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Testing and Breeding of New Switchgrass Cultivars for Increased Biomass Production in Oklahoma, Arkansas, Texas, and Kansas

2011 DOT-RITA Center Award


Principal Investigators and affiliations:

PI:  Dr. Yanqi Wu (Plant and Soil Sciences, Oklahoma State University)
Co-PI:  Dr. Gopal Kakani (Oklahoma State University)
Co-PI:  Dr. Charles West (University of Arkansas)
Co-PI:  Dr. James Muir (Texas A & M University)
Co-PI:  Dr. Vara Prasad (Kansas State University)

Funded: $56,250

Start Date: 8/1/2011

End Date: 7/31/2015


Expected Outcomes

The study will enable the OSU switchgrass breeding program to continue the established switchgrass regional trials. A regional test (8 locations) of new synthetics and major commercial cultivars will provide data on relative performance and persistence by 2014.


The study will test new, high yielding synthetics for biomass yield and adaptation relative to commercial standards in switchgrass. There are five main benefits of higher yielding switchgrass cultivars: 1) more income for farmers who harvest larger amounts of biomass feedstock resulting from higher efficiencies of converting sunlight, nutrients, and water into biomass; 2) less land and lower mean transport distance needed for producing the same amount of biomass; 3) and expanded market for seed companies to provide new cultivars specifically adapted to a target region; 4) more reliable feedstock supplies at reduced cost for bio-refineries; and 5) a reduced dependence on petroleum-based fuel and improved national energy security.

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