University of Illinois: Perennial Biofuel Crops May Help Prevent Nitrogen Loss

The University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer, and Environmental Sciences recently completed a 4-year studying alternatives to corn-producing ethanol. According tho the study’s findings, Perennial biofuel crops such as miscanthus, are now shown to have another beneficial characteristic–the ability to reduce the escape of nitrogen in the environment. The study compared miscanthus, switchgrass, and mixed prairie species to typical corn-corn-soybean rotations, each of the perennial crops were highly efficient at reducing nitrogen losses, with miscanthus having the greatest yield. According to Mark David, U of I biogeochemist, results from this study clearly show these crops have the potential to quickly and greatly reduce nitrogen losses that have important environmental effects, while providing a large biomass harvest.

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