• Open Access

Chromosome doubling of the bioenergy crop, Miscanthus×giganteus


John A. Juvik, tel. +217 333 1966, e-mail: juvik@illinois.edu


The perennial grass, Miscanthus×giganteus is a sterile triploid, which due to its growth rate and biomass accumulation has significant economic potential as a new bioenergy crop. The sterility associated with the triploid genome of this accession requires labor-intensive vegetative, instead of seed propagation for potential commercial production. Chromosome doubling was used to produce hexaploid plants in an effort to restore fertility to M×giganteus. Tissue culture derived calli from immature inflorescences were treated with the antimitotic agents, colchicine and oryzalin in liquid and solid media. Calli survival rate decreased with increasing concentrations and durations of colchicine or oryzalin treatments and ranged from 0% to 100%. Nuclear DNA content, as determined by flow cytometry, indicated that the frequency of chromosome-doubled calli varied between compounds and concentrations with the greatest proportion of callus doubling observed using 2-day treatments of 15 μm oryzalin (78%) or 939 μm colchicine (67%). Liquid media treatments were more effective than solid gels for chromosome doubling. Although oryzalin was effective at chromosome doubling, it inhibited callus growth and plant regeneration frequency. Seven hexaploid plants with doubled DNA content were generated, which displayed increased stomata size (30.0±0.2 μm) compared with regenerated triploid M. ×giganteus plants (24.3±1.0 μm). Following clonal replication these plants will be evaluated for growth rate, biomass accumulation, and pollen viability. Successful chromosome doubling and plant regeneration of M.×giganteus suggests that ploidy manipulation of this plant and its parental species (Miscanthus sinensis and Miscanthus sacchariflorus) could be a means to access genetic variability for the improvement of Miscanthus as a biofuel/bioenergy crop.