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Hong Sun, Yixiao Xie, Yulong Zheng, Yanli Lin, Fuyu Yang
A greenhouse experiment was carried out to investigate the effects of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) on the growth, P and Cd concentrations and bioenergy quality-related factors of five cultivars of switchgrass, including three lowland cultivars (Alamo (Ala), Kanlow (Kan), Performer (Per)) and two highland cultivars (Blackwell (Bw), Summer (Sum)), with 0, 1 and 10 mg/kg Cd addition levels. The results showed that AMF inoculation notably increased the biomass and P concentrations of all the cultivars. The Cd concentrations in the roots were higher than those in the shoots of all cultivars irrespective of inoculation, but the AMF had different effects on Cd accumulation in highland and lowland cultivars...
2018: PeerJ
Ilya N Boykov, Elijah Shuford, Baohong Zhang
Nanoparticle TiO2 is a common chemical used in daily life. As increasing usage of TiO2 , it is becoming a potentially dangerous contaminant to the environment. However, the impact of TiO2 is not well understood. In this paper, switchgrass was employed to investigate the impacts of nanoparticle TiO2 on plant growth and development as well as the potential impact on the expression of microRNAs (miRNAs). TiO2 significantly affected switchgrass seed generations as well as plant growth and development in a dose-dependent manner...
March 7, 2018: Genomics
Julian F Cacho, Mohamed A Youssef, George M Chescheir, R Wayne Skaggs, Timothy W Appelboom, Zakiya H Leggett, Eric B Sucre, Jami E Nettles, Consuelo Arellano
Managed forests in southern U.S. are a potential source of lignocellulosic biomass for biofuel production. Changes in management practices to optimize biomass production may impact the quality of waters draining to nutrient-sensitive waters in coastal plain regions. We investigated shallow groundwater quality effects of intercropping switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.) with managed loblolly pine (Pinus taeda L.) to produce bioenergy feedstock and quality sawtimber in a poorly drained soil of eastern North Carolina, U...
March 5, 2018: Science of the Total Environment
Guigui Wan, Taylor Frazier, Julianne Jorgensen, Bingyu Zhao, Charles E Frazier
Background: Mechanical properties of transgenic switchgrass have practical implications for biorefinery technologies. Presented are fundamentals for simple (thermo)mechanical measurements of genetically transformed switchgrass. Experimental basics are provided for the novice, where the intention is to promote collaboration between plant biologists and materials scientists. Results: Stem sections were subjected to two stress modes: (1) torsional oscillation in the linear response region, and (2) unidirectional torsion to failure...
2018: Biotechnology for Biofuels
Joseph Evans, Millicent D Sanciangco, Kin H Lau, Emily Crisovan, Kerrie Barry, Chris Daum, Hope Hundley, Jerry Jenkins, Megan Kennedy, Govindarajan Kunde-Ramamoorthy, Brieanne Vaillancourt, Ananta Acharya, Jeremy Schmutz, Malay Saha, Shawn M Kaeppler, E Charles Brummer, Michael D Casler, C Robin Buell
Switchgrass ( is a perennial native North American grass present in two ecotypes: upland, found primarily in the northern range of switchgrass habitats, and lowland, found largely in the southern reaches of switchgrass habitats. Previous studies focused on a diversity panel of primarily northern switchgrass, so to expand our knowledge of genetic diversity in a broader set of North American switchgrass, exome capture sequence data were generated for 632 additional, primarily lowland individuals. In total, over 37 million single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were identified and a set of 1...
March 2018: Plant Genome
Laura L Lee, Sara E Blumer-Schuette, Javier A Izquierdo, Jeffrey V Zurawski, Andrew J Loder, Jonathan M Conway, James G Elkins, Mircea Podar, Alicia Clum, Piet C Jones, Marek J Piatek, Deborah A Weighill, Daniel A Jacobson, Michael W W Adams, Robert M Kelly
Metagenomic data from Obsidian Pool (Yellowstone National Park, USA) and thirteen genome sequences were used to re-assess genus-wide biodiversity for the extremely thermophilic Caldicellulosiruptor The updated core-genome contains 1,401 ortholog groups (average genome size for thirteen species = 2,516 genes). The pan-genome, which remains open with a revised total of 3,493 ortholog groups, encodes a variety of multi-domain glycoside hydrolases (GH). These include three cellulases with GH48 domains that are co-located in the Glucan Degradation Locus (GDL) and are specific determinants for microcrystalline cellulose utilization...
February 23, 2018: Applied and Environmental Microbiology
Jia Xu, Joseph W Kloepper, Ping Huang, John A McInroy, Chia H Hu
The aims of this study were to isolate and characterize N2 -fixing bacteria from giant reed and switchgrass and evaluate their plant growth promotion and nutrient uptake potential for use as biofertilizers. A total of 190 bacteria were obtained from rhizosphere soil and inside stems and roots of giant reed and switchgrass. All the isolates were confirmed to have nitrogenase activity, 96.9% produced auxin, and 85% produced siderophores. Then the top six strains, including Sphingomonas trueperi NNA-14, Sphingomonas trueperi NNA-19, Sphingomonas trueperi NNA-17, Sphingomonas trueperi NNA-20, Psychrobacillus psychrodurans NP-3, and Enterobacter oryzae NXU-38, based on nitrogenase activity, were inoculated on maize and wheat seeds in greenhouse tests to assess their potential benefits to plants...
February 23, 2018: Journal of Basic Microbiology
Richard R Rodrigues, Nyle C Rodgers, Xiaowei Wu, Mark A Williams
Microbial diversity on earth is extraordinary, and soils alone harbor thousands of species per gram of soil. Understanding how this diversity is sorted and selected into habitat niches is a major focus of ecology and biotechnology, but remains only vaguely understood. A systems-biology approach was used to mine information from databases to show how it can be used to answer questions related to the core microbiome of habitat-microbe relationships. By making use of the burgeoning growth of information from databases, our tool "COREMIC" meets a great need in the search for understanding niche partitioning and habitat-function relationships...
2018: PeerJ
Mojdeh Faraji, Luis L Fonseca, Luis Escamilla-Treviño, Jaime Barros-Rios, Nancy Engle, Zamin K Yang, Timothy J Tschaplinski, Richard A Dixon, Eberhard O Voit
Background: Lignin is a natural polymer that is interwoven with cellulose and hemicellulose within plant cell walls. Due to this molecular arrangement, lignin is a major contributor to the recalcitrance of plant materials with respect to the extraction of sugars and their fermentation into ethanol, butanol, and other potential bioenergy crops. The lignin biosynthetic pathway is similar, but not identical in different plant species. It is in each case comprised of a moderate number of enzymatic steps, but its responses to manipulations, such as gene knock-downs, are complicated by the fact that several of the key enzymes are involved in several reaction steps...
2018: Biotechnology for Biofuels
Elizabeth R Milano, Courtney E Payne, Ed Wolfrum, John Lovell, Jerry Jenkins, Jeremy Schmutz, Thomas E Juenger
Background: Biofuels derived from lignocellulosic plant material are an important component of current renewable energy strategies. Improvement efforts in biofuel feedstock crops have been primarily focused on increasing biomass yield with less consideration for tissue quality or composition. Four primary components found in the plant cell wall contribute to the overall quality of plant tissue and conversion characteristics, cellulose and hemicellulose polysaccharides are the primary targets for fuel conversion, while lignin and ash provide structure and defense...
2018: Biotechnology for Biofuels
P V Femeena, K P Sudheer, R Cibin, I Chaubey
Biofuel has emerged as a substantial source of energy in many countries. In order to avoid the 'food versus fuel competition', arising from grain-based ethanol production, the United States has passed regulations that require second generation or cellulosic biofeedstocks to be used for majority of the biofuel production by 2022. Agricultural residue, such as corn stover, is currently the largest source of cellulosic feedstock. However, increased harvesting of crops residue may lead to increased application of fertilizers in order to recover the soil nutrients lost from the residue removal...
February 9, 2018: Journal of Environmental Management
Ajaya K Biswal, Melani A Atmodjo, Mi Li, Holly L Baxter, Chang Geun Yoo, Yunqiao Pu, Yi-Ching Lee, Mitra Mazarei, Ian M Black, Ji-Yi Zhang, Hema Ramanna, Adam L Bray, Zachary R King, Peter R LaFayette, Sivakumar Pattathil, Bryon S Donohoe, Sushree S Mohanty, David Ryno, Kelsey Yee, Olivia A Thompson, Miguel Rodriguez, Alexandru Dumitrache, Jace Natzke, Kim Winkeler, Cassandra Collins, Xiaohan Yang, Li Tan, Robert W Sykes, Erica L Gjersing, Angela Ziebell, Geoffrey B Turner, Stephen R Decker, Michael G Hahn, Brian H Davison, Michael K Udvardi, Jonathan R Mielenz, Mark F Davis, Richard S Nelson, Wayne A Parrott, Arthur J Ragauskas, C Neal Stewart, Debra Mohnen
Cell walls in crops and trees have been engineered for production of biofuels and commodity chemicals, but engineered varieties often fail multi-year field trials and are not commercialized. We engineered reduced expression of a pectin biosynthesis gene (Galacturonosyltransferase 4, GAUT4) in switchgrass and poplar, and find that this improves biomass yields and sugar release from biomass processing. Both traits were maintained in a 3-year field trial of GAUT4-knockdown switchgrass, with up to sevenfold increased saccharification and ethanol production and sixfold increased biomass yield compared with control plants...
March 2018: Nature Biotechnology
Dafeng Hui, Chih-Li Yu, Qi Deng, E Kudjo Dzantor, Suping Zhou, Sam Dennis, Roger Sauve, Terrance L Johnson, Philip A Fay, Weijun Shen, Yiqi Luo
Climate changes, including chronic changes in precipitation amounts, will influence plant physiology and growth. However, such precipitation effects on switchgrass, a major bioenergy crop, have not been well investigated. We conducted a two-year precipitation simulation experiment using large pots (95 L) in an environmentally controlled greenhouse in Nashville, TN. Five precipitation treatments (ambient precipitation, and -50%, -33%, +33%, and +50% of ambient) were applied in a randomized complete block design with lowland "Alamo" switchgrass plants one year after they were established from tillers...
2018: PloS One
Jianwei Li, Chunlan Guo, Siyang Jian, Qi Deng, Chih-Li Yu, Kudjo E Dzantor, Dafeng Hui
The effects of intensive nitrogen (N) fertilizations on spatial distributions of soil microbes in bioenergy croplands remain unknown. To quantify N fertilization effect on spatial heterogeneity of soil microbial biomass carbon (MBC) and N (MBN), we sampled top mineral horizon soils (0-15 cm) using a spatially explicit design within two 15-m2 plots under three fertilization treatments in two bioenergy croplands in a three-year long fertilization experiment in Middle Tennessee, USA. The three fertilization treatments were no N input (NN), low N input (LN: 84 kg N ha-1 in urea) and high N input (HN: 168 kg N ha-1 in urea)...
January 29, 2018: Scientific Reports
Wenzhi Xu, Wusheng Liu, Rongjian Ye, Mitra Mazarei, Debao Huang, Xinquan Zhang, C Neal Stewart
A switchgrass vascular tissue-specific promoter (PvPfn2) and its 5'-end serial deletions drive high levels of vascular bundle transgene expression in transgenic rice. Constitutive promoters are widely used for crop genetic engineering, which can result in multiple off-target effects, including suboptimal growth and epigenetic gene silencing. These problems can be potentially avoided using tissue-specific promoters for targeted transgene expression. One particularly urgent need for targeted cell wall modification in bioenergy crops, such as switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L...
January 17, 2018: Plant Cell Reports
Upinder S Gill, Liang Sun, Sachin Rustgi, Yuhong Tang, Diter von Wettstein, Kirankumar S Mysore
Phosphite (Phi) is commercially used to manage diseases mainly caused by Oomycetes, primarily due to its low-cost compared to other fungicides, and persistent control of oomycetous pathogens. We explored the use of Phi in controlling fungal pathogens Puccinia emaculata and Phakopsora pachyrhizi the causal agents of the switchgrass rust and the Asian soybean rust, respectively. Phi primes host defenses and efficiently inhibits growth of P. emaculata, P. pachyrhizi, and several other fungal pathogens tested. To understand the Phi-mediated effects, a detailed molecular analysis was undertaken in both the host and the pathogen...
January 6, 2018: Plant Journal: for Cell and Molecular Biology
Wei Wu, Vanessa Rondon, Kalvin Weeks, Pratap Pullammanappallil, Lonnie O Ingram, K T Shanmugam
Switchgrass (Alamo) was pretreated with phosphoric acid (0.75 and 1%, w/w) at three temperatures (160, 175 and 190 °C) and time (5, 7.5 and 10 min) using a steam gun. The slurry after pretreatment was liquefied by enzymes and the released sugars were fermented in a simultaneous saccharification and co-fermentation process to ethanol using ethanologenic Escherichia coli strain SL100. Among the three variables in pretreatment, temperature and time were critical in supporting ethanol titer and yield. Enzyme hydrolysis significantly increased the concentration of furans in slurries, apparently due to release of furans bound to the solids...
December 16, 2017: Bioresource Technology
Jong-Jin Park, Chang Geun Yoo, Amy Flanagan, Yunqiao Pu, Smriti Debnath, Yaxin Ge, Arthur J Ragauskas, Zeng-Yu Wang
Background: The development of genome editing technologies offers new prospects in improving bioenergy crops like switchgrass ( Panicum virgatum ). Switchgrass is an outcrossing species with an allotetraploid genome (2 n  = 4 x  = 36), a complexity which forms an impediment to generating homozygous knock-out plants. Lignin, a major component of the plant cell wall and a contributor to cellulosic feedstock's recalcitrance to decomposition, stands as a barrier to efficient biofuel production by limiting enzyme access to cell wall polymers during the fermentation process...
2017: Biotechnology for Biofuels
Xiaolan Rao, Hui Shen, Sivakumar Pattathil, Michael G Hahn, Ivana Gelineo-Albersheim, Debra Mohnen, Yunqiao Pu, Arthur J Ragauskas, Xin Chen, Fang Chen, Richard A Dixon
Background: Plant cell walls contribute the majority of plant biomass that can be used to produce transportation fuels. However, the complexity and variability in composition and structure of cell walls, particularly the presence of lignin, negatively impacts their deconstruction for bioenergy. Metabolic and genetic changes associated with secondary wall development in the biofuel crop switchgrass ( Panicum virgatum ) have yet to be reported. Results: Our previous studies have established a cell suspension system for switchgrass, in which cell wall lignification can be induced by application of brassinolide (BL)...
2017: Biotechnology for Biofuels
Chelsea R Johnson, Reginald J Millwood, Yuhong Tang, Jiqing Gou, Robert W Sykes, Geoffrey B Turner, Mark F Davis, Yi Sang, Zeng-Yu Wang, C Neal Stewart
Background: Genetic engineering has been effective in altering cell walls for biofuel production in the bioenergy crop, switchgrass ( Panicum virgatum ). However, regulatory issues arising from gene flow may prevent commercialization of engineered switchgrass in the eastern United States where the species is native. Depending on its expression level, microRNA156 (miR156) can reduce, delay, or eliminate flowering, which may serve to decrease transgene flow. In this unique field study of transgenic switchgrass that was permitted to flower, two low (T14 and T35) and two medium (T27 and T37) miR156-overexpressing 'Alamo' lines with the transgene under the control of the constitutive maize ( Zea mays ) ubiquitin 1 promoter, along with nontransgenic control plants, were grown in eastern Tennessee over two seasons...
2017: Biotechnology for Biofuels
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