Volume 581 of the series Methods in Molecular Biology pp 41-52


Agronomic Experiences with Miscanthus x giganteus in Illinois, USA

  • Richard PyterAffiliated withDepartment of Crop Sciences, University of Illinois
  • , Emily HeatonAffiliated withDepartment of Agronomy, Iowa State University
  • , Frank DohlemanAffiliated withDepartment of Plant Biology, University of Illinois
  • , Tom VoigtAffiliated withDepartment of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences, University of Illinois
  • , Stephen LongAffiliated withDepartment of Crop Sciences and Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences, University of Illinois

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Since 2002, researchers at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, Illinois, have been studying the perennial warm-season grass Miscanthus × giganteus (M. × g.) to determine its potential as a biomass feedstock. M. × g. originated in Japan and is a hybrid believed to have M. sinensis and M. sacchariflorus as its parents. Until recently, it was used as a landscape plant in the United States, but it is now the subject of research interest because of its potentially great biomass production. In central Illinois, M. × g. begins growth in April, typically reaches 2 m by the end of May, and is normally greater than 3 m by the end of September. The grass is sterile and propagated asexually using plantlets produced in tissue culture or by rhizome divisions. Following field planting, it generally takes at least three growing seasons to become fully established and reach optimal biomass production. In central Illinois, the senesced stems are harvested from early December through early March and can potentially be treated to produce ligno-cellulosic ethanol. In University of Illinois, research started in 2002. M. × g. produced an annual average of 22.0 t/ha in northern Illinois, 34.7 t/ha in central Illinois, and 35.4 t/ha in southern Illinois per year in 2004, 2005, and 2006.

Key words

Miscanthus x giganteus Giant Miscanthus M. floridulus M. sacchariflorus M. sinensis Rhizome Vegetative propagation Biofuel Renewable energy