Seed World

Research Program to Advance Development of Key Bioenergy Crop

The Donald Danforth Plant Science Center announces it’s been awarded an $8 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy ARPA–E TERRA program. Funds will be used for research to accelerate breeding and the commercial release of economically viable bioenergy sorghum hybrids.
The USDA has forecast that more than 90 percent of U.S. cellulosic bioenergy needs will be met through biomass production in the South, with sorghum identified as a key crop. The new sorghum bioenergy belt will span east Texas, the Mississippi Valley, the Gulf Coast and the southern Atlantic Coast.
Sorghum is a drought- and heat-tolerant member of the grass family and is grown worldwide. Sorghum’s adaptability to diverse environments, low fertilizer requirements, high biomass potential and its compatibility with row crop production positions it to become a premier bioenergy crop in the U.S.
The center will lead a team focused on deploying an automated, robust field phenotyping system to deliver baseline crop trait data of unprecedented quality and quantity, and which will accelerate development of high-yielding bioenergy sorghum.
More information is available here: