Navigation Links
New Miscanthus hybrid discovery in Japan could open doors for biofuel industry
Date:12/21/2010

In the minds of many, Miscanthus x giganteus is the forerunner in the race of viable feedstock options for lignocellulosic bioenergy production. But researchers believe "putting all their eggs in one basket" could be a big mistake. Scientists at the University of Illinois recently reported the first natural occurrence in several decades of Miscanthus hybrid plants in Japan.

"If M. x giganteus is the only variety available, there are certainly risks involved such as diseases or pests causing widespread establishment problems or yield losses," said Ryan Stewart, assistant professor of horticulture in the Department of Crop Sciences at the University of Illinois. "We are trying to find Miscanthus hybrids to increase our options. In doing so, it's a way to hedge our bets."

M. x giganteus is a sterile triploid (three sets of chromosomes) formed by a natural cross of M. sacchariflorus and M. sinensis. Because it's sterile, it can only be propagated by vegetative division, which is somewhat more difficult than propagating by seed, Stewart said.

"Because it's a sterile clone, it's more or less a dead-end for plant breeders because it can't be improved through plant breeding," he said.

Stewart and his team investigated overlapping populations of tetraploid M. sacchariflorus and diploid M. sinensis in Japan in hopes of finding triploid hybrid plants that may be similar in productivity to M. x giganteus. However, finding this occurrence out in the wild is a rare event, he said.

"In Japan, even when two plant species are adjacent to one another, they may have very different flowering times, meaning the likelihood of finding a hybrid is very low," Stewart added.

But Stewart knew that there were certain areas in Japan where M. sacchariflorus and M. sinensis sat side by side and had overlapping flowering times. So, with the help of his colleagues, Aya Nishiwaki of the University of Miyazaki and Toshihiko Yamada of Hokkaido University, they set out to search for these rare Miscanthus hybrids.

Last year, Nishiwaki was surprised to find a M. sacchariflorus plant, which was adjacent to some M. sinensis plants, with heavy seed set. M. sacchariflorus in Japan normally spreads vegetatively rather than through seed. Nishiwaki collected this seed, grew it out, and then used flow cytometry to determine the genome size of each of plants. Genome size can be used to detect hybridization events. In analyzing several seeds, their research revealed three triploid plants, which, based on some preliminary molecular analysis, were confirmed to be hybrids.

Researchers hope these new triploid plants will express phenotypic traits similar to that of the high-yielding M. x giganteus. But if they don't, Stewart said they can still serve as sources of genetic variation that might express resistance to recently identified diseases and pests in the M. x giganteus.

M. x giganteus, the first known natural Miscanthus hybrid, was originally found in Japan and then made its way to Europe where it was initially used as an ornamental grass for estates or large gardens, Stewart said. It's a highly productive grass that's cold-hardy, notably for plants that use C4 photosynthesis, which are mostly found in the subtropics and tropics.

It is a popular candidate for bioenergy production because it can grow up to 15 feet tall, creating more biomass than other varieties of Miscanthus.

Stewart and his team have received funding to continue searching for hybrids and to build up a diverse collection of plants of several native Miscanthus species throughout Japan. This collection will serve as a resource for the Energy Biosciences Institute located in the Institute for Genomic Biology at the U of I. Future research will also address the phylogenetic relationship of these hybrids with other Miscanthus taxa, and also their agronomic potential relative to the commonly cultivated M. x giganteus.


'/>"/>

Contact: Jennifer Shike
jshike@illinois.edu
217-244-0888
University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Miscanthus, a biofuels crop, can host western corn rootworm
2. Hybrid tugboat cuts emissions, University of California, Riverside study shows
3. Potential hemlock hybrids tolerant to invasive hemlock woolly adelgid
4. If GMO genes escape, how will the hybrids do?
5. Hard-wired for chocolate and hybrid cars? How genetics affect consumer choice
6. ISU researchers develop hybrid protein tools for gene cutting and editing
7. What causes hybrid vigor?
8. Liposome-hydrogel hybrids: No toil, no trouble for stronger bubbles
9. Genetic key discovered to dramatically increase yields and improve taste of hybrid tomato plants
10. Single gene dramatically boosts yield, sweetness in tomato hybrids, CSHL-Israeli study finds
11. Rice researchers make graphene hybrid
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
New Miscanthus hybrid discovery in Japan could open doors for biofuel industry
(Date:6/16/2016)... , June 16, 2016 ... size is expected to reach USD 1.83 billion ... Grand View Research, Inc. Technological proliferation and increasing ... applications are expected to drive the market growth. ... , The development of advanced multimodal ...
(Date:6/7/2016)... 2016  Syngrafii Inc. and San Antonio Credit ... includes integrating Syngrafii,s patented LongPen™ eSignature "Wet" solution ... will result in greater convenience for SACU members ... maintaining existing document workflow and compliance requirements. ... Highlights: ...
(Date:6/2/2016)... 2, 2016 Perimeter Surveillance & ... Systems, Physical Infrastructure, Support & Other Service  ... offers comprehensive analysis of the global Border ... generate revenues of $17.98 billion in 2016. ... a leader in software and hardware technologies for advanced ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... TORONTO , June 23, 2016 /PRNewswire/ - ... Ontario biotechnology company, Propellon ... the development and commercialization of a portfolio of ... cancers. Epigenetic targets such as WDR5 represent an ... contribute significantly in precision medicine for cancer patients. ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... -- The Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF) is pleased to announce 24 new ... prostate cancer. Members of the Class of 2016 were selected from a pool ... Read More About the Class of 2016 PCF Young Investigators ... ... ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... STACS DNA Inc., the sample tracking ... Arkansas State Crime Laboratory, has joined STACS DNA as a Field Application Specialist. ... Jocelyn Tremblay, President and COO of STACS DNA. “In further expanding our capacity as ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... -- Andrew D Zelenetz , ... Published recently in Oncology & ... Andrew D Zelenetz , discusses the fact ... placing an increasing burden on healthcare systems worldwide, ... the patents on many biologics expiring, interest in ...
Breaking Biology Technology: