System performance of non-food crops to drought stress: development of a plant ideotype
The project will be developed for addressing innovative mitigation strategies in the agricultural sector with energy crops grown in water limitation. Activities will be conducted for the assessment of a non-food crop (Arundo donax) suitable to maintain biomass production and quality under conditions of growth constraints, marginal environments unsuitable for high yielding plants, while useful for the bio-based industries (for bioenergy, biofuel and bioproducts). The basic objective of the proposal is the development of empirical and model knowledge to design a plant prototype or ideotype suitable to grow in abiotic constraints, such as drought and salinity. Phenomics, namely biochemical, physiological and molecular mechanisms, will be triggered. Moreover the epigenomic and proteomic outputs connected with the metabolic patterns and functional genomics will be explored. The crop type that CROPSTRESS targets is a perennial -C3 grass (Arundo), therefore likely to have a lower carbon footprint than many food crops when used for bioenergy.