Researchers Present the Benefits of Sorghum as Biofuel Crop
Scientists from Purdue University, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the University of Illinois and Cornell University claim that sweet and biomass sorghum would meet the need for next-generation biofuels to be environmentally sustainable, can be easily adopted by producers and are able to take advantage of existing agricultural infrastructure.
Purdue Agronomy professor Cliff Weil explained that some types of sorghum, a grain crop similar to corn, is believed to adapt on marginal lands and would only require fewer inputs. Nick Carpita, Purdue professor in Botany and Plant Pathology, argued that compared to corn which has been bred to produce a maximum amount of seed and thus requires a lot of nitrogen, sorghum could be genetically developed in a way that maximizes cellulose, minimizes seeds and, therefore, minimizes inputs like nitrogen.
Also, sorghum is a crop familiar with farmers because it is an annual, unlike perennials such as switchgrass or Miscanthus, that would take up a field for a decade or longer. It could therefore fit in a normal crop rotation with food crops. Farzad Taheripour, a Purdue research assistant professor of agricultural economics, further explained that producing sorghum for biofuel will significantly improve the economy of rural areas that rely on low-productivity agriculture given that sorghum can be produced on low-quality, marginal lands in dry areas.
See the news release of Purdue University at http://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/research/2012/120619CarpitaSorghum.html.
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)