Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Evaluation of Reed Canarygrass Germplasm for Biofuel Potential.

Julia Olmstead1, E. Charles Brummer1, and Michael Casler2. (1) Iowa State University, 1207 Agronomy Hall, Ames, IA 50011, United States of America, (2) USDA-ARS U.S. Dairy Forage Res.Ctr., 1925 Linden Drive West, Madison, WI 53706-1108

Reed canarygrass (Phalaris arundinacea), a cool-season forage grass, has shown potential for use in production of ethanol from cellulosic biomass. Objectives of this research were to determine differences in agronomic, forage quality and biofuel traits within a diverse set of reed canarygrass germplasm from which new breeding germplasm can be developed. The entire reed canarygrass germplasm collection in the United States was acquired from the National Plant Introduction Station in Pullman, WA. In total, 121 entries were planted in Ames, IA, and 100 entries were planted in Arlington, WI during 1998. Plots were harvested twice in both 1999 and 2000. Significant (p<0.05) differences between genotypes were found within individual locations as well as across locations for nearly all traits related to biomass crops, including yield and height. Additionally, numerous accessions showed yields as high as, or higher than, the elite cultivars such as 'Palaton', suggesting that this collection could be used to develop higher yielding cultivars.