Breeding strategies to improve Miscanthus as a sustainable source of biomass for bioenergy and biorenewable products

John Clifton-Brown, 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 FlavellIain Donnison, Paul Robson

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Abstract

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.

Original languageEnglish
Article number673
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
JournalAgronomy
Volume9
Issue number11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 24 Oct 2019

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Miscanthus
bioenergy
biomass
breeding
East Asia
harness
plant breeders
germplasm conservation
selection criteria
genetic resources
abiotic stress
germplasm
fossils
drought
grasses
breeds
climate
genetic variation
seeds

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Clifton-Brown, J., Schwarz, K. U., Awty-Carroll, D., Iurato, A., Meyer, H., Greef, J., ... Robson, P. (2019). Breeding strategies to improve Miscanthus as a sustainable source of biomass for bioenergy and biorenewable products. Agronomy, 9(11), 1-17. [673]. https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy9110673
Clifton-Brown, John ; Schwarz, Kai Uwe ; Awty-Carroll, Danny ; Iurato, Antonella ; Meyer, Heike ; Greef, Jörg ; Gwyn, Jeff ; Mos, Michal ; Ashman, Christopher ; Hayes, Charlotte ; Huang, Lin ; Norris, John ; Rodgers, Charlie ; Scordia, Danilo ; Shafiei, Reza ; Squance, Michael ; Swaller, Timothy ; Youell, Sue ; Cosentino, Salvatore ; Flavell, Richard ; Donnison, Iain ; Robson, Paul. / Breeding strategies to improve Miscanthus as a sustainable source of biomass for bioenergy and biorenewable products. In: Agronomy. 2019 ; Vol. 9, No. 11. pp. 1-17.
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Clifton-Brown, J, Schwarz, KU, 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 2019, 'Breeding strategies to improve Miscanthus as a sustainable source of biomass for bioenergy and biorenewable products', Agronomy, vol. 9, no. 11, 673, pp. 1-17. https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy9110673

Breeding strategies to improve Miscanthus as a sustainable source of biomass for bioenergy and biorenewable products. / Clifton-Brown, John; Schwarz, Kai Uwe; Awty-Carroll, Danny; Iurato, Antonella; Meyer, Heike; Greef, Jörg; Gwyn, Jeff; Mos, Michal; Ashman, Christopher; Hayes, Charlotte; Huang, Lin; Norris, John; Rodgers, Charlie; Scordia, Danilo; Shafiei, Reza; Squance, Michael; Swaller, Timothy; Youell, Sue; Cosentino, Salvatore; Flavell, Richard; Donnison, Iain; Robson, Paul.

In: Agronomy, Vol. 9, No. 11, 673, 24.10.2019, p. 1-17.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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AU - Clifton-Brown, John

AU - Schwarz, Kai Uwe

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AU - Iurato, Antonella

AU - Meyer, Heike

AU - Greef, Jörg

AU - Gwyn, Jeff

AU - Mos, Michal

AU - Ashman, Christopher

AU - Hayes, Charlotte

AU - Huang, Lin

AU - Norris, John

AU - Rodgers, Charlie

AU - Scordia, Danilo

AU - Shafiei, Reza

AU - Squance, Michael

AU - Swaller, Timothy

AU - Youell, Sue

AU - Cosentino, Salvatore

AU - Flavell, Richard

AU - Donnison, Iain

AU - Robson, Paul

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N2 - 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.

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Clifton-Brown J, Schwarz KU, Awty-Carroll D, Iurato A, Meyer H, Greef J et al. Breeding strategies to improve Miscanthus as a sustainable source of biomass for bioenergy and biorenewable products. Agronomy. 2019 Oct 24;9(11):1-17. 673. https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy9110673