We recently published a paper in Phytobiomes on how N cycling varies among different switchgrass cultivars (doi: 10.1094/PBIOMES-11-19-0064-FI).

Switchgrass has various strategies for growing in low-nitrogen (N) environments, including translocating N to its roots during the winter and fostering a microbial community that can fix N. Switchgrass exhibits wide phenotypic and genotypic diversity, and we explored whether N translocation, fixation, and mineralization vary among cultivars. It does vary, with some varieties fixing N at high rates and also translocating a high percentage of their N. This information can inform selection of switchgrass varieties for biofuels cultivation. Varieties that conserve N do not require N fertilizers, making them more economically and environmentally sustainable.

This research was funded by NSF and the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center, which recently highlighted it on their website.