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Bioenergy researcher gets $1 million grant to explore sorghum disease

Posted: January 25, 2011

A researcher in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences has been awarded a $1 million grant by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Institute of Food and Agriculture for his investigation of anthracnose disease in sorghum.

The grant, part of USDA's Agriculture and Food Research Initiative competitive-grants program, will fund research conducted by Penn State and collaborative work done at the University of Kentucky and at the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics, also known as ICRISAT, in India.

The research is important because there is increasing interest in the evaluation and promotion of sorghum as a sustainable bioenergy crop substitute for corn (maize), according to principal investigator Surinder Chopra, associate professor of maize genetics. Anthracnose stalk rot and leaf blight are among the most important diseases of corn and sorghum, causing about 5 percent loss annually.

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