Sorghum: Study of Crop’s Drought Tolerance Funded in California, Nebraska

    Field of 84P80 near Lubbock, Texas, August 2015. Coloring up during the dog days of summer. Photo by Jeff Miller,

    Sorghum’s reputation as a scrappy energy crop that adapts well to adverse growing conditions is paying off. For the second time this year, the Department of Energy is doling out more than $25 million to fund two projects, one led by the University of Nebraska and one led by the University California-Berkeley. That brings DOE funding for sorghum to a total of $55.8 million in the past six months, according to a news release from the National Sorghum Producers.

    The California project will focus on the “role that epigenetic signals play over time in acclimation to and recovery from drought” in sorghum cultivars, according to a DOE summary. The goal of the project is to improve sorghum’s biomass production in water-stressed environments.

    The Nebraska-led research team will examine how the plant, microbes, and the environment interact to control nitrogen and water use in sorghum, with the goal of finding genetic and microbial solutions for plants growing in thirsty and nitrogen-limited environments.

    For more information on the projects, see the DOE research summaries here.

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