Harnessing solar energy from grasses to produce cellulosic biofuels
Cost efficient conversion of lignocellulosic biomass into bioethanol requires changes in cell wall characteristics and yield. The Poaceae family, represented by rice, holds great promise to the bio-fuel industry, which include all cereals and crops such as switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.). Currently used primarily for forage and erosion control, switchgrass has recently received attention from breeders because of its potential as a bioenergy crop. There is now a tremendous opportunity to leverage genomic information from other grass species such as rice for switchgrass improvement. The Ronald lab is using a variety of approaches, together with collaborators, to investigate cell wall synthesis and function.
For more information, please see our JBEI and DOE-USDA- funded projects.