Potential of the beneficial fungus Trichoderma to enhance ecosystem-service provision in the biofuel grass Miscanthus × giganteus in agriculture
Chirino Valle, Ivan; Kandula, Diwakar R. W.; Littlejohn, C.; Hill, Robert A.; Walker, M.; Shields, Morgan; Cummings, Nicholas; Hettiarachchi, Dilani K.; Wratten, Stephen D.
The sterile hybrid grass Miscanthus x giganteus (Mxg) can produce more than 30 t dry matter/ha/year. This biomass has a range of uses, including animal bedding and a source of heating fuel. The grass provides a wide range of other ecosystem services (ES), including shelter for crops and livestock, a refuge for beneficial arthropods, reptiles and earthworms and is an ideal cellulosic feedstock for liquid biofuels such as renewable (drop-in) diesel. In this study, the effects of different strains of the beneficial fungus Trichoderma on above-and below-ground biomass of Mxg were evaluated in glasshouse and field experiments, the latter on a commercial dairy farm over two years. Other ES benefits of Trichoderma measured in this study included enhanced leaf chlorophyll content as well as increased digestibility of the dried material for livestock. This study shows, for the first time for a biofuel feedstock plant, how Trichoderma can enhance productivity of such plants and complements other recent work on the wide-ranging provision of ES by this plant species.... [Show full abstract]
KeywordsTrichoderma; biofuel feedstock; ecosystem services; Poaceae; Plant Leaves; Crops, Agricultural; Chlorophyll; Ecosystem; Biomass; Biofuels
Fields of Research070304 Crop and Pasture Biomass and Bioproducts
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