Bioenergy and biofuel projects win DOE support

A number of research projects focused on bioenergy and biofuels have been selected for the US Community Science Programme (CSP) of the US Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute.

The 30 successful CSP proposals were selected from 76 full submissions based on 94 letters of intent. Among the projects aiming to investigate genomic and analytical capabilities are several focused on the underlying mechanisms of bioenergy generation and biogeochemical processes.

Boulos Chalhoub of the French National Institute for Agricultural Research is set to explore how DNA methylation and repeated hybridisation have shaped the polyploid Brachypodium hybridium, a relative of candidate bioenergy grasses such as switchgrass.

Udaya Kalluri of Oak Ridge National Laboratory is aiming to determine how modifying plant cell walls in the candidate bioenergy feedstock crop poplar, can affect plant-microbe interactions and the utility of poplar for biofuel production.

Norma Martinez-Gomez of Michigan State University aims to identify the rare earth element dependent enzymes involved in plant-microbe interactions that can boost the potential crop yields of, for example, candidate bioenergy feedstocks, while reducing the need for fertilisers.

“These new CSP projects demonstrate further growth into multi-omics, with nearly all requesting functional genomics technologies including transcriptomics, epigenomics and metabolomics, and roughly half spanning more than one of our Science Programs,” said Susannah Tringe, DOE JGI User Programs Deputy.

“They bring exciting new investigators, ideas and approaches to the application of genomics to DOE mission science.”

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