Since 2002, researchers at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, Illinois, have been studying the perennial warm-season grass Miscanthus x giganteus (M. x g.) to determine its potential as a biomass feedstock. M. x 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. x 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. x 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.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology