Feedstock Development projects

Germplasm Collection, Nutrient Cycling, Cold Hardiness, Photosynthetic Capacity, and Flowering Phenology of Miscanthus sacchariflorus, Miscanthus sinensis, and Their Natural Hybrids in Native Stands Ranging from Central to Northern Japan -- Completed

Miscanthus x giganteus, a cross between M. sacchariflorus and M. sinensis, is the most promising biofuel cultivar put into production in the United States. However it has only been grown for the last 30 years in the U.S. and Europe. Miscanthus species are native throughout much of Japan and have been cultivated for several hundred years. Consequently, collecting data in Japan provides an opportunity to learn more about the long-term needs of Miscanthus and the impact of its production on carbon sequestration, nutrient cycling, and fertilizer requirements. The project identified cold-hardy strains of Miscanthus and collected germplasm of M. sacchariflorus, M. sinensis and their natural hybrids for a public germplasm collection at the EBI Energy Farm.

project Highlights

2010 Highlights

We established a material transfer agreement, which is compliant with how Japan interprets the Convention on Biological Diversity, between the University of Illinois and Hokkaido University.  This MTA allows us to transfer Miscanthus germplasm from Japan to the U.S. for commercialization.  We also discovered natural hybrids between M. sacchariflorus and M. sinensis.  In addition, we made first estimates of carbon sequestration in long-established Miscanthus grasslands.

2009 Highlights

M. sinensis and M. sacchariflorus germplasm was collected from several locations in northern Hokkaido, Japan, that have severe winter climates. Putative natural hybrid seed of M. sinensis and M. sacchariflorus was also collected in southern Japan. The Stewart lab investigated the nutrient cycling patterns of a several-hundred-year-old M. sinensis grassland in southern Japan and of a 40-year-old M. sinensis grassland in northern Japan.. Measurement of the carbon budget at the northern site indicates the grassland serves as a carbon sink. It also appears that phosphorus and potassium are limiting factors for growth of M. sinensis at this site.



Published in 2012


Soil Carbon and Accumulation over 12,000 years in a Semi-Natural Miscanthus Sinensis Grassland in Southern Japan,  David Howlett, Yo Toma, Hong Wang, Shinji Sugiyama, Toshiko Yamada, Aya Nishiwaki, Fabian Fernandez, J. Ryan Stewart,  CATENA, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/catena.2012.11.002, December 8, 2012 online.


Genetic Comparison of Introduced and Native Populations of Miscanthus sinensis (Poaceae), a Potential Bioenergy Crop, Lauren Quinn, Theresa Culley, J. Ryan Stewart, Grassland Science, doi: 10.1111/j.1744-697X.2012.00248.x, May 17, 2012


Carbon Sequestration in Soil in a Semi-Natural Miscanthus sinensis Grassland and Cryptomeria japonica Forest Plantation in Aso, Kuymamoto, Japan, Yo Toma, J. Ryan Stewart, Toshihiko Yamada, Aya Nishiwaki, Fabian Fernandez, Global Change Biology-Bioenergy, doi: 10.1111/j.1757-1707.2012.01160.x, February 27, 2012.

Published in 2011

Environmental Tolerances of Miscanthus sinensis in Invasive and Native Populations, Lauren Quinn, J. Ryan Stewart, Toshihiko Yamada, Yo Toma, Masanori Sato, Katsuhisa Shimoda, Fabian Fernandez, Bioenergy Research, doi: 10.1007/s12155-011-9163-1, November 25, 2011.


Empirical Evidence of Long-Distance Dispersal in Miscanthus sinensis and Miscanthus x giganteus, Lauren Quinn, David Matlaga, J. Ryan Stewart, Adam Davis, Invasive Plant Science and Management, 4, pp. 142-150, January-March 2011.

Published in 2010

Discovery of Natural Miscanthus (Poaceae) Triploid Plants in Sympatric Populations of Miscanthus sacchariflorus and Miscanthus sinensis in Southern Japan , Aya Nishiwaki, Aki Mizuguti, Shotaro Kuwabara, Yo Toma, Genki Ishigaki, Tomomi Miyashita, Toshihiko Yamada, Hiroya Matuura, Sachi Yamaguchi, A. Lane Rayburn, Ryo Akashi, J. Ryan Stewart, American Journal of Botany, Vol. 98: pp. 154-159, December 20, 2010.


Invasiveness Potential of Miscanthus sinensis: Implications for Bioenergy Production in the United States, Lauren Quinn, Damian Allen, J. Ryan Stewart, Global Change Biology-Bioenergy, 2(6), pps. 310-320, November 10, 2010.


Carbon Budget and Methane and Nitrous Oxide Emissions Over the Growing Season in a Miscanthus sinensis Grassland in Tomakomai, Hokkaido, Japan, Yo Toma, Fabian Fernandez, Syohei Sato, Miki Izumi, Ryusuke Hatano, Toshihiko Yamada, Aya Nishiwaki, German Bollero, J. Ryan Stewart, Global Change Biology-Bioenergy, DOI: 10.1111/j.1757-1707.2010.01070.x, October 18, 2010.


Above-Ground Plant Biomass, Carbon, Nitrogen Dynamics Before and After Burning in a Seminatural Grassland of Miscanthus sinensis in Kumamoto, Japan, Yo Toma, Fabian Fernandez, Aya Nishiwaki, Toshihiko Yamada, German Bollero, J. Ryan Stewart, Global Change Biology - Bioenergy, 2(2): pp. 52-62, April 28, 2010.

Published in 2009

The Ecology and Agronomy of Miscanthus sinensis, a Species Important to Bioenergy Crop Development, in its Native Range in Japan: a Review, J. Ryan Stewart, Yo Toma, Fabian G. Fernandez, Aya Nishiwaki, Toshihiko Yamada, and German Bollero, Global Change Biology - Bioenergy, 1(2): pp. 126-153, March 10, 2009.



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