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Open AccessReview

Perennial Energy Grasses: Resilient Crops in a Changing European Agriculture

Dipartimento di Agricoltura, Alimentazione e Ambiente (Di3A), University of Catania, via Valdisavoia 5, 95123 Catania, Italy
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Agriculture 2019, 9(8), 169; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture9080169
Received: 24 June 2019 / Revised: 22 July 2019 / Accepted: 26 July 2019 / Published: 1 August 2019
This review describes the multiple utilization of perennial grasses as resilient crops for a multifunctional agriculture. Beyond its role of producing food, feed and fiber, the concept of multifunctional agriculture includes many other functions, such as ecosystem services, renewable energy production and a contribution to the socio-economic viability of rural areas. Traditionally used for feed, some perennial grasses—known as perennial energy grasses (e.g., miscanthus—Miscanthus × giganteus Greef et Deuter, giant reed—Arundo donax L., switchgrass—Panicun virgatum L., reed canary grass—Phalaris arundinacea L.)—have been recommended as a biomass source for both energy and non-energy applications, and ecosystem services. Perennial grasses are lignocellulosic, low-cost feedstock, able to grow in variable environments including marginal lands. Due to their high yield, resilient traits, biomass composition, energy and environmental sustainability, perennial grasses are a candidate feedstock to foster the bio-based economy and adapt to a changing agriculture. However, perennial grasses for biomass production are largely undomesticated crops, or are at early stages of development. Hence, a great potential for improvements is expected, provided that research on breeding, agronomy, post-harvest logistic and bioconversion is undertaken in order to deliver resilient genotypes growing and performing well across a broad range of environmental conditions, climatic uncertainty, marginal land type and end-use destinations. View Full-Text
Keywords: ideotype; marginal land; land use change; bio-economy; multifunctional; biomass ideotype; marginal land; land use change; bio-economy; multifunctional; biomass
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Scordia, D.; Cosentino, S.L. Perennial Energy Grasses: Resilient Crops in a Changing European Agriculture. Agriculture 2019, 9, 169.

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Agriculture, EISSN 2077-0472, Published by MDPI AG
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