Scientists at Oak Ridge National Laboratory have discovered a single gene that simultaneously boosts plant growth and tolerance for stresses such as drought and salt, all while tackling the root cause of climate change by enabling plants to pull more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
To understand the effects of expanding biofuel production, scientists must accurately represent biofuel crops in land surface models. Using observations from biofuel plants in the Midwestern United States, researchers simulated two biofuel perennial plants, miscanthus and switchgrass. The simulations indicate these high-yield perennial crops have several advantages over traditional annual bioenergy crops—they assimilate more carbon dioxide, and they require fewer nutrients and less water.
In Nature, a multi-institutional team including DOE Joint Genome Institute researchers has produced a high-quality reference sequence of the complex switchgrass genome. Building off this work, bioenergy researchers are exploring targeted genome editing techniques to customize the crop.
Researchers generated genome sequences for nearly 600 green millet plants and released a very high-quality reference S. viridis genome sequence Analysis of these plant genome sequences also led them to identify for the first time in wild populations a gene related to seed dispersal.
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) awarded a five-year, $13 million grant to a nationwide research project to genetically strengthen Thlaspi arvense, commonly known as pennycress, for use in sustainable energy efforts.
Plants emit gases like methanol and acetic acid that are not directly related to photosynthesis but that have an unknown origin. Researchers have found a possible source: natural chemical modification in the cellulose in plant cell walls and accompanying metabolic changes.
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.