Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Potential bioenergy feedstock Miscanthus has a fighting chance against weeds

Date:
January 10, 2011
Source:
University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences
Summary:
Researchers report that several herbicides used on corn also have good selectivity to Miscanthus x giganteus (Giant Miscanthus), a potential bioenergy feedstock.

Research conducted at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign confirmed that most herbicides used on corn crops can be safely used to kill weeds in Miscanthus fields.
Credit: Eric Anderson, University of Illinois

University of Illinois research reports that several herbicides used on corn also have good selectivity to Miscanthus x giganteus (Giant Miscanthus), a potential bioenergy feedstock.

"No herbicides are currently labeled for use in Giant Miscanthus grown for biomass," said Eric Anderson, an instructor of bioenergy for the Center of Advanced BioEnergy Research at the University of Illinois. "Our research shows that several herbicides used on corn are also safe on this rhizomatous grass."

M. x giganteus is sterile and predominantly grown by vegetative propagation, or planting rhizomes instead of seed. This can be a very costly investment and requires a 1- to 2-year establishment period. Anderson's research showed that Giant Miscanthus does not compete well with weeds during establishment, especially early emerging weeds.

"There's a great cost in establishing Giant Miscanthus," Anderson said. "It's important to protect this investment, especially if it goes commercial. When weeds outcompete Giant Miscanthus, the result is stunted growth and lack of tillering. Basically, you are risking the crop's ability to overwinter."

The study, funded by the Ingersoll Fellowship, the Illinois Council on Food and Agricultural Research and the Energy Biosciences Institute, screened 16 post-herbicides and 6 pre-herbicides in a greenhouse setting. Several herbicides, particularly those with significant activity on grass species, caused plant injury ranging from 6 to 71 percent and/or reduced M. x giganteus dry mass by 33 to 78 percent.

Researchers then narrowed these herbicides down to the safest options and evaluated them in field trials replicated over two years. Field experiments confirmed the greenhouse experiments. Pre-emergence herbicides and herbicides with broadleaf-specific activity generally did not produce significant injury or reduce aboveground biomass while herbicides with considerable grass activity tended to cause injury ranging from 22 to 25 percent and reduce biomass by 69 to 78 percent.

"We discovered the anecdotes were true for the most part," he said. "Herbicides that are safe to use on corn demonstrate good selectivity to Giant Miscanthus."

Anderson said it's more difficult to kill a grass weed in a grass crop such as Giant Miscanthus. Identifying herbicides that don't hurt its yield or growth and maturity also posed challenges for researchers.

"I think the key is finding pre-emergence herbicides that you can get in early to take care of weed problems in Giant Miscanthus," he said.

Atrazine is one of the herbicides that proved safe on M. x giganteus.

"The good news is that atrazine is completely safe pre- or post-emergence," he said. "Atrazine is cheap and relatively effective. One of the major reasons we are continuing to screen more herbicides is to find additional effective options if atrazine utilization were limited in areas where Giant Miscanthus might be grown."

While there remains no approved label use for herbicides on M. x giganteus for biofuel production, Anderson hopes this research can serve as a foundation for either growers to begin an IR-4 specialty product process or for a major chemical company to add it to their label in the future.

Giant Miscanthus production is picking up in states such as Kentucky and Georgia, he said. He believes adding this feedstock to herbicide labels is not far off, but may be dependent on USDA's support of cellulosic ethanol.

This research was published in Weed Technology. Researchers included Anderson, Thomas Voigt, Germαn Bollero and Aaron Hager.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences. The original article was written by Jennifer Shike. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Eric K. Anderson, Thomas B. Voigt, Germαn A. Bollero, Aaron G. Hager. Miscanthus Χ giganteus Response to Preemergence and Postemergence Herbicides. Weed Technology, 2010; 24 (4): 453 DOI: 10.1614/WT-D-10-00044.1

Cite This Page:

University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences. "Potential bioenergy feedstock Miscanthus has a fighting chance against weeds." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 January 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110110141959.htm>.
University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences. (2011, January 10). Potential bioenergy feedstock Miscanthus has a fighting chance against weeds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110110141959.htm
University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences. "Potential bioenergy feedstock Miscanthus has a fighting chance against weeds." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110110141959.htm (accessed October 23, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Working Mother DIY: Pumpkin Pom-Pom

Working Mother DIY: Pumpkin Pom-Pom

Working Mother (Oct. 22, 2014) — How to make a pumpkin pom-pom. Video provided by Working Mother
Powered by NewsLook.com
San Diego Zoo's White Rhinos Provide Hope for the Critically Endangered Species

San Diego Zoo's White Rhinos Provide Hope for the Critically Endangered Species

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Oct. 22, 2014) — The pair of rare white northern rhinos bring hope for their species as only six remain in the world. Elly Park reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Bear Cub Strolls Through Oregon Drug Store

Raw: Bear Cub Strolls Through Oregon Drug Store

AP (Oct. 22, 2014) — Shoppers at an Oregon drug store were surprised by a bear cub scurrying down the aisles this past weekend. (Oct. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Family Pleads for Pet Pig to Stay at Home

Family Pleads for Pet Pig to Stay at Home

AP (Oct. 22, 2014) — The Johnson family lost their battle with the Chesterfield County, Virginia Planning Commission to allow Tucker, their pet pig, to stay in their home, but refuse to let the board keep Tucker away. (Oct. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins