Current Switchgrass News and Events

Current Switchgrass News and Events, Switchgrass 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)

Key switchgrass genes identified, which could mean better biofuels ahead
Biologists believe they are one step closer to a long-held goal of making a cheap, widely available plant a source for energy and fuel, meaning one of the next big weapons in the battle against climate change may be able to trace its roots to the side of a Texas highway. The complex genome analysis of switchgrass is explained in a new paper in Nature. (2021-01-27)

Fields of breeders' dreams: A team effort toward targeted crop improvements
In Nature, a team led by researchers at the University of Texas at Austin, the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology, and the DOE Joint Genome Institute has produced a high-quality reference sequence of the complex switchgrass genome. Building off this work, researchers at DOE Bioenergy Research Centers are exploring targeted genome editing techniques to customize the crop. (2021-01-27)

Study confirms contribution of bioenergy to climate change mitigation
Across-border team of researchers refute arguments that carbon debt, opportunity cost and indirect land-use change prevent greenhouse gas mitigation by biofuels. (2020-11-18)

How to make it easier to turn plant waste into biofuels
Researchers have developed a new process that could make it much cheaper to produce biofuels such as ethanol from plant waste and reduce reliance on fossil fuels. Their approach, featuring an ammonia-salt based solvent that rapidly turns plant fibers into sugars needed to make ethanol, works well at close to room temperature, unlike conventional processes, according to a Rutgers-led study in the journal Green Chemistry. (2020-01-14)

Helpful insects and landscape changes
We might not notice them, but the crops farmers grow are protected by scores of tiny invertebrate bodyguards. Naturally occurring arthropods like spiders and lady beetles patrol crop fields looking for insects to eat. These natural enemies keep pests under control, making it easier to grow the crops we depend on. (2019-11-05)

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)

New paper points to soil pore structure as key to carbon storage
Alexandra Kravchenko, Michigan State University professor in the Department of Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences, and several of her colleagues recently discovered a new mechanism determining how carbon is stored in soils that could improve the climate resilience of cropping systems and also reduce their carbon footprints. (2019-07-26)

ORNL scientists make fundamental discovery to creating better crops
A team of scientists led by Oak Ridge National Laboratory have discovered the specific gene that controls an important symbiotic relationship between plants and soil fungi, and successfully facilitated the symbiosis in a plant that typically resists it. (2019-07-22)

Switchgrass hybrid yields insights into plant evolution
Scientists have identified specific parts of genetic code within switchgrass that could contribute to larger switchgrass harvests while reducing potential crop weaknesses. (2019-06-10)

Keeping things moving
Lubricants keep the world moving, but they leave a heavy environmental footprint. New research from the University of Delaware provides a strategy to create renewable lubricant base oils efficiently from non-food biomass. (2019-02-07)

Scientists discover new 'architecture' in corn
New research on the US's most economically important agricultural plant -- corn -- has revealed a different internal structure of the plant than previously thought, which can help optimize how corn is converted into ethanol. (2019-01-21)

Turning marginal farmlands into a win for farmers and ecosystems
Many farms have areas where the ground either floods or does not retain enough water or fertilizer for crops to thrive. Such marginal lands could become useful and potentially profitable if they are planted with perennial bioenergy crops such as shrub willow and switchgrass, report researchers this week at the annual meeting of The Geological Society of America in Indianapolis. (2018-11-05)

Feeding plants to this algae could fuel your car
The research shows that a freshwater production strain of microalgae, Auxenochlorella protothecoides, is capable of directly degrading and utilizing non-food plant substrates, such as switchgrass, for improved cell growth and lipid productivity, useful for boosting the algae's potential value as a biofuel. (2018-07-17)

How biofuels from plant fibers could combat global warming
A study from Colorado State University finds new promise for biofuels produced from switchgrass, a non-edible native grass that grows in many parts of North America. (2018-02-26)

Biochar could replace unsustainable peat moss in greenhouse industry
Plant lovers are familiar with peat moss as the major component of potting mix, but harvest of the material is becoming unsustainable. Not only is peat being removed faster than it can re-form, its use in potting mix contributes to the release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. (2018-02-08)

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)

Could switchgrass help China's air quality?
Researchers from the United States and China have proposed an idea that could improve China's air quality, but they're not atmospheric scientists. They're agronomists. (2017-09-05)

Adjusting fertilizers vital in claypan ag soils
New research could help claypan farmers improve yields while saving costs. (2017-07-26)

Cutting the cost of ethanol, other biofuels and gasoline
Biofuels like the ethanol in US gasoline could get cheaper thanks to experts at Rutgers University-New Brunswick and Michigan State University. They've demonstrated how to design and genetically engineer enzyme surfaces so they bind less to corn stalks and other cellulosic biomass, reducing enzyme costs in biofuels production, according to a study published this month on the cover of the journal ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering. (2017-07-05)

Newly identified gene helps time spring flowering in vital grass crops
Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have identified a gene that keeps grasses from entering their flowering cycle until the season is right, a discovery that may help plant breeders and engineers get more from food and energy crops. (2017-06-05)

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)

Study to examine the relationship between grasslands and soil biodiversity
A new four-year study by researchers with the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture will evaluate pastures to document how management of native grasslands may enhance soil biodiversity and contribute to producer profitability. Funded by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, the study includes a large transdisciplinary team including plant and animal scientists, a soils expert, an entomologist and economists. (2017-01-31)

Wheat virus crosses over, harms native grasses
Once upon a time, it was thought that crop diseases affected only crops. New research shows, however, that a common wheat virus can spread and harm perennial native grasses. (2017-01-17)

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)

Switchgrass may be a good option for farmers who have lost fertile topsoil
A study from the University of Missouri College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources has found that switchgrass, which is a perennial plant and used commonly for biofuel, improves soil quality and can be grown on farms that have lost fertile topsoil. (2016-12-13)

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)

Energy Department grants $2.5M for biorefinery waste use, renewable bioproduct study
The US Department of Energy granted $2.5 million to Texas A&M AgriLife Research to find ways to use biorefinery waste to make new, marketable products. 'It is said you can make anything but money out of lignin. Yet, that is the majority of what's left over in the biorefinery plants,' said Dr. Joshua Yuan, a biotechnologist and lead scientist on the project. 'Until we resolve this problem, biorefinery is not going to become economically viable.' (2016-07-20)

Berkeley Lab scientists brew jet fuel in 1-pot recipe
Berkeley Lab researchers at the Joint BioEnergy Institute have engineered a strain of bacteria that enables a 'one-pot' method for producing advanced biofuels from a slurry of pre-treated plant material. The achievement is a critical step in making biofuels a viable competitor to fossil fuels by streamlining the production process. (2016-05-10)

Three PNNL scientists receive DOE Early Career Research awards
Three scientists at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory have been selected to receive 2016 Early Career Research Program research grants from the US Department of Energy. Scientists Yingge Du, Kirsten Hofmockel and James Moran will receive funding to further their studies in climate science, energy storage, and other areas important to the nation. (2016-05-04)

ORNL hosts Southeast bioenergy meeting, study tour
Researchers and others interested in establishing a sustainable bioeconomy in the US are taking part in a five-day study tour led by the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory. (2016-04-11)

UT center continues quest for low-cost, high-quality bioenergy
The University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture Center for Renewable Carbon is the lead institution in a $4 million study funded by the US Department of Energy Bioenergy Technologies Office that will allow the CRC and its partners to explore in greater detail some feedstock supply and logistical issues. (2016-03-21)

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)

A new recipe for biofuel: Genetic diversity can lead to more productive growth
A team of national laboratory and university researchers led by the Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory is growing large test plots of switchgrass crops with the farmer in mind. For the first time, researchers have mixed different genetic varieties of switchgrass on production-size plots, hypothesizing this could increase yield by extending the growing season, varying the size of the switchgrass plants to produce a fuller crop and potentially reducing the crop's vulnerability to weather fluctuations. (2016-02-23)

New way to reduce plant lignin could lead to cheaper biofuels
Berkeley Lab scientists have shown for the first time that an enzyme can be tweaked to reduce lignin in plants. Their technique could help lower the cost of converting biomass into carbon-neutral fuels to power your car and other sustainably developed bio-products. (2016-02-23)

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)

Building off known genomes to advance systems and ecosystems biology
The US Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute (DOE JGI), a DOE Office of Science User Facility, has selected 27 new projects for the 2016 Community Science Program (CSP). The full list of projects may be found at http://jgi.doe.gov/our-projects/csp-plans/fy-2016-csp-plans/. Susannah Tringe, DOE JGI User Programs Deputy, noted that these projects 'build our portfolio in key focus areas including sustainable bioenergy production, plant microbiomes and terrestrial biogeochemistry.' (2015-10-20)

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)

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