Seed World

Better Switchgrass, Better Biofuel

Using switchgrass to produce biofuel is one way to decrease the United States’ dependence on oil, but growing it and making it profitable can be complicated. Researchers are trying to change that by using alternative breeding methods.
Switchgrass is an excellent candidate for biofuel production, they say. It is an adaptable plant that can grow on millions of acres of U.S. lands that cannot support crop or food production. It is also a renewable resource.
“Many of these lands are currently in the Conservation Reserve Program,” says Michael Casler, a research geneticist with the USDA Agricultural Research Service, located at the U.S. Dairy Forage Research Center. “They are set aside for soil and water conservation only, with no crop production allowed. Growing switchgrass could serve both soil and water conservation goals and provide biomass for energy production.”
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