Traits and Genes for Plant Drought Tolerance

  • John MulletEmail author
Part of the Biotechnology in Agriculture and Forestry book series (AGRICULTURE, volume 63)

World population has increased from ˜1 billion to over 6 billion since 1900, and another 4 –5 billion people may be added before the human population peaks between 2025 –2050 (Khush 1999). At a minimum, crop productivity will need to double on land currently used for agriculture to feed this population (Briggs 1998; Khush 1999). However, the actual increase in demand for agricultural products is likely to be much greater for several reasons. Rapid economic development in China, India and many other parts of the world is leading to higher consumption of animal protein, which requires more grain per calorie consumed compared to grain-based diets. In addition there is growing demand for biofuels and other bioproducts from agriculture. The biomass needed for biofuel production will be derived from grain (starch), sugarcane and sweet sorghum (sugars, bagasse), crop residues (cellulose) and a new generation of dedicated bioenergy crops that produce large amounts of ligno-cellulose. In the USA alone, grain-based ethanol production has increased from ?1.5 billion gal in 2000 to ?3.9 billion gal in 2005, consuming approximately ?14% of the US corn crop (Somerville 2007). The goal is for the USA to produce up to 60 billion gal of biofuels by 2030, which will require significant acreage dedicated to biofuel crops, such as energy cane, bioenergy sorghum, switchgrass, miscanthus and other new crops (Perlack et al. 2005). Minimizing the competition between land used for growing crops for food vs. fuel can only be achieved if crops grown for bioenergy/biofuels are grown on marginal land that is not suitable for food crops and if crop productivity overall is increased.


Drought Tolerance Sweet Sorghum Glycine Betaine Improve Drought Tolerance Curr Opin Plant Biol 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, B.V 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biochemistry and BiophysicsTexas A&M UniversityUSA

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