Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Technology
Networks
Scientific Communities
 
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

Join For Free

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 3,000+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More Than 4,500+ 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

Transcription Factor Isoforms Implicated in Colon Diseases
UC Riverside study explains how distribution of two forms of a transcription factor in the colon influence risk of disease.
Thursday, May 19, 2016
An E.coli Detector May be in Your Hands Soon
Hand-held device that can be used to detect a variety of pathogens—including foodborne pathogens like E. coli—at all stages in the food supply chain, from fields to restaurants may be available soon.
Monday, May 16, 2016
Fructose Alters Hundreds of Brain Genes
UCLA scientists report that diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids can reverse the damage.
Tuesday, April 26, 2016
Study Yields the Key to Effective Personalized Medicine
A team of UCLA bioengineers and surgeons has taken a major step toward making personalized medicine a reality.
Monday, April 11, 2016
Tracking RNA in Live Cells
Technique may open doors to new treatments for many conditions, from cancer to autism.
Friday, March 18, 2016
Cat Stem Cell Therapy Gives Humans Hope
By the time Bob the cat came to the UC Davis veterinary hospital, he had used up most of his nine lives.
Monday, February 08, 2016
Crowdfunding the Fight Against Cancer
From budding social causes to groundbreaking businesses to the next big band, crowdfunding has helped connect countless worthy projects with like-minded people willing to support their efforts, even in small ways. But could crowdfunding help fight cancer?
Monday, February 08, 2016
Toxic Pollutants Found in Fish Across the World's Oceans
Scripps researchers' analysis shows highly variable pollutant concentrations in fish meat.
Friday, January 29, 2016
Key Enzyme in Pierce’s Disease Grapevine Damage Uncovered
UC Davis plant scientists have identified an enzyme that appears to play a key role in the insect-transmitted bacterial infection of grapevines with Pierce’s disease, which annually costs California’s grape and wine industries more than $100 million.
Wednesday, January 13, 2016
Science Magazine Names CRISPR ‘Breakthrough of the Year’
In its year-end issue, the journal Science chose the CRISPR genome-editing technology invented at UC Berkeley 2015’s Breakthrough of the Year.
Monday, December 21, 2015
Genome Sequencing May Save California's Legendary Sugar Pine
The genome of California’s legendary sugar pine, which naturalist John Muir declared to be “king of the conifers” more than a century ago, has been sequenced by a research team led by UC Davis scientists.
Thursday, December 17, 2015
Cellular “ORACLs” to Aid Drug Discovery
New approach for finding therapeutics is inspired by face-recognition software.
Wednesday, December 16, 2015
New Virus Disovered, Linked To Hepatitis C
Study is first to reveal entire genetic makeup of human pegivirus 2.
Tuesday, December 15, 2015
CRISPR-Cas9 Helps Uncover Genetics of Exotic Organisms
A new study illustrates the ease with which CRISPR-Cas9 can knock out genes in exotic animals to learn how those genes control growth and development.
Friday, December 11, 2015
UC Davis Cracks the Walnut Genome
Scientists at the University of California, Davis, have for the first time sequenced the genome of a commercial walnut variety.
Friday, December 11, 2015
Scientific News
The Rise of 3D Cell Culture and in vitro Model Systems for Drug Discovery and Toxicology
An overview of the current technology and the challenges and benefits over 2D cell culture models plus some of the latest advances relating to human health research.
Scientists Find Evidence That Cancer Can Arise Changes
Researchers at Rockefeller University have found a mutation that affects the proteins that package DNA without changing the DNA itself can cause a rare form of cancer.
Immune Cells Remember Their First Meal
Scientists at the University of Bristol have identified the trigger for immune cells' inflammatory response – a discovery that may pave the way for new treatments for many human diseases.
A New Platform for Discovering Antibiotics
Harvard chemists hope to shorten time, difficulty in measuring their effectiveness, potential.
Biosensor Detects Molecules Linked to Cancer, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's
Novel biosensor has been proven capable of detecting molecules associated with neurodegenerative diseases and some types of cancer.
Gene That Lowers Heart Attack Risk Identified
Individuals with a rare twelve-letter deletion from a gene on chromosome 17 have significantly reduced non-HDL cholesterol levels and a 35% lower than average risk of heart disease.
Non-Toxic Approach to Treating Variety of Cancers
A team of researchers at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine recently discovered a novel, non-toxic approach to treating a wide variety of cancers.
"Sunscreen" Gene May Guard Against Melanoma
USC-led study reveals that melanoma patients with deficient or mutant copies of the gene are less protected from harmful ultraviolet rays.
Real-Time Imaging of Embryo Development Could Pave the Way
Researchers at IMCB have developed advanced microscopy technologies to monitor embryo development for more effective human reproduction therapies.
Testing Non-Breast/Ovarian Cancer Genes
Researchers have found that expanding gene panel beyond breast/ovarian cancer genes in these patients does not add any clinical benefit. Instead, testing has produced more questions than answers.
Scroll Up
Scroll Down
Skyscraper Banner

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
3,000+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
4,500+ scientific videos
Close
Premium CrownJOIN TECHNOLOGY NETWORKS PREMIUM FOR FREE!