Sorghum as Bioenergy Crop
Sweet sorghum is an ideal bioenergy crop, a US Department of Agriculture (USDA) study suggests. The crop, a sturdy grass, has unique attributes such as drought tolerance, adaptability to growing conditions, low nitrogen fertilizer requirements, and high biomas (plant material) content, according to USDA molecular biologist Scott Sattler and USDA Agicultural Service (USDA ARS) Jeff Pedersen. Aside from these attributes, sorghum also produces sugar that can be converted to biofuel, with the residual fibers from juice extraction burned to generate electricity.
The study is part of the ARS USDA's efforts to produce up to 36 billion gallons of biofuel by 2022. Sorghum and sugarcane are the top candidates for biofuel production in southeastern US because they are supplementary crops that can extend biofuel production.
Read more about this and other bioenergy research in the September 2012 issue of Agricultural Research magazine at http://www.ars.usda.gov/is/AR/archive/sep12/biofuels0912.htm#sorghum.
This article is part of the Crop Biotech Update, a weekly summary of world developments in agri-biotech for developing countries, produced by the Global Knowledge Center on Crop Biotechnology, International Service for the Aquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications SEAsiaCenter (ISAAA)