MSc Defence: Cassandra Downey


Interested Members of the University Community are invited to attend the Final Oral Examination for the Degree of Master of Science of CASSANDRA DOWNEY of the Department of Plant Agriculture

Friday, September 7th at 1:00 PM
Room 202, Crop Science Building

Thesis Title:  Storage and Propagation Characteristics of Miscanthus x giganteus

Advisory Committee
Dr. Max Jones, Advisor
Dr. Praveen Kumar Saxena
Dr. Bill Deen                                                                     

Examination Committee
Dr. Ralph Martin, Chair
Dr. Max Jones
Dr. Bill Deen
Dr. Mahendra Thimmanagari


Miscanthus x giganteus Anderss. exhibits favourable characteristics for cultivation as a dedicated second-generation biomass feedstock for biofuel production. Because of its innate sterility, Miscanthus must be propagated through either micropropagation or rhizome cuttings, which results in high establishment costs and discourages widespread cultivation. The current study hypothesized that 1) plant growth and vigor from M. x giganteus rhizomes would be dependent on agronomic and storage practices, and rhizome physiology, 2) extended in vitro conservation and regeneration of ‘M161’ calli could be achieved through impairment of the phenylpropanoid biosynthetic pathway, and 3) cytokinin, auxin, and heightened concentrations of sucrose supplemented into in vitro Murashige and Skoog media would induce microrhizome development in ‘M161’ and could be used as an alternative propagation system. It was found that 1) plant growth from rhizomes yielded similar results after spring and autumn harvests, 2) plantlet regeneration (13-58.3%) was achieved from calli after 12 months in culture when media was supplemented with 10 and 100 μM 2-aminoindan-2-phosphonic acid, and 3) microrhizomes were successfully induced over a 10-week incubation period in liquid media supplemented with 8% sucrose, 26.5 μM 6-benzylaminopurine, and 0.6 μM 1-naphthaleneacetic acid. These findings may create a foundation for Miscanthus conversation and propagation systems which can be used to reduce establishment costs and allow for a greater supply of biomass for end-product development.