In California, research by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, UC Berkeley, the University of Oklahoma, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation is looking into whether switchgrass cultivation could result in an enhancement of key ecosystem services such as carbon sequestration, soil fertility and biodiversity.
The team recently received funding from the Department of Energy’s Office of Biological and Environmental Research to conduct the research. LLNL will receive about $1.6 million over five years.
The team found that switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) can grow and propagate in marginal soils, making it a good candidate for sustainable biofuel production. At LLNL, the team will conduct both isotope tracing studies with the Lab’s NanoSIMS imaging mass spectrometer and measurements of gene expression to help identify how probiotic microorganisms alter interactions with switchgrass.