Cell Wall Composition and Underlying QTL in an F1 Pseudo-Testcross Population of Switchgrass

Robert Sykes, Steve Decker, Desalegn Serba, Guillaume Daverdin, Katrien Devos, E. Brummer, Malay Saha, Erica Gjersing

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11 Scopus Citations


Natural genetic variation for reduced recalcitrance can be used to improve switchgrass for biofuel production. A full-sib switchgrass mapping population developed by crossing a lowland genotype, AP13, and upland genotype, VS16, was evaluated at three locations (Ardmore and Burneyville, OK and Watkinsville, GA). Biomass harvested after senescence in 2009 and 2010 was evaluated at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) for sugar release using enzymatic hydrolysis and for lignin content and syringyl/guaiacyl lignin monomer (S/G) ratio using pyrolysis molecular beam mass spectrometry (py-MBMS). Glucose and xylose release ranged from 120 to 313 and 123 to 263 mg g−1, respectively, while lignin content ranged from 19 to 27 % of the dry biomass. Statistically significant differences were observed among the genotypes and the environments for the cell wall composition traits. Regression analysis showed that a unit increase in lignin content reduced total sugar release by an average of 10 mg g−1. Quantitative trait loci (QTL) analysis detected 9 genomic regions underlying sugar release and 14 for lignin content. The phenotypic variation explained by the individual QTL identified for sugar release ranged from 4.5 to 9.4 and for lignin content from 3.8 to 11.1 %. Mapping of the QTL regions to the switchgrass genome sequence (v1.1) found that some of the QTL colocalized with genes involved in carbohydrate processing and metabolism, plant development, defense systems, and transcription factors. The markers associated with QTL can be implemented in breeding programs to efficiently develop improved switchgrass cultivars for biofuel production.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)836-850
Number of pages15
JournalBioenergy Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016, The Author(s).

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5100-66447


  • Glucose
  • Lignin content
  • Quantitative trait loci
  • Recalcitrant
  • Sugar release
  • Xylose


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