Preliminary seed lab research
I am studying the role of switchgrass in biofuel research and its potential as a reliable source of renewable energy. My own research component will include a detailed lab report on cold tolerance in selected breeding lines of switchgrass, and I will supplement this with a broader literature review on the history of switchgrass biofuel research and how cold tolerance relates to this topic as a whole. This research is important because as global average temperatures and CO2 levels continue to increase, the need for clean, renewable energy has never been more necessary. With regards to switchgrass in particular, it is an unusual forage crop in that it is not particularly beneficial as a food source for animals or livestock. It grows well particularly in the Northeast United States, and biofuel application is therefore an obvious alternative for its use and production. However, the Northeastern United States experiences particularly harsh winters, and for a perennial such as switchgrass surviving these cold months can be quite difficult. Through selective breeding, varieties can be produced that are cold tolerant or at the very least well adapted to growing in cooler climates and surviving these harsh winters. I hope to find and detail encouraging research for switchgrass as a successful biofuel crop while relating this topic as a whole to cold tolerance of switchgrass in the Northeast United States.