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Danforth Center Receives $8 Million to Develop Bioenergy Sorghum Hybrids

The Donald Danforth Plant Science Center has announced that it has been granted $8 million from the U.S. Department of Energy ARPA – E Terra program to finance the breeding and commercialization of specialized sorghum hybrids for the production of bioenergy.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) estimates that 90% of U.S. cellulosic bioenergy feedstock needs will be met through biomass production in the southern region of the country. In the report Sorghum is noted as a key crop due to its drought tolerance, low fertilizer requirements, high environmental adaptability, compatibility with row crops, and high biomass output potential. The agency states that the ‘sorghum bioenergy belt’ will span from east Texas, across the Mississippi Valley, along the Gulf Coast and along the southern Atlantic Coast.

The multi-institutional team will employ a field phenotyping system that will yield greater understanding of bioenergy sorghum’s phenotypic and genomic variations. With this knowledge, the team will be able to advance breeding strategies that will result in higher-yielding hybrids for bioenergy production.

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