Progress in upscaling Miscanthus biomass production for the European bio-economy with seed-based hybrids

Authors Organisations
  • John Clifton-Brown(Author)
  • Astley Hastings(Author)
    University of Aberdeen
  • Michal Mos(Author)
  • Jon McCalmont(Author)
  • Chris Ashman(Author)
  • Danny Awty-Carroll(Author)
  • Joanna Cerazy(Author)
    Polish Academy of Sciences
  • Yu-Chung Chiang(Author)
    Sun Yat-Sen University
  • Salvatore Cosentino(Author)
    University of Catania
  • William Cracroft-Eley(Author)
  • Jonathan Scurlock(Author)
    British National Farmers' Union
  • Iain Donnison(Author)
  • Chris Glover(Author)
  • Izabela Golab(Author)
    University of Environmental and Life Sciences
  • Jorg Greef(Author)
    Julius Kühn Institute
  • Jeff Gwyn(Author)
    CERES, Inc
  • Graham Harding(Author)
    Blankney Estates
  • Charlotte Hayes(Author)
  • Waldemar Helios(Author)
    University of Environmental and Life Sciences
  • Tsai Wen Hsu(Author)
    Taiwan Endemic Species Research Institute (TESRI)
  • Lin Huang(Author)
  • Stanislaw Jezownski(Author)
    Polish Academy of Sciences
  • Do-Soon Kim(Author)
    Seoul National University
  • Andreas Kiesel(Author)
    University of Hohenheim
  • Andrzej Kotecki(Author)
    Wrocław University of Environmental and Life Sciences
  • Jacek Krzyzak(Author)
    Institute for Ecology of Industrial Areas
  • Iris Lewandowski(Author)
    University of Hohenheim
  • Soo Hyun Lim(Author)
    Seoul National University
  • Jianxiu Liu(Author)
    Jiangsu Province and Chinese Academy of Science
  • Marc Loosely(Author)
  • Heike Meyer(Author)
    Julius Kühn Institute
  • Donal Murphy-Bokern(Author)
  • Walter Nelson(Author)
    CERES, Inc
  • Marta Pogrzeba(Author)
    Institute for Ecology of Industrial Areas
  • George Robinson(Author)
  • Paul Robson(Author)
  • Charlie Rogers(Author)
    CERES, Inc
  • Giovanni Scalici(Author)
    University of Catania
  • Heinrich Schuele(Author)
    Das Deutsche Agrarzentrum
  • Reza Shafiei(Author)
  • Oksana Shevchuk(Author)
    National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine
  • Kai-Uwe Schwarz(Author)
    Julius Kühn Institute
  • Michael Squance(Author)
  • Timothy Swaller(Author)
    CERES, Inc
  • Judith Thornton(Author)
  • Thomas Truckses(Author)
    University of Hohenheim
  • Vasile Botnari(Author)
    Institute of Genetics, Physiology and Plant Protection (IGFPP)
  • Igor Vizir(Author)
    UK-Ukraine & UK-Moldova Links
  • Moritz Wagner(Author)
    University of Hohenheim
  • Robin Warren(Author)
  • Richard Webster(Author)
  • Toshihiko Yamada(Author)
    Hokkaido University
  • Susan Youell(Author)
  • Qingguo Xi(Author)
    Dongying Agricultural College
  • Junqin Zong(Author)
    Jiangsu Province and Chinese Academy of Science
  • Richard Flavell(Author)
    CERES, Inc
Type Article
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6-17
JournalGCB Bioenergy
Issue number1
Early online date23 May 2016
Publication statusPublished - 01 Jan 2017
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Field trials in Europe with Miscanthus over the past 25 years have demonstrated that interspecies hybrids such as M. × giganteus (M × g) combine both high yield potentials and low inputs in a wide range of soils and climates. Miscanthus hybrids are expected to play a major role in the provision of perennial lignocellulosic biomass across much of Europe as part of a lower carbon economy. However, even with favourable policies in some European countries, uptake has been slow. M × g, as a sterile clone, can only be propagated vegetatively, which leads to high establishment costs and low multiplication rates. Consequently, a decade ago, a strategic decision to develop rapidly multiplied seeded hybrids was taken. To make progress on this goal, we have (1) harnessed the genetic diversity in Miscanthus by crossing and progeny testing thousands of parental combinations to select several candidate seed-based hybrids adapted to European environments, (2) established field scale seed production methods with annual multiplication factors >1500×, (3) developed the agronomy for establishing large stands from seed sown plug plants to reduce establishment times by a year compared to M × g, (4) trialled a range of harvest techniques to improve compositional quality and logistics on a large scale, (5) performed spatial analyses of yield potential and land availability to identify regional opportunities across Europe and doubled the area within the bio-climatic envelope, (6) considered on-farm economic, practical and environmental benefits that can be attractive to growers. The technical barriers to adoption have now been overcome sufficiently such that Miscanthus is ready to use as a low-carbon feedstock in the European bio-economy


  • bioenergy, biomass, breeding, crop modelling, energy crops, land-use change, Miscanthus, perennial grasses, renewable energy