Reinventing Giant Miscanthus - NC State University

Development, evaluation, and commercialization of improved bioenergy crops are key elements for growing a competitive and sustainable biofuels industry in North Carolina.  Due to the generic nature of most bioenergy crops, there is considerable potential for developing improved fuelstocks ideally suited for Western North Carolina. Giant miscanthus is a naturally occurring, sterile hybrid that has gained significant attention as a high-yielding bioenergy feedstock throughout the world. These grasses are capable of producing high yields with minimal inputs and can be grown on marginal land.  However, giant miscanthus is largely unimproved and there is little genetic variability within this hybrid group.  Traditional breeding has considerable potential for reinventing giant miscanthus with enhanced production characteristics.  The overall goal of this project is to develop and evaluate improved giant miscanthus with higher yields, broad genetic diversity, propagation capacity, and non-invasiveness as a sustainable bioenergy crop.