Engineering Advantages, Challenges and Status of Grass Energy Crops

  • David I. BransbyEmail author
  • Damian J. Allen
  • Neal Gutterson
  • Gregory Ikonen
  • Edward RichardJr
  • William Rooney
  • Edzard van Santen
Part of the Biotechnology in Agriculture and Forestry book series (AGRICULTURE, volume 66)


High yield with low inputs, resistance to disease, pests and drought, adaptation to a wide range of soils and climates, and biomass composition that is optimized for end use are identified as important traits for cellulosic biomass crops. Current status and future prospects for genetic improvement are reviewed for grass crops, using Miscanthus, switchgrass, sugarcane (or energy cane) and sorghum as examples. In addition, possible approaches for integrating grasses into cellulosic biomass supply systems are discussed. It is concluded that both perennial and annual grasses can play a significant role in providing cellulosic biomass for a wide range of bioenergy applications, and considerable potential exists for genetic improvement of grass crops for this purpose.


Biomass Yield Sweet Sorghum Bioenergy Crop Heterotic Group Cellulosic Biomass 
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 from Mendel acknowledge their Mendel and Tinplant colleagues for helpful discussions and insights, particularly Katrin Jakob, Erik Sacks, Fasong Zhou, Martin Deuter and Cora Münnich.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • David I. Bransby
    • 1
    Email author
  • Damian J. Allen
    • 2
  • Neal Gutterson
    • 3
  • Gregory Ikonen
    • 3
  • Edward RichardJr
    • 4
  • William Rooney
    • 5
  • Edzard van Santen
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Agronomy and SoilsAuburn UniversityAuburnUSA
  2. 2.Mendel BioEnergy SeedsLafayetteUSA
  3. 3.Mendel Biotechnology, Inc.HaywardUSA
  4. 4.USDA-ARS Sugarcane Research UnitHoumaUSA
  5. 5.Department of Soil and Crop SciencesCollege StationUSA

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