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National Miscanthus Germplasm Collection - NF0430

Since the mid 1990s ADAS has assembled at its Arthur Rickwood Research Centre a field-grown collection of genotypes of miscanthus. This collection work has been largely funded by Defra in order to support taxonomic research, and has included collections from European sources as well as collection visits to Japan, Korea and China. Since April 2003 the collection of genotypes has been maintained by Bio-Renewables Ltd, the specialist ADAS group undertaking an in-house miscanthus improvement programme.

Miscanthus is a cane-like perennial grass which is now being exploited in the UK for renewable energy production and fibre markets. The amount of miscanthus grown currently may exceed 2,000 hectares and may expand rapidly within the next five years. However, the entire commercial crop in the UK is based upon one sterile triploid genotype. Consequently this narrow genetic base renders energy and fibre markets susceptible to crop loss through pest and disease action and also indicates that the industry is working with unimproved, and thus sub-optimal, genetic material – the benefits of formalised crop improvement to diversify the genetic base and improve yield and adaptation of the crop are clear. The purpose of this work is to assist in the maintenance of living field specimens of all miscanthus genotypes in the collection, in order that they might;

a) represent a resource available to researchers interested in various facets of the miscanthus genus, including but not limited to crop improvement.

b) be shared amongst researchers

c) enable replication and multiplication of the material for the purpose of its conservation.

d) represent a permanent record of miscanthus genetic diversity

In compliance with the principles of the Convention on Biological Diversity, BRL will make the collection of genotypes available to other research groups with an interest in Miscanthus, and therefore seeks support to maintain the collection. The living collection held by BRL at ADAS Arthur Rickwood currently consists of 209 genotypes of many species including M. sinensis, M. x giganteus, M. sacchariflorus and M. floridulus.

The nature of the work will be the maintenance of the germplasm collection to international standards for germplasm conservation, provision of collection information (provision for curation of the database with passport and characterisation (phenotypic and genotypic) data that was collected for the accessions under Defra-funded projects), routine agronomic husbandry of the plots holding the genotypes, record keeping and remedial actions to control genotype ingress, moisture stress etc…. It will also enable the tracking of requests for material and the administrative effort necessary for continued compliance with the Convention on Biological Diversity.
1. Maintenance of the living collection of miscanthus genotypes at ADAS Arthur Rickwood collected with Defra funding, in compliance with international standards.

2. Curation of the database

3. Material transfer; Monitoring of transfers to ensure compliance with CBD and existing Material Transfer Agreements.
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2004

To: 2006

Cost: £26,301
Contractor / Funded Organisations
Biomass Crops              
Plant Genetic Resources              
Plants and Animals              
Fields of Study
Non-Food Crops