Integrated Poster Session at Bioenergy Genomics 2017

Jack Bailey-Bale takes a final look at what's ahead in the Bioenergy Genomics 2017 conference, which starts tomorrow.

As Bioenergy Genomics 2017 draws to a close, a rich array of research encapsulating the themes of the meeting will be displayed as an immersive scientific poster session. The diverse selection of research from around the globe showcases the effort being made to advance bioenergy science. Furthermore, it signifies the recognised importance of transitioning towards the bioeconomy.

Bioenergy and Climate Change

With climate change set to increase the frequency of drought conditions, the characterisation of bioenergy crops response to water stress will be extremely valuable. A variety of studies have measured the impact of drought conditions in a number of bioenergy crops, including multiple C3 and C4 perennial grasses, poplar, willow and also other model plant systems, such as tomato. Another abiotic stress reported here and frequently linked with drought is heat. Experimentation and modelling of crops subject to stress treatments is aiding our understanding of genes associated with stress responses, potential treatments to alleviate negative effects, the relationship of the crop with its microbiome and the impact that environmental conditions have on productivity. The data collected can in turn feed into breeding pipelines for the development of more resilient bioenergy crops.

The importance of water is signified by the varying scale of exploration into its transport. On a molecular level, the role of abscisic acid (ABA) and its link to wood anatomy alterations under water stress are being investigated. Additionally, evidence suggests ABA has the potential to restore water transport in blocked xylem vessels. On a larger scale, the canopy precipitation interception of the high water demanding grass, miscanthus, is being analysed for its role in flood mitigation.

With the threat of climate change more apparent than ever, fulfilling the resource demands of a rapidly increasing human population will be challenging. It is crucial to acknowledge the importance of meeting these demands within the means of the plant. The display of research at Bioenergy Genomics 2017 exhibits the progression in our understanding of a variety of scientific disciplines, ranging from plant physiology to predictive modelling. The opportunity to share such innovative work typifies the collaborative effort that will be required to deliver future sustainable, low-carbon, bioenergy scenarios.