Genetic improvement of willow for bioenergy and biofuels

A - Papers appearing in refereed journals

Karp, A., Hanley, S. J., Trybush, S. O., Macalpine, W. J., Pei, M. H. and Shield, I. F. 2011. Genetic improvement of willow for bioenergy and biofuels. Journal of Integrative Plant Biology. 53 (2), pp. 151-165.

AuthorsKarp, A., Hanley, S. J., Trybush, S. O., Macalpine, W. J., Pei, M. H. and Shield, I. F.

Willows (Salix spp.) are a very diverse group of catkin‐bearing trees and shrubs that are widely distributed across temperate regions of the globe. Some species respond well to being grown in short rotation coppice (SRC) cycles, which are much shorter than conventional forestry. Coppicing reinvigorates growth and the biomass rapidly accumulated can be used as a source of renewable carbon for bioenergy and biofuels. As SRC willows re‐distribute nutrients during the perennial cycle they require only minimal nitrogen fertilizer for growth. This results in fuel chains with potentially high greenhouse gas reductions. To exploit their potential for renewable energy, willows need to be kept free of pests and diseases and yields need to be improved without significantly increasing the requirements for fertilizers and water. The biomass composition needs to be optimized for different end‐uses. Yields also need to be sustainable on land less productive for food crops to reduce conflicts over land use. Advances in understanding the physiology and growth of willow, and in the identification of genes underlying key traits, are now at the stage where they can start to be used in breeding programs to help achieve these goals.

Year of Publication2011
JournalJournal of Integrative Plant Biology
Journal citation53 (2), pp. 151-165
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
PubMed ID21205181
Open accessPublished as bronze (free) open access
FunderBiotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council
Funder project or codeCentre for Biofuels and Climate Change (BCC)
The BBSRC Sustainable Bioenergy Centre (BSBEC): Perennial Bioenergy Crops Programme [2009-2014]
Genetic improvement of perennial biomass crops within a sustainable land use context
Project: 5057
Publisher's version
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online01 Dec 2010
Publication process dates
Accepted01 Dec 2010
Copyright licensePublisher copyright

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