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Evaluation of the Potential of Big Bluestem for Biofuel Production

2011 DOT-RITA Seed Award


Principal Investigators and affiliations:
PI: Dr. Donghai Wang (Kansas State University, Biological and Agricultural Engineering)
Co-PI: Dr. Wenqiao Yuan (Kansas State University)
Co-PI: Dr. Richard Nelson (Kansas State University)
Co-PI: Dr. Loretta Johnson (Kansas State University)

Funded: $75,000

Start Date: 7/1/2011

End Date: 6/30/2013


Expected Outcomes:

The data from this research will be published in peer-reviewed scientific journals and will also be presented at national and international academic and industrial conferences, which will encourage commercialization of the new knowledge and fill a critical gap in fundamental knowledge of a valuable bioenergy grass. In particular, the results will help to assess the role of genotype and environment planting location in variation of sugar accumulation and yield and natural thermal properties. The results also were part of a big bluestem ecotype experiment to examine the cline in phenotypic variation (biomass, phenology, canopy characteristics) across the Great Plains precipitation gradient (~1200 to 400 mm mean annual precipitation) and the relative role of environment and ecotype in affecting the phenotype. The results from this research will contribute to enhance fundamental knowledge of the structure, function, and organization of a major native biofuel and forage grass and result in improved biomass characterization.

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