Combining DOE's leadership in genome-scale technologies with USDA's long experience in crop improvement will help accelerate development of such specialized crops and improve their effectiveness as feedstocks for biofuels production.  The research will make use of the most advanced technologies and techniques of today's genomics-based systems biology.

New projects to be funded this year aim at enhancing productivity, yield, nutrient and water utilization, and sustainability of plant feedstocks. Research focuses on better understanding of basic plant processes that control cell wall composition, plant architecture, cell size and division, wood formation, nutrient uptake, carbon allocation and on the impact of temperature and water availability.

DOE's Office of Science will provide $6.9 million in funding for seven projects, while USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture will award $2 million to fund two projects. Initial funding will support research projects for up to three years.

DOE-funded projects include:

  • USDA-ARS Western Regional Research Center, Albany, Calif., $949,348
  • University of California, Berkeley, Calif., $793,413
  • University of Delaware, Newark, Del., $868,794
  • University of Georgia, Athens, Ga., $1,340,000
  • University of Illinois, Champaign, Ill., $1,165,900
  • University of Missouri, Columbia, Mo, $1,106,656
  • Institute for Advanced Learning and Research, Danville, Va., $734,759

USDA-funded projects include:

  • University of Illinois, Champaign, Ill, $1,000,000
  • Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, $1,000,000

For more information on the individual projects and the joint DOE-USDA Plant Feedstocks Genomics for Bioenergy research program, visit: http://genomicscience.energy.gov/research/DOEUSDA/index.shtml.