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BER Research Highlights

Nitrogen Cycling in Switchgrass Varieties
Published: August 05, 2020
Posted: August 05, 2021


Determine differences in nitrogen (N) acquisition and conservation between switchgrass varieties to optimize growth with the least amount of fertilizer usage.


Measure N fixation, N mineralization, and N translocation along with soil moisture and N content in switchgrass varieties from upland and lowland ecotypes.


  • N fixation was highly variable among switchgrass varieties, but in general lowland ecotypes had significantly higher yields, N translocation, and root N fixation, with lower soil N fixation than upland ecotypes.
  • N cycling differences might be due to root and soil microbiome differences in switchgrass varieties.
  • Many switchgrass varieties can achieve high yield without N additions, decreasing the economic and environmental cost of growing this bioenergy crop.

Roley, S.S., Ulbrich, T.C., Robertson, G.P. “Nitrogen fixation and resorption efficiency differences among twelve upland and lowland switchgrass cultivars.” Phytobiomes 116, 071802 (2020). [DOI:10.1094/PBIOMES-11-19-0064-FI]

Topic Areas:

  • Research Area: Plant Systems and Feedstocks, Plant-Microbe Interactions
  • Research Area: Sustainable Biofuels and Bioproducts
  • Research Area: DOE Bioenergy Research Centers (BRC)

Division: SC-33.2 Biological Systems Science Division, BER


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