants from which growers can choose. (2014-08-07)

New UGA research engineers microbes for the direct conversion of biomass to fuel
The promise of affordable transportation fuels from biomass -- a sustainable, carbon neutral route to American energy independence -- has been left perpetually on hold by the economics of the conversion process. Research from the University of Georgia has overcome this hurdle allowing the direct conversion of switchgrass to fuel. The study, in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, documents the direct conversion of biomass to biofuel without pre-treatment, using the engineered bacterium Caldicellulosiruptor bescii. (2014-06-02)

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