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U.S. gov’t invests in ag research

U.S. gov’t invests in ag research

The Department of Energy will provide US$75 million in funding over five years

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer

The American government is prepared to invest millions of dollars into crop research.

The Department of Energy (DOE) is committed to providing up to US$75 million over five years for research to develop sustainable bioenergy crops that are tolerant of environmental stress, the department announced Friday.

Lawmakers are optimistic that, with this funding, researchers can develop variety streams for crops that are only used in biotechnological applications.

“With this research, the U.S. will lead the way in laying the agricultural foundation for the emerging bioeconomy,” Paul Dabbar, the undersecretary for science, said in a Jan. 10 statement. “It’s critical for crops grown for bioenergy and bioproducts to be able to survive and thrive under marginal growing conditions and maintain resiliency to environmental stresses and changes to avoid competing with food production.”

Interested parties must apply to receive funding. The federal government will supply the funding in the form of five-year grants ranging from $1 to $3 million per year.

Universities, industry groups and non-profit research institutions can submit applications. They may also collaborate with the DOE and other federal agencies.

Successful applicants are expected to use tools and techniques found in genomics (the study of genes and their functions), proteomics (the large-scale study of sets of proteins found in an organism) and metabolomics (the study of metabolites), the DOE said.

Metabolites are the end products of cellular regulatory processes.

The funding announcement also coincides with President Trump recognizing January as National Biotechnology Month. has reached out to the U.S. Department of Agriculture and members of the crop science and bioenergy community for comment.

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