Miscanthus Genetics. and Agronomy for. Bioenergy Feedstock

Maryse Brancourt-Hulmel1,2, Charlotte Demay2, Emeline Rosiau1,
Fabien Ferchaud2, Linda Bethencourt1, Stephanie Arnoult1,3,
Camille Dauchy1, Nicolas Beaudoin2, and Hubert Boizard
2

INRA (l’Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique), France
1Joint Research Unit INRA/USTL Abiotic Stress and Differentiation of Cultivated Plants

(UMR SADV)

2Research Unit Agro resources and environmental impacts (INRA UR AgroImpact)
3Experimental Unit Crops Innovation Environment — Picardy (INRA EU GCIE Picardy)

4.1 Introduction

Miscanthus, a tall, perennial, rhizomatous C4 grass of the Poaceae family [1,2] is a good candidate for a cellulosic energy crop. The name Miscanthus originates from the Greek mischos (pedicel) and anthos (flower) and refers to the stalked or pedicellate spikelets of the Miscanthus inflorescence. Several species belong to the genus with ploidy ranging from diploid to hexaploid [3]. The basic chromosome number corresponds to x = 19 [4]. Miscanthus is capable of high biomass production with minimal inputs [5]. Tropical and subtropical genotypes of Miscanthus grow to 3-4 m when cultivated in Europe and even higher in the warm and wet climates of south-east Asia. Miscanthus rhizomes, or microplants, are planted in spring with canes developing during the summer and harvested annually during the late autumn or winter, following the second or third growing season. The lifetime of the crop varies from 20 to 25 years [6]; long-term Miscanthus plantations can contribute to soil carbon storage [7]. Miscanthus spreads naturally via its underground

Cellulosic Energy Cropping Systems, First Edition. Edited by Douglas L. Karlen. © 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Published 2014 by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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Figure 4.1 Geographical distribution of Miscanthus s. l. in the world. (Adapted from Deuter [19], Hodkinson et al. [11] and Clifton-Brown et al. [3]).

storage organs or rhizomes but some species can also be seed-propagated. As Miscanthus is propagated vegetatively, the clone is the most common variety type. This chapter provides details about Miscanthus as a cellulosic energy crop.

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