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Texas AgriLife Research gets a helping hand

October 1, 2010
Filed under: Industry News,New Research — www.bioenergyengineering2009.com @ 4:58 pm

The Texas A&M University System has hosted its own agricultural research facility since 1887. Today, the station is known as Texas AgriLife Research, and it has been a part of some of the biggest breakthroughs in agricultural and life science through the years, from developing crops for Texas to innovative cloning experiments. Thanks to a generous 1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agrilife Research is now set to throw its hat into the bioenergy arena.The specific project involves working with energy sorghum, a specialized type of sorghum plant which produces high-quality ethanol. Researchers will be picking and choosing from a variety of sorghum traits to produce 300 different strains, and then analyze the results to see which produces the highest yield with the least number of problems. Geneticist Dr. John Mullet is the lead researcher on the project. In the past, researchers were able to gather 20 tons per acre of the crop, but various issues kept it from being optimal.Sweet sorghum is already successful in Texas and other Great Plains states because of its preference for drier, warmer growing conditions. In these states, it is used for cattle grazing. Before World War II, sweet sorghum syrup was a popular sweetener, but decreasing labor has dropped its production to less than 1 million gallons per year across America.

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