The University of Florida was among several recipients of grants from the U.S Department of Agriculture. The grants totaled $9 million and were furnished to support research into issues affecting plant breeding and production.
The researchers at the university have identified southern pines as a source of renewable biomasss for bioenergy and renewable chemicals. They plan to use the $1.45 million grant to develop productive cultivars for pine trees, so that they can produce more bioenergy.
At present, the traditional breeding cycle for pine trees is between 15 -25 years, which makes them a less competitive source of bio energy compared to forest species that are grown abroad. However, the researchers at the university hope to reduce this cycle to between four to five years. In order to predict which seeds are likely to grow more quickly, the researchers will develop models.