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Article

Breeding Strategies to Improve Miscanthus as a Sustainable Source of Biomass for Bioenergy and Biorenewable Products

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Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences (IBERS), Aberystwyth University, Gogerddan, Aberystwyth, Wales SY23 3EE, UK
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Julius Kuhn-Institut (JKI), Bundesforschungsinstitut fur Kulturpflanzen, Bundesallee 58, 38116 Braunschweig, Germany
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Dipartimento di Agricoltura, Alimentazione e Ambiente, University of Catania, via Valdisavoia 5, 95123 Catania, Italy
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CERES Inc., Now Land O’ Lakes, 1535 Rancho Conejo Blvd, Thousand Oaks, CA 19320, USA
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Energene sp. z o.o., Plac Solny 15, 50-062 Wrocław, Poland
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Terravesta Ltd., South Carlton, Lincoln LN1 2RH, UK
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Present address: Elsoms Wheat Ltd., Spalding, Lincolnshire PE11 1QG, UK.
Present address: Plant sciences division, University of Dundee, Errol Road, Invergowrie DD2 5DA, UK.
§
Present address: Genomics Institute of the Novartis Research Foundation, 10675 John Jay Hopkins Drive, San Diego, CA 92121, USA.
Agronomy 2019, 9(11), 673; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy9110673
Received: 18 September 2019 / Revised: 8 October 2019 / Accepted: 16 October 2019 / Published: 24 October 2019
Miscanthus, a C4 perennial grass native to Eastern Asia, is being bred to provide biomass for bioenergy and biorenewable products. Commercial expansion with the clonal hybrid M. × giganteus is limited by low multiplication rates, high establishment costs and drought sensitivity. These limitations can be overcome by breeding more resilient Miscanthus hybrids propagated by seed. Naturally occurring fast growing indigenous Miscanthus species are found in diverse environments across Eastern Asia. The natural diversity provides for plant breeders, the genetic resources to improve yield, quality, and resilience for a wide range of climates and adverse abiotic stresses. The challenge for Miscanthus breeding is to harness the diversity through selections of outstanding wild types, parents, and progenies over a short time frame to deploy hybrids that make a significant contribution to a world less dependent on fossil resources. Here are described the strategies taken by the Miscanthus breeding programme at Aberystwyth, UK and its partners. The programme built up one of the largest Miscanthus germplasm collections outside Asia. We describe the initial strategies to exploit the available genetic diversity to develop varieties. We illustrate the success of combining diverse Miscanthus germplasm and the selection criteria applied across different environments to identify promising hybrids and to develop these into commercial varieties. We discuss the potential for molecular selections to streamline the breeding process. View Full-Text
Keywords: Miscanthus; Breeding; Perennial Biomass Crop; Wide Hybrids; Bioenergy; Bioeconomy Miscanthus; Breeding; Perennial Biomass Crop; Wide Hybrids; Bioenergy; Bioeconomy
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MDPI and ACS Style

Clifton-Brown, J.; Schwarz, K.-U.; Awty-Carroll, D.; Iurato, A.; Meyer, H.; Greef, J.; Gwyn, J.; Mos, M.; Ashman, C.; Hayes, C.; Huang, L.; Norris, J.; Rodgers, C.; Scordia, D.; Shafiei, R.; Squance, M.; Swaller, T.; Youell, S.; Cosentino, S.; Flavell, R.; Donnison, I.; Robson, P. Breeding Strategies to Improve Miscanthus as a Sustainable Source of Biomass for Bioenergy and Biorenewable Products. Agronomy 2019, 9, 673. https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy9110673

AMA Style

Clifton-Brown J, Schwarz K-U, Awty-Carroll D, Iurato A, Meyer H, Greef J, Gwyn J, Mos M, Ashman C, Hayes C, Huang L, Norris J, Rodgers C, Scordia D, Shafiei R, Squance M, Swaller T, Youell S, Cosentino S, Flavell R, Donnison I, Robson P. Breeding Strategies to Improve Miscanthus as a Sustainable Source of Biomass for Bioenergy and Biorenewable Products. Agronomy. 2019; 9(11):673. https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy9110673

Chicago/Turabian Style

Clifton-Brown, John, Kai-Uwe Schwarz, Danny Awty-Carroll, Antonella Iurato, Heike Meyer, Jörg Greef, Jeff Gwyn, Michal Mos, Christopher Ashman, Charlotte Hayes, Lin Huang, John Norris, Charlie Rodgers, Danilo Scordia, Reza Shafiei, Michael Squance, Timothy Swaller, Sue Youell, Salvatore Cosentino, Richard Flavell, Iain Donnison, and Paul Robson. 2019. "Breeding Strategies to Improve Miscanthus as a Sustainable Source of Biomass for Bioenergy and Biorenewable Products" Agronomy 9, no. 11: 673. https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy9110673

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