US to provide $75m for sustainable bioenergy crops

They would be tolerant of environmental stress and resilient to changing environmental conditions

The US Department of Energy (DOE) has announced plans to provide up to $75 million (£57.8m) over five years for research into the development of sustainable bioenergy crops.

They would be tolerant of environmental stress and resilient to changing environmental conditions, with research focusing on better understanding the genetic and physiological mechanisms influencing plant productivity and resource use , among other factors.

Researchers are expected to take advantage of advanced “omics” tools and techniques, including genomics, proteomics and metabolomics.

Applications are open to universities, industry and non-profit research institutions as the lead organisation, with possible collaborators at DOE national laboratories and other federal agencies.

Under Secretary for Science Paul Dabbar said: “With this research, the US will lead the way in laying the agricultural foundation for the emerging bio-economy. It’s critical for crops grown for bioenergy and bioproducts to be able to survive and thrive under marginal growing conditions and maintain resiliency to environmental stresses and changes to avoid competing with food production.”

Funding is to be awarded based on peer review and expected to be in the form of five-year grants ranging from $1 million (£0.8m) to $3 million (£2.3m) per year.

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