The project SWEETFUEL (Sweet Sorghum: An alternative energy crop) is supported by the European Commission in the 7th Framework Programme to exploit the advantages of sweet sorghum as potential energy crop for bioethanol production.
Sweet sorghum is a C4 plant with the following interesting characteristics: (i) its growth cycle is short (about four months) facilitating double cropping, (ii) it can be easily grown from seeds, (iii) its production can be completely mechanized, (iv) it can produce sugar in the stalk and starch in the grain, (v) it has a high water and nutrient use efficiency, (vi) the bagasse produced from sweet sorghum has high biological value when used as forage and (vii) it has a wide adaptability to different environments.
However, unlike sugarcane and maize, sweet sorghum has little breeding history. The potential of yield improvement through genetic enhancement is thus very high.
The main objective of SWEETFUEL is to optimize yields in temperate, semi-arid and sub-tropical regions by genetic enhancement and improvement of agricultural practices.
In order to achieve this objective, activities of the SWEETFUEL project include to:
The SWEETFUEL partnership comprises 10 partners from research, academia and industry. The partners of SWEETFUEL are CIRAD (France, Coordinator), ICRISAT (India), EMBRAPA (Brazil), KWS (Germany), IFEU (Germany), UNIBO (Italy), UCSC (Italy), ARC (South Africa), UANL (Mexico), and WIP (Germany). The project duration is from January 2009 until December 2013.
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