W079 Exploiting Miscanthus Diversity for Improved Crop Yield and Quality

Date: Saturday, January 14, 2012
Time: 4:20 PM
Room: Pacific Salon 2
Paul R. H. Robson , Institute of Biological, Environmental & Rural Sciences (IBERS), Aberystwyth University, Aberystwyth, United Kingdom
Michal Mos , Institute of Biological Environmental & Rural Sciences, Abersytwyth, United Kingdom
Kerrie Farrar , Aberystwyth University, Aberystwyth, United Kingdom
Xue-Feng Ma , Ceres Inc, CA
Gancho T. Slavov , Institute of Biological, Environmental & Rural Sciences, Aberystwyth University
Elaine Jensen , IBERS, Aberyswyth University, Ceredigion, United Kingdom
Nickolai Alexandrov , Ceres, Inc., Thousand Oaks, CA
Timothy Swaller , Ceres Inc., CA
John C. Clifton-Brown , Institute of Environmental Biological and Rural Sciences (IBERS), Aberystwyth, United Kingdom
Iain Donnison , Aberystwyth University, United Kingdom
Linking phenotype to genotype in Miscanthus not only provides fundamental understanding of how a giant perennial plant develops, but also enables the development of molecular markers which can be used to accelerate traditional breeding. The extensive Miscanthus germplasm collection at IBERS is being exploited to better understand and predict the impact of traits for breeding improved Miscanthus. Targets for breeding include improved yield under differrent environments and improved yield quality for either thermal or chemical conversion. Field trials have been designed for studies of diversity relevant to yield and yield quality. Targeted traits include spring emergence, canopy closure, plant growth rate, flowering time, senescence, stem height, stem diameter, tillering, resource partitioning, biomass yield and biomass composition including moisture content. Traits relevant to optimising resource capture have been identified and by combining early season traits (emergence, canopy establishment & elongation growth) and late season traits (senescence) the impact of canopy duration on crop yield has been demonstrated. Senescence affects both canopy duration, nutrient use efficiency and crop quality and consequently is an important trait for optimisation in bioenergy crops. Senescence is difficult to quantify in field conditions therefore effective identification of senescence associated QTL may benefit from the development of novel phenotyping technologies which will be discussed. Trait associations are being used to develop a Miscanthus ideotype and mapping populations targeted toward studies of selected traits are being developed. To exploit mapping populations markers are being developed and a summary of ongoing QTL mapping studies will be presented.