Maize and sorghum: genetic resources for bioenergy grasses

Trends Plant Sci. 2008 Aug;13(8):415-20. doi: 10.1016/j.tplants.2008.06.002. Epub 2008 Jul 21.


The highly photosynthetic-efficient C4 grasses, such as switchgrass (Panicum virgatum), Miscanthus (Miscanthusxgiganteus), sorghum (Sorghum bicolor) and maize (Zea mays), are expected to provide abundant and sustainable resources of lignocellulosic biomass for the production of biofuels. A deeper understanding of the synthesis, deposition and hydrolysis of the distinctive cell walls of grasses is crucial to gain genetic control of traits that contribute to biomass yield and quality. With a century of genetic investigations and breeding success, recently completed genome sequences, well-characterized cell wall compositions, and a close evolutionary relationship with future bioenergy perennial grasses, we propose that maize and sorghum are key model systems for gene discovery relating to biomass yield and quality in the bioenergy grasses.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Biomass
  • Cell Wall / chemistry
  • Cell Wall / metabolism
  • Energy-Generating Resources*
  • Genome, Plant
  • Models, Biological
  • Poaceae / genetics
  • Poaceae / growth & development
  • Poaceae / metabolism*
  • Sorghum / genetics
  • Sorghum / growth & development
  • Sorghum / metabolism*
  • Zea mays / genetics
  • Zea mays / growth & development
  • Zea mays / metabolism*