Navigation Links
More to biofuel production than yield
Date:1/13/2014

EAST LANSING, Mich. When it comes to biofuels, corn leads the all-important category of biomass yield. However, focusing solely on yield comes at a high price.

In the current issue of the Proceedings for the National Academy of Sciences, Michigan State University researchers show that looking at the big picture allows other biofuel crops, such as native perennial grasses, to score higher as viable alternatives.

"We believe our findings have major implications for bioenergy research and policy," said Doug Landis, MSU entomologist and one of the paper's lead authors. "Biomass yield is obviously a key goal, but it appears to come at the expense of many other environmental benefits that society may desire from rural landscapes."

Landis and a team of researchers from the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center compared three potential biofuel crops: corn, switchgrass, and mixes of native prairie grasses and flowering plants. They measured the diversity of plants, pest and beneficial insects, birds and microbes that consume methane, a greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change. Methane consumption, pest suppression, pollination and bird populations were higher in perennial grasslands.

In addition, the team found that the grass crops' ability to harbor such increased biodiversity is strongly linked to the fields' location relative to other habitats. For example, pest suppression, which is already higher in perennial grass crops, increased by an additional 30 percent when fields were located near other perennial grass habitats. This suggests that in order to enhance pest suppression and other critical ecosystem services, coordinated land use should play a key role in agricultural policy and planning, Landis said.

"With supportive policies, we envision the ability to design agricultural landscapes to maximize multiple benefits," he said.

However, rising corn and other commodity prices tempt farmers to till and plant as much of their available land as possible. This includes farming marginal lands that produce lower yields as well as converting acreage set aside for the Conservation Reserve Program, grasslands and wetlands.

"Yes, corn prices are currently attractive to farmers, but with the exception of biomass yield, all other services were greater in the perennial grass crops," Landis said. "If high commodity prices continue to drive conversion of these marginal lands to annual crop production, it will reduce the flexibility we have in the future to promote other critical services like pollination, pest suppression and reduction of greenhouse gasses."


'/>"/>

Contact: Layne Cameron
Layne.cameron@cabs.msu.edu
517-353-8819
Michigan State University
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. New, simple technique may drive down biofuel production costs
2. Montana State University research on algal biofuels keys larger study
3. Scripps oceanography researchers engineer breakthrough for biofuel production
4. ORNL study uses neutron scattering, supercomputing to demystify forces at play in biofuel production
5. Lignin-feasting microbe holds promise for biofuels
6. UCLA engineers develop new metabolic pathway to more efficiently convert sugars into biofuels
7. More efficient production of biofuels from waste with the help of modified yeasts
8. New possibilities for efficient biofuel production
9. NREL and Colombian oil firm unlocking agricultural waste feedstocks for biofuel
10. Newly developed medium may be useful for human health, biofuel production, more
11. Gasification method turns forest residues to biofuel with less than a euro per liter
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/22/2016)... , June 22, 2016  The American College of Medical ... Show Executive Magazine as one of the fastest-growing trade ... 25-27 at the Bellagio in Las Vegas ... highest percentage of growth in each of the following categories: ... companies and number of attendees. The 2015 ACMG Annual Meeting ...
(Date:6/21/2016)... , June 21, 2016 NuData ... the new role of principal product architect and ... the director of customer development. Both will report ... technical officer. The moves reflect NuData,s strategic growth ... response to high customer demand and customer focus ...
(Date:6/15/2016)... June 15, 2016 Transparency ... titled "Gesture Recognition Market by Application Market - Global Industry Analysis ... 2024". According to the report, the  global gesture recognition ... 2015 and is estimated to grow at a ... by 2024.  Increasing application of gesture ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... 2016   Boston Biomedical , an industry ... to target cancer stemness pathways, announced that its ... Drug Designation from the U.S. Food and Drug ... including gastroesophageal junction (GEJ) cancer. Napabucasin is an ... cancer stemness pathways by targeting STAT3, and is ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 2016 Houston Methodist Willowbrook Hospital has ... Association to serve as their official health care ... Willowbrook will provide sponsorship support, athletic training services, ... coaches, volunteers, athletes and families. "We ... Association and to bring Houston Methodist quality services ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June, 23, 2016  The Biodesign Challenge (BDC), ... new ways to harness living systems and biotechnology, announced ... (MoMA) in New York City . ... participating students, showcased projects at MoMA,s Celeste Bartos Theater ... Antonelli , MoMA,s senior curator of architecture and design, ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... 2016 , ... STACS DNA Inc., the sample tracking software company, today announced ... has joined STACS DNA as a Field Application Specialist. , “I am thrilled ... COO of STACS DNA. “In further expanding our capacity as a scientific integrator, Hays ...
Breaking Biology Technology: