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:12/6/2016)... Valencell , the leading innovator in performance biometric ... consecutive year of triple digit growth for its PerformTek ... 360 percent increase in companies who have acquired Valencell ... sales of its wrist and ear Benchmark™ sensor systems, ... hearables for fitness and healthcare applications. ...
(Date:12/5/2016)... WASHINGTON , Dec. 5, 2016  The ... (NIJ), today published "Can CT Scans Enhance or ... examines the potential of supporting or replacing forensic ... a CT scan. In response to ... NIJ is exploring using CT scans as a ...
(Date:12/2/2016)... , Dec. 1, 2016   SoftServe ... announced BioLock , an electrocardiogram (ECG) biosensor ... monitoring, a key IoT asset. The smart system ... a vehicle,s steering wheel and mobile devices to ... touch. As vehicle technology advances, so ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:12/5/2016)... ... December 05, 2016 , ... ... of the nation’s premier cannabis technology and application experts, Chip Baker. Chip Baker ... Cultivate Colorado. Over the past 30 years, Chip Baker other industry veterans have ...
(Date:12/5/2016)... , Dec. 5, 2016 NxGen MDx announced today that ... the test in house, we,ve been able to improve customer service through ... patients," says Alan Mack , CEO of NxGen MDx. ... , , A ... volume has led to more job opportunities at the Grand Rapid headquarters. ...
(Date:12/4/2016)... ... December 03, 2016 , ... ... A microbiome impact grant award has been made to Dr. Renato Polimanti of ... and drinking on the oral microbiome. Grant proposals have been vetted by the ...
(Date:12/2/2016)... -- The Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF) today announced that ... —the largest and most comprehensive study driving new genomic ... presented at the 58 th American Society of ... San Diego from December 3-6. The new ... as identify pathways and targets for new drug development. ...
Breaking Biology Technology: