W658 Designing Next Generation Sorghum Bioenergy Feedstock

Date: Wednesday, January 18, 2012
Time: 11:45 AM
Room: Pacific Salon 2
Oswald R. Crasta , Chromatin, Inc, Chicago, IL
Chromatin, Inc., (http://chromatininc.com/) is developing a fully-integrated system for the design, development, growing and pre-processing of sorghum feedstocks for bioenergy production. Working with industry leaders in biomass processing, Chromatin is targeting thermochemical conversion processes including combustion of biomass for biopower (directly and blending of biomass for co-firing with coal); pyrolysis-based thermochemical conversion of lignocelluloses for biofuel production, and gasification for production of syngas. The main goal of Chromatin’s phenomics project is to enhance development of sorghum hybrids specifically targeted for thermochemical conversion of lignocellulosic biomass to bioenergy. Population structure analysis of >400 sorghum lines is being conducted using >700 genome-wide SNPs. One hundred and fifty of these sorghum lines were grown in replicated field trials to assess the suitability of the biomass as feedstock for different bioenergy processes. Both DNA and RNA from the genotypes are being used to identify SNPs through Genotyping-by-Sequencing  approach, as well as gene networks through gene expression profiling of different tissue-developmental stages using the newly developed sorghum Affymetrix microarrays. Chromatin is also applying its proprietary gene stacking mini-chromosome platform to genetically engineer sorghum to produce advanced biofuels. Chromatin and its collaborators will genetically engineer sorghum with multiple genes involved in terpenoid biosynthesis to specifically produce farnesene, which can be readily extracted from plants and cheaply converted into a drop-in renewable transportation biofuel. The progress towards designing the next generation sorghum bioenergy feedstock will be presented. This project is partially funded through ARPA-E Cooperative Agreement DE-AR0470-1541: Plant based sesquiterpene biofuels to Chromatin Inc.