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DOE and USDA Funds $5.7M on BioFuels Genomics Research

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The Department of Agriculture and the Department of Energy jointly awarded nine grants totaling $5.7 million for biobased fuels research, the government agencies said Wednesday.
Recently, the DOE has focused on research to develop cellulose-based ethanol as an alternative to gasoline with a roadmap and funding for biofuel labs.
The DOE awarded nearly $3.9 million to fund six projects through its Office of Biological and Environmental Research. The research plans focus on modifing plant lignins to improve lignocellulosic conversion to ethanol or on feedstock genomics.
A team from Purdue University received $1.4 million for a project using reverse genetic approaches and metabolic profiling techniques to plant lignins in poplar.
Oklahoma’s Noble Foundation received $800,000 for a genomics project to modify plant lignins in alfalfa.
Texas A&M University received $800,000 to develop bioinformatic and genome annotation resources for the study of sorghum as a bioenergy crop. The team will use the emerging DOE Joint Genome Institute-generated sorghum whole genome sequence.
USDA-Agricultural Research Service at the University of Wisconsin received $333,000 to develop high-resolution 2D NMR analytical tools for polysaccharide characterization.
Carnegie Institute of Washington received $359,100 to develop a first generation plant glycomics chip for characterization of carbohydrate-active enzymes.
The Brookhaven National Laboratory in New York received $300,000 to develop a medium throughput assay to characterize the acyltransferases potentially involved in lignocellulose biosynthesis.
USDA granted more than $1.8 million to fund three projects through its Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service.
A team from North Carolina State University received $700,000 to use a whole genome level transcriptional profiling approach to characterize cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin composition in poplar.
Kansas State University received $700,000 to combine functional genomics and metabolic profiling approaches to characterize the lignin biosynthesis pathway in diploid wheat. 
University of Georgia received $445,000 in funding to use QTL mapping and candidate gene analysis to identify stem cell wall constituents associated with biomass production in alfalfa.
This is the first year CSREES and OBER made joint awards for this program. The funding will support projects for up to three years.
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