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Designer Sorghums: Development of High Yielding Sorghum Cultivars with Modified Endosperm Matrices for Optimized Low Energy Input Ethanol Production and High Nutrition Feed

2007 DOT-RITA Integrated Award


PI: Dr. Dirk Hays (Texas A&M University, Soil and Crop Sciences)
Co-PI: Dr. Donghai Wang (Kansas State University)

Funded: $337,500

Start Date: 07/01/2007

End Date: 06/30/2010


Expected Outcomes

Our goal is to develop a systems approach for designer sorghum cultivars to optimize the grain’s endosperm matrix for bio-ethanol conversion and grain distiller’s feed for low rain fed Texas environments. This approach will include protection of sorghum genetics with cultivars combining a high endosperm protein digestibility (HD) trait with a high amylopectin (waxy) starch trait. We have generated data that suggest that both traits individually improve the endosperm matrix for low energy input gelatinization, enzymatic hydrolysis, and total ethanol production. Together, these two traits will be ideal for bio-ethanol conversion. Bio-ethanol systems often sell the remaining grain by-products as a high protein feed supplement. Unfortunately, sorghum and corn grain are low in essential amino acids such as lysine. The HD trait also confers both a high protein bio-availability and high lysine content. As such, in the bio-ethanol-feed supplement system, the grain would also be optimized for feed. The proposal also explores the inclusion of vegetative tissue for lignocellulosic conversion into ethanol, best management practices to optimize the system for foliar and grain complex sugar retention, and a plan for future economic analysis of the competitiveness of this system with corn and sweet sorghum for the rain fed Texas environments.


This system could provide monetary benefit to Texas producers, TAES and the TAES sorghum royalty program. It is likely to provide an important source of market share growth for the bio-refineries and related distribution systems. The development of modified endosperm hybrids also has applications for use in celiac friendly beers, high value feed, and fast cook convenience foods.

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