USDA, DOE fund feedstock genomics research
The USDA and U.S. DOE have awarded $8 million in research grants to seven projects focused on biomass genomics research. The research aims to improve biomass feedstocks grown for biofuels by increasing their yields, quality and ability to adapt to extreme environments. The funding will support research conducted on switchgrass, polar, pine and other plants. Researchers will use the most advanced techniques of modern genomics to develop breeding strategies to improve these crops.
According to the USDA, the benefits of this research program range from decreasing oil exports to increasing options for American farmers. The DOE’s Office of Science has provided $6.1 million over the next three years to support five projects. The USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture will contribute $2 million to two projects.