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sector_ico_Energy_trans Energy

Optimized Populus feedstocks and novel enzyme systems for a British Columbia bioenergy sector

  • Project Leaders: Carl Douglas, Shawn Mansfield
  • Institutions: University of British Columbia (UBC)
  • Budget: $7,683,501
  • Competition: Applied Genomics Innovation Program
  • Genome Centre(s): Genome BC
  • Fiscal Year: 2008
  • Status: Closed

The goal of this project was to use genomic and metabolomic approaches to characterize the phenotypic and genetic diversity in of native BC Populus trichocarpa (black cottonwood, or poplar) accessions relevant to potential future use of poplars as lignocellulosic feedstocks for biofuel production in BC.

The results demonstrated strong gene flow and weak population structure. SNPs were found with significant association to 17 wood traits. Mis-expression of few of these genes in transgenic poplar gave significant phenotypes. Extensive poplar phenotypic data include the following:

• biomass accumulation,
• growth rate,
• disease susceptibility,
• wood chemistry,
• water use efficiency

Survey on attitudes towards bioenergy crops and use of trees for bioenergy across 8 BC regions was conducted. Respondents generally support use of biomass as a sustainable source of bioenergy, but have reservations about replacing natural forests with plantation-style forests for bioenergy production