The plant research—12 projects totaling $29 million over three years—focuses on expanding knowledge of gene function in plants to be grown for bioenergy and bioproducts. The aim is to pinpoint the connection between specific regions of plant genomes and particular plant traits, so that features such as drought resistance and crop yield can be improved.
The microbe research—13 projects totaling $35 million over three years—aims at better understanding of how communities of microbes cycle nutrients in soil and the environment. The goal is to illuminate the critical role of microbes in shaping Earth’s environment. In the process, the research is expected to shed light on soil processes that could impact the growth of potential bioenergy crops.