Biotech Updates

UNR Scientists Develop Water-wise Biofuel Crops

October 10, 2012

Scientists at the University of Nevada received a grant from the United States Department of Energy to develop new technologies to redesign bioenergy crops to grow on economically marginal agricultural lands and produce biomass for biofuels. They will use the water-use efficient photosynthesis characteristics from drought tolerant cops like agave and cactus into woody biomass plants such as poplar to withstand the expected long-term increases in temperatures and reduced rainfall.

They aim to alter the plants' metabolic mechanism so that it can take up carbon dioxide during night time when water loss could be lower. This mechanism of nocturnal photosynthesis is called crassulacean acid metabolism (CAM). They will genetically introduce CAM-like properties to poplar using comprehensive plant transformation techniques.

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