Dr. Laura Bartley, Associate Professor from University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK and Dr. Qingwu Xue, Associate Professor from Texas A&M AgriLife Research at Amarillo, TX are the recipients of USDA-NIFA research grants through the South Central Sun Grant Program’s regional competitive grants program.
Dr. Laura Bartley is collaborating with Drs. Lance Lobban (University of Oklahoma), John Mullet (Texas A&M University), David Hodge (Montana State University), and Zhanyuan Zhang (University of Missouri) to conduct research on “Switchgrass and Sorghum Biomass Optimization for Staged Conversion to Biofuels.” This project aims to develop efficient processes for lignocellulosic biofuel production that optimize carbon yields while maintaining favorable conversion economics. The successful application of this work will add significant economic value to the agricultural industry by providing economic support for perennial crops and crop residues.
Another grant was awarded to study drought tolerance and water use efficiency (WUE) in biomass sorghum under water-limited conditions. This project is led by Dr. Qingwu Xue in collaboration with Drs. Rob Aiken (Kansas State University Northwest Research-Extension Center), William Rooney (Texas A&M University), Jourdan Bell (Texas A&M AgriLife Extension), and Sushil Thapa (Texas A&M AgriLife Research). This study aims to better understand the physiological mechanisms of drought tolerance and WUE in biomass sorghum. This work will provide critical information for the development of bioenergy sorghum plus maintaining sustainable production of sorghum to ensure feedstock streams for energy conversion.