Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Food & Beverage Analysis
Scientific Community
 
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article
  News
Return

$8.4 Million for Food Grain and Alternative Fuel Research

Published: Monday, November 12, 2012
Last Updated: Monday, November 12, 2012
Bookmark and Share
UC Davis plant scientist Eduardo Blumwald is reaching out to feed and fuel the world.

With his laboratory colleagues, Blumwald uses genetic engineering to improve the drought tolerance and efficiency of switchgrass, a native North American grass valued for its potential as a sustainable source of fuel, and to develop heat- and drought-tolerant varieties of pearl millet, a vitally important grain for India and Africa. Blumwald holds the Will W. Lester Chair in the UC Davis Department of Plant Sciences.

The U.S. Department of Energy recently awarded a five-year, $6.6 million grant to Blumwald and his collaborators at the U.S. Department of Agriculture to support his research into switchgrass, which has the advantages of being a high-yielding and adaptable perennial plant. Working with Blumwald on the project are John Vogel, Christian Tobias, and Roger Thilmony, all at the USDA Agricultural Research Service Western Regional Research Center in Albany, Calif.

Blumwald and his colleagues will use the grant to develop new molecular biology tools to accelerate switchgrass breeding. Via genetic engineering, the team also will introduce traits recently developed at UC Davis to rapidly increase both the plant’s drought tolerance and nutrient-use efficiency.
Because current switchgrass varieties are only a few generations removed from their undomesticated predecessors, scientists anticipate that there is considerable potential for improving the plant as an emerging energy crop.

In order to ensure that the crop yields more energy than it requires to produce and does not compete with food crops, switchgrass and all other crops grown specifically for biomass must be grown with minimal fertilizer and water on marginal lands unsuitable for producing food crops.

In the second project, funded by a $1.8 million, four-year grant from the U.S. Agency for International Development and matched by in-kind support from the industry partners, the Blumwald lab is using biotechnology tools to develop new varieties of pearl millet, a small-seeded grass that has been grown in Africa and India for thousands of years. The project is part of Feed the Future, the U.S. government’s global hunger and food security initiative. Led by USAID, Feed the Future leverages the strengths of U.S. agencies and works with partners to address poverty and undernutrition around the world.

Pearl millet is an important grain crop because it will tolerate poor soils as well as heat and drought — conditions that are badly suited for growing other grain crops like corn and wheat. As millet increases in value as both a food and feed crop, there is a greater need to enhance its tolerance to heat and drought so that it will produce stable yields even in marginal environments. This is especially important for impoverished regions of Africa and India.

UC Davis is collaborating on the pearl millet project with an international consortium of researchers, including scientists at Arcadia Biosciences, headquartered in Davis; the nonprofit International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics, headquartered near Hyderabad, India; and Krishidhan Seeds, also of India. The goal of the partnership is to develop indigenous drought-tolerant pearl millet varieties that will help farmers in India and Africa deal with harsh environmental conditions and open the doors for higher-yielding millet crops.

UC Davis’ role in the partnership will be to identify metabolic and genetic pathways for plant-stress tolerance, and to introduce genes and gene combinations that have been shown to play key roles in conferring to new varieties resistance to drought, heat and salinity.

Arcadia Biosciences and Krishidhan Seeds will make the technology available and support commercialization through private and public partners.


Further Information
Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 2,500+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More than 3,800+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters


Sign In



Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into TechnologyNetworks.com you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.

Related Content

Printed "Smart Cap" Detects Spoiled Food
It might not be long before consumers can just hit “print” to create an electronic circuit or wireless sensor in the comfort of their homes.
Tuesday, July 21, 2015
DNA Sequencing Lifts Veil on Wine’s Microbial Terroir
It’s widely accepted that terroir — the unique blend of a vineyard’s soils, water and climate — sculpts the flavor and quality of wine.
Wednesday, November 27, 2013
Grapevine Virus Screening Saves Napa-Sonoma $60M
Providing disease-free grapevines and rootstock to California’s famed North Coast wine region is money-wise to the tune of more than $60 million annually.
Tuesday, November 19, 2013
Center Targets Ocean Contaminants and Human Health
A new center based at UC San Diego will target emerging contaminants found naturally in common seafood dishes as well as man-made chemicals that accumulate in human breast milk.
Thursday, May 23, 2013
100K Pathogen Genome Project Maps First Genomes
UC project announced that it has sequenced the genomes of its first 10 infectious microorganisms, including strains of Salmonella and Listeria.
Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Quantity of Sugar in Food Supply Linked to Diabetes Rates
Eating too much of any food, including sugar, can cause you to gain weight; it’s the resulting obesity that predisposes people to diabetes, according to the prevailing theory.
Friday, March 01, 2013
Study Finds High Exposure to Food-borne Toxins
Researchers measured food-borne toxin exposure in children and adults by pinpointing foods with high levels of toxic compounds and determining how much of these foods were consumed.
Friday, November 16, 2012
Scientific News
Health Risks of Saturated Fats Aggravated by Immune Response
Research shows that the presence of saturated fats resulted in monocytes migrating into the tissues of vital organs.
Decrease in Foodborne Outbreaks in Denmark
Almost every other registered salmonella infection in Denmark in 2014 was brought back by Danes travelling overseas.
How Safe Is Your Ground Beef?
If you don’t know how the ground beef you eat was raised, you may be putting yourself at higher risk of illness from dangerous bacteria. You okay with that?
Sweeteners Detected in Human Breast Milk
New data show that multiple types of NNS can be passed to nursing infants.
Food Science Team Finds Key to Tasty, Salt-Reduced Bread
Three food science researchers at the University of Alberta have discovered how to reduce salt in bread by half without compromising its taste or texture.
Yorkshire Scientists Could Hold Key to Preventing Future Horsemeat Scandals
Incidents like the horse meat scandal, which caused extensive damage to the UK’s farming and retail industry, could be consigned to the past thanks to revolutionary technology developed in the UK.
Detecting Hidden Ingredients
Researchers from China have used mass spectrometry to reveal the use of undeclared substances in dietary supplements.
Study Questions Presence in Blood of Heart-Healthy Molecules from Fish Oil Supplements
A new study from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania questions the relevance of fish oil-derived SPMs and their purported anti-inflammatory effects in humans.
How To Keep Your Rice Arsenic-Free
Researchers at Queen’s University Belfast have made a breakthrough in discovering how to lower worrying levels of arsenic in rice that is eaten all over the world.
Pesticide Found in 70 Percent of Massachusetts’ Honey Samples
New Harvard University study says that the pesticide commonly found in honey samples is implicated in Colony Collapse Disorder.
SELECTBIO

Skyscraper Banner
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
 
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
2,500+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
3,800+ scientific videos
Close
Premium CrownJOIN TECHNOLOGY NETWORKS PREMIUM FREE!