The USDA and the DOE announced the 2007 Biomass Genomics grants yesterday. The awards are worth $8.3 million this year (last year they gave out $5.7 million) to eleven projects that will study how to better make biofuels from rice and switchgrass, get more yield from corn, and a lot more that's just a wee bit scientific ("Analysis of Small RNAs and miRNAs Associated with Abiotic Stress Responses in Brachypodium distachyon" anyone?). The DOE's Office of Biological and Environmental Research (OBER
Ok, we know that technically any plant product can be made into ethanol. But the list of plant biomass that researchers are actively working on converting to ethanol is getting pretty long as well. We have the obvious ones - corn and soybeans - but also poplar trees, grapes, citrus fruit and now, watermelons.