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Gaia Pigna, Taniya Dhillon, Elizabeth M Dlugosz, Joshua S Yuan, Connor Gorman, Piero Morandini, Scott C Lenaghan, C Neal Stewart
Arundo donax L. is a promising biofuel feedstock in the Mediterranean region. Despite considerable interest in its genetic improvement, Arundo tissue culture and transformation remains arduous. We developed methodologies for cell- and tissue culture and genetic engineering in Arundo. A media screen was conducted, and a suspension culture was established using callus induced from stem axillary bud explants. DBAP medium, containing 9 μM 2,4-D and 4.4 μM BAP, was found to be the most effective medium among those tested for inducing cell suspension cultures, which resulted in a 5-fold increase in tissue mass over 14 days...
October 20, 2016: Biotechnology Journal
Mukesh Dev Bhattarai, Silvia Secchi, Justin Schoof
Land-based carbon sequestration constitutes a major low cost and immediately viable option in climate change mitigation. Using downscaled data from eight atmosphere-ocean general circulation models for a simulation period between 2015 and 2099, we examine the carbon sequestration potential of alternative agricultural land uses in an intensively farmed Corn Belt watershed and the impact of climate change on crop yields. Our results show that switching from conventional tillage continuous corn to no-till corn-soybean can sequester the equivalent of 192...
October 11, 2016: Environmental Management
Vijay Sundaram, Kasiviswanathan Muthukumarappan, Stephen Gent
Lignocellulosic feedstocks corn stover, prairie cord grass, and switchgrass were subjected to ammonia fiber expansion (AFEX™) pretreatment and densified using extrusion pelleting and ComPAKco densification technique. The effects of AFEX™ pretreatment and densification were studied on the fast pyrolysis product yields. Feedstocks were milled in a hammer mill using three different screen sizes (2, 4, and 8 mm) and were subjected to AFEX™ pretreatment. The untreated and AFEX™-pretreated feedstocks were moisture adjusted at three levels (5, 10, and 15 % wb) and were extruded using a lab-scale single screw extruder...
October 8, 2016: Applied Biochemistry and Biotechnology
Santanu Bakshi, Deborah M Aller, David A Laird, Rajesh Chintala
The long-term impact of biochar on soil properties and agronomic outcomes is influenced by changes in the physical and chemical properties of biochars that occur with time (aging) in soil environments. Fresh biochars, however, are often used in studies because aged biochars are generally unavailable. Therefore, a need exists to develop a method for rapid aging of biochars in the laboratory. The objectives of this study were to compare the physicochemical properties of fresh, laboratory-aged (LA), and field-aged (FA) (≥3 yr) biochars and to assess the appropriateness of a laboratory aging procedure that combines acidification, oxidation, and incubations as a mimic to field aging in neutral or acidic soil environments...
September 2016: Journal of Environmental Quality
Herbert Ssegane, M Cristina Negri
Locating bioenergy crops on strategically selected subfield areas of marginal interest for commodity agriculture can increase environmental sustainability. Location and choice of bioenergy crops should improve environmental benefits with minimal disruption of current food production systems. We identified subfield soils of a tile-drained agricultural watershed as marginal if they had areas of low crop productivity index (CPI), were susceptible to nitrate-nitrogen (NO-N) leaching, or were susceptible to at least two other forms of environmental degradation (marginal areas)...
September 2016: Journal of Environmental Quality
Geoffrey P Morris, Zhenbin Hu, Paul P Grabowski, Justin O Borevitz, Marie-Anne de Graaff, R Michael Miller, Julie D Jastrow
The perennial grass species that are being developed as biomass feedstock crops harbor extensive genotypic diversity, but the effects of this diversity on biomass production are not well understood. We investigated the effects of genotypic diversity in switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) and big bluestem (Andropogon gerardii) on perennial biomass cropping systems in two experiments conducted over 2008-2014 at a 5.4-ha fertile field site in northeastern Illinois, USA. We varied levels of switchgrass and big bluestem genotypic diversity using various local and nonlocal cultivars - under low or high species diversity, with or without nitrogen inputs - and quantified establishment, biomass yield, and biomass composition...
September 2016: Global Change Biology. Bioenergy
Abhiney Jain, Sandra H Bediako, William H Baughman, J Michael Henson
AIM: The aim of this study was to develop and evaluate bacterial-fungal communities to deconstruct switchgrass to biofuel precursors. METHODS AND RESULTS: Bacterial-fungal consortia, mesophilic (25 °C) and thermophilic (50 °C), were enriched from switchgrass bales from which enzyme mixtures were used to deconstruct delignified switchgrass (DSG). The bacterial-fungal consortia were able to produce enzymes including endoglucanase, exoglucanase, β-glucosidase, xylanase, xylosidase and pectinase to convert DSG to soluble carbohydrates...
September 14, 2016: Journal of Applied Microbiology
Elizabeth R Milano, David B Lowry, Thomas E Juenger
The evolution of locally adapted ecotypes is a common phenomenon that generates diversity within plant species. However, we know surprisingly little about the genetic mechanisms underlying the locally adapted traits involved in ecotype formation. The genetic architecture underlying locally adapted traits dictates how an organism will respond to environmental selection pressures and has major implications for evolutionary ecology, conservation, and crop breeding. To understand the genetic architecture underlying the divergence of switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) ecotypes, we constructed a genetic mapping population through a four-way outbred cross between two northern upland and two southern lowland accessions...
September 9, 2016: G3: Genes—Genomes—Genetics
Nicholson N Jeke, Adenike O Hassan, Francis Zvomuya
Land spreading of biosolids as a disposal option is expensive and can disperse pathogens and contaminants in the environment. This growth room study examined phytoremediation using switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) and cattail (Typha latifolia) as an alternative to land spreading of biosolids. Seedlings were transplanted into pots containing 3.9 kg of biosolids (dry wt.). Aboveground biomass (AGB) was harvested either once or twice during each 90-d growth period. Switchgrass AGB yield was greater with two harvests than with one harvest during the first 90-d growth period, whereas cattail yield was not affected by harvest frequency...
September 3, 2016: International Journal of Phytoremediation
Zhujia Ye, Sasikiran Sangireddy, Ikenna Okekeogbu, Suping Zhou, Chih-Li Yu, Dafeng Hui, Kevin J Howe, Tara Fish, Theodore W Thannhauser
Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) is a perennial crop producing deep roots and thus highly tolerant to soil water deficit conditions. However, seedling establishment in the field is very susceptible to prolonged and periodic drought stress. In this study, a "sandwich" system simulating a gradual water deletion process was developed. Switchgrass seedlings were subjected to a 20-day gradual drought treatment process when soil water tension was increased to 0.05 MPa (moderate drought stress) and leaf physiological properties had expressed significant alteration...
2016: International Journal of Molecular Sciences
Abhiney Jain, Sandra H Bediako, J Michael Henson
The mixed microbial communities that occur naturally on lignocellulosic feedstocks can provide feedstock-specific enzyme mixtures to saccharify lignocelluloses. Bacterial-fungal communities were enriched from switchgrass bales to deconstruct ammonia-pretreated switchgrass (DSG). Correlation analysis was carried out to elucidate the relationship between microbial decomposition of DSG by these communities, enzymatic activities produced and enzymatic saccharification of DSG using these enzyme mixtures. Results of the analysis showed that β-glucosidase and xylosidase activities limited the extent of microbial deconstruction and enzymatic saccharification of DSG...
October 2016: Bioresource Technology
Jiamin Miao, Taylor Frazier, Linkai Huang, Xinquan Zhang, Bingyu Zhao
Switchgrass is one of the most promising energy crops and only recently has been employed for biofuel production. The draft genome of switchgrass was recently released; however, relatively few switchgrass genes have been functionally characterized. CENH3, the major histone protein found in centromeres, along with canonical H3 and other histones, plays an important role in maintaining genome stability and integrity. Despite their importance, the histone H3 genes of switchgrass have remained largely uninvestigated...
2016: Frontiers in Plant Science
Paul P Grabowski, Joseph Evans, Chris Daum, Shweta Deshpande, Kerrie W Barry, Megan Kennedy, Guillaume Ramstein, Shawn M Kaeppler, C Robin Buell, Yiwei Jiang, Michael D Casler
Flowering time is a major determinant of biomass yield in switchgrass (Panicum virgatum), a perennial bioenergy crop, because later flowering allows for an extended period of vegetative growth and increased biomass production. A better understanding of the genetic regulation of flowering time in switchgrass will aid the development of switchgrass varieties with increased biomass yields, particularly at northern latitudes, where late-flowering but southern-adapted varieties have high winter mortality. We use genotypes derived from recently published exome-capture sequencing, which mitigates challenges related to the large, highly repetitive and polyploid switchgrass genome, to perform genome-wide association studies (GWAS) using flowering time data from a switchgrass association panel in an effort to characterize the genetic architecture and genes underlying flowering time regulation in switchgrass...
July 22, 2016: New Phytologist
Diego Javier Jiménez, Maria Julia de Lima Brossi, Julia Schückel, Stjepan Krešimir Kračun, William George Tycho Willats, Jan Dirk van Elsas
The selection of microbes by enrichment on plant biomass has been proposed as an efficient way to develop new strategies for lignocellulose saccharification. Here, we report an in-depth analysis of soil-derived microbial consortia that were trained to degrade once-used wheat straw (WS1-M), switchgrass (SG-M) and corn stover (CS-M) under aerobic and mesophilic conditions. Molecular fingerprintings, bacterial 16S ribosomal RNA (rRNA) gene amplicon sequencing and metagenomic analyses showed that the three microbial consortia were taxonomically distinct...
July 14, 2016: Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
M Ramakrishnan, S Antony Ceasar, V Duraipandiyan, K K Vinod, Krishnan Kalpana, N A Al-Dhabi, S Ignacimuthu
Finger millet is one of the small millets with high nutritive value. This crop is vulnerable to blast disease caused by Pyricularia grisea, which occurs annually during rainy and winter seasons. Leaf blast occurs at early crop stage and is highly damaging. Mapping of resistance genes and other quantitative trait loci (QTLs) for agronomic performance can be of great use for improving finger millet genotypes. Evaluation of one hundred and twenty-eight finger millet genotypes in natural field conditions revealed that leaf blast caused severe setback on agronomic performance for susceptible genotypes, most significant traits being plant height and root length...
2016: PloS One
Jessica M Morrison, Mostafa S Elshahed, Noha H Youssef
The anaerobic fungus Orpinomyces strain C1A is capable of growth on various types of lignocellulosic substrates, and harbors an impressive reservoir of carbohydrate active enzymes (CAZymes). Using a minimum enzyme cocktail strategy, we constituted a four-component lignocellulolytic cocktail derived from highly transcribed C1A, and evaluated its efficacy against pretreated corn stover and switchgrass. Hydrolysis yields ranged between 65-77.4%, depending on the lignocellulosic substrate and pretreatment applied...
2016: Scientific Reports
S E King, D L Osmond, J Smith, M R Burchell, M Dukes, R O Evans, S Knies, S Kunickis
Agricultural contributions of nitrogen are a serious concern for many water resources and have spurred the implementation of riparian buffer zones to reduce groundwater nitrate (NO). The optimum design for buffers is subject to debate, and there are few long-term studies. The objective of this project was to determine the effectiveness over time (12 yr) of buffer types (trees, switchgrass, fescue, native, and a control) and buffer widths (8 and 15 m) by measuring groundwater NO-N and dissolved organic carbon (DOC) trends...
July 2016: Journal of Environmental Quality
Xiaofei Wang, Steven Taylor, Yifen Wang
Pretreatment plays an important role in making the cellulose accessible for enzyme hydrolysis and subsequent conversion because it destroys more or less resistance and recalcitrance of biomass. Radio frequency (RF)-assisted dielectric heating was utilized in the alkaline pretreatment on agricultural residues (corn stover), herbaceous crops (switchgrass), hardwood (sweetgum) and softwood (loblolly pine). Pretreatment was performed at 90 °C with either RF or traditional water bath (WB) heating for 1 h after overnight soaking in NaOH solution (0...
October 2016: Bioprocess and Biosystems Engineering
Yuliya Khrunyk, Silke Schiewer, Keri L Carstens, Dingfei Hu, Joel R Coats
Agrochemicals significantly contribute to environmental pollution. In the USA, atrazine is a widely used pesticide and commonly found in rivers, water systems, and rural wells. Phytoremediation can be a cost effective means of removing pesticides from soil. The objective of this project was to investigate the ability of prairie grasses to remove atrazine. (14)C-labeled atrazine was added to sterilized sand and water/nutrient cultures, and analysis was performed after 21 days. Switchgrass and big bluestem were promising species for phytoremediation, taking up about 40% of the applied [(14)C] in liquid hydroponic cultures, and between 20 and 33% in sand cultures...
June 3, 2016: International Journal of Phytoremediation
Ashraf Tubeileh, Timothy J Rennie, Michael J Goss
With a dry biomass production exceeding 40Mgha(-1) in many environments, Miscanthus spp. is the most productive perennial C4 grass species thanks to five advantages over North American prairie tallgrasses. However, miscanthus has a slower nutrient remobilization system, resulting in higher nutrient concentrations at harvest. Perennial C4 grasses benefit from soil microbial associations, reducing their nutrient needs. For combustion purposes, grasses with low moisture content, high lignin and low nutrients are desired...
June 2016: Current Opinion in Plant Biology
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