Breeding and genomics for increased yield of shrub willow bioenergy crops

Program or topic

Breeding and genomics for increased yield of shrub willow bioenergy crops

Department(s) or unit(s)

Dept. of Horticulture

Contact information

Lawrence Smart, Associate Professor
lbs33@cornell.edu

Program goals

Develop of new varieties of shrub willow for bioenergy crops that produce higher yields with low inputs on marginal agricultural land.

Brief Description

There are great opportunities to grow dedicated bioenergy crops on marginal or underutilized land in the Northeast and Midwest. Fast-growing shrub willow is one of the sustainable perennial crops that is very well suited for this purpose.

Willow stems are harvested every three years and the plants resprout after each cutback, making willow fields productive for more than 20 years. Woody biomass from willow can be used as a sustainable, locally-produced, carbon-neutral fuel for production of renewable heat, power, and biofuels.

My research program is focused on the development of new varieties of shrub willow that produce higher yields with low inputs on marginal agricultural land. We have bred and commercialized novel species hybrids with at least 20% greater yield and improved pest and disease resistance.

I am also leading a project to have the willow genome sequenced by the Department of Energy’s Joint Genome Initiative, providing a database of genetic information to speed the breeding program and expand our understanding of woody plant biology.

For more information

Web links:

Larry Smart

Double A Willow

Willowpedia

Publications:

  • Smart, L.B. and Cameron, K.D. (2012) Shrub willow. In Kole, C., Joshi, C. P., and Shonnard, D. R. (eds.) Handbook of Bioenergy Crop Plants, Taylor and Francis Group, Boca Raton, FL. pp. 687-708. http://www.crcpress.com/product/isbn/9781439816844
  • Lee S.J., Warnick T.A., Pattathil S., Alvelo-Maurosa J.G., Serapiglia M.J., McCormick H., Brown V., Young N.F., Schnell D.J., Smart L.B., Hahn M.G., Pedersen J.F., Leschine S.B., Hazen S.P. (2012) Biological conversion assay using Clostridium phytofermentans to estimate plant feedstock quality. Biotech. Biofuels 5:1-14. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3348094/?tool=pubmed
  • Puckett, E. E., Serapiglia, M. J., DeLeon, A. M., Long, S., Minocha, R., & Smart, L. B. (2012) Differential expression of genes encoding phosphate transporters contributes to arsenic tolerance and accumulation in shrub willow (Salix spp.). Environ. Exper. Bot. 75:248-257. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0098847211001717


Category: Agriculture/Farming, Bio-energy/-fuel/-gas, Bio-energy/biofuel crops, Energy

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