Designing Biomass Crops with Improved Calorific Content and Attributes for Burning: a UK Perspective

  • Gordon G. AllisonEmail author
  • Mark P. Robbins
  • José Carli
  • John C. Clifton-Brown
  • Iain S. Donnison
Part of the Biotechnology in Agriculture and Forestry book series (AGRICULTURE, volume 66)


Recently, there has been tremendous world-wide interest in dedicated energy crops as a source of renewable carbon neutral feed-stocks for the production of energy and heat by combustion processes. However, in order for the potential benefits of decreased greenhouse gas emissions and improved fuel security to be delivered, it will be essential for the cultivation of these crops to be achieved in a sustainable manner. In this chapter we identify those species with greatest potential for cultivation in the UK, explore the effect of biomass chemical composition on combustion efficiency and, with particular focus on Miscanthus species, discuss how these crops may be best improved by strategies including genetic engineering, gene discovery and breeding strategies.


Lignin Content Energy Crop Cinnamyl Alcohol Dehydrogenase Primary Cell Wall Cell Wall Composition 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The authors wish to acknowledge the help of Dr. Paul Robson, and their colleagues at IBERS who are associated with or belong to the Miscanthus breeding programme, who were instrumental in growing, phenotyping and harvesting the Miscanthus trait trial. They wish to acknowledge their funders: G.A., M.R. and I. D. are funded as part of the Bioenergy Strategic Programme Grant by the Biotechnology and Biological Science Research Council; J.C.-B. is funded jointly by the Biotechnology and Biological Science Research Council and The Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, and J.C. is funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council as part of Supergen Bioenergy ( Special thanks also to Mrs. Catherine Morris and the staff of the Analytical Chemistry Unit who carried out the chemical analysis of plant samples and to Mrs. Pauline Rees Stevens for proof-reading this manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gordon G. Allison
    • 1
    Email author
  • Mark P. Robbins
    • 1
  • José Carli
    • 1
  • John C. Clifton-Brown
    • 1
  • Iain S. Donnison
    • 1
  1. 1.Biorenewables and Environmental Change (BEC) Division, Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural SciencesAberystwyth University GogerddanWalesUK

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