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Agricultural News

OSU Researcher Continues To Impress With Switchgrass And Bioenergy Research

Mon, 23 Jan 2012 09:54:38 CST

OSU Researcher Continues To Impress With Switchgrass And Bioenergy Research Accolades, awards, grants and research in bioenergy are nothing new to Yanqi Wu, associate professor of grass breeding and genetics in Oklahoma State University's Department of Plant and Soil Sciences (PASS).

As the leader of OSU's Biobased Products and Energy Center's switchgrass breeding program, Wu and his team primarily focus on switchgrass molecular research and have received approximately $3.5 million for switchgrass research. The Center was recently honored by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture with its NIFA Partnership Award for Mission Integration. Wu was one of seven faculty members from within PASS to be recognized.

"The research will be directly used in developing high yielding switchgrass cultivars," Wu said.

Higher yielding switchgrass crops developed by Wu's team of researchers will provide an alternative revenue stream, increase grower profit margin and help to develop the local seed industry when the new cultivars are licensed.

Research conducted by Wu's team with OSU's Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources has received much national attention, as he is currently working under a grant funded by Oklahoma's National Science Foundation Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (NSF EPSCoR) program to focus on switchgrass breeding and molecular genetics.

"The ultimate goal of the project is to develop molecular markers, molecular maps, study inheritance mode and tag the genomes for economically important traits," Wu said. "The biofuels research will lead to inventions, which will reduce our dependence on foreign oil, improve our environment, create new job opportunities and be desirable for the agriculture and rural economy."

Wu serves as a researcher and coordinator of the Feedstock Development Research group for the EPSCoR project, and on the Switchgrass Genetics Executive Committee, which is a national community of switchgrass researchers.

In addition to NSF funding, Wu has received funds from the Oklahoma Bioenergy Center and the South Central Sun Grant Initiative. Through his efforts since joining the OSU faculty in 2006, Wu has been widely recognized for his work.

He was the recipient of the James A. Whatley Award for Meritorious Service in Agricultural Sciences. The award, introduced in 1982, is presented annually to the top young scientist at DASNR.

He received this honor, in part, because of his release of one switchgrass cultivar and three bermudagrass cultivars in the last four years. Wu also has co-authored 21 peer-reviewed journal articles, five book chapters, 10 technical publications, four international proceedings, 42 research abstracts and 26 other publications in Chinese books and journals.

In 2010, Wu received a Certificate of Excellence from the American Society of Agronomy and was honored with the Early Career Award by the National Plant Breeders Association. He also was the recipient of an OSU Inventor Recognition Award in both 2008 and 2010.

For more information on Wu's research and OSU's Biobased Products and Energy Center, click here:   OSU Biobased Products and Energy Center.



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