Mississippi State University researchers develop switchgrass varieties ready for deployment

July 28, 2022 |

In Mississippi, Mississippi State scientists have developed switchgrass varieties that are waking up the industry with exceptional germination rates and are ready for commercial use in the Deep South. The university is working with the Upton, Kentucky-based Roundstone Native Seed Co. to deliver the “Robusto,” “Espresso,” and “Tusca” switchgrass varieties, developed by scientists in MSU’s Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station. In addition, Plant Variety Protection—similar to a patent for newly bred varieties—has been awarded for Espresso and is in review for Robusto. Tusca is protected by a utility patent and officially released by MAFES.

The origins of these coffee-inspired switchgrass varieties can be traced to the 20-year-old harvest from the Whitten Plant Materials Center in Coffeeville, whose living repository contained seeds from Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana and Alabama. In 2003, the Whitten Center changed its focus and sent its collection to MSU. Living plants were transplanted from Coffeeville to the R.R. Foil Plant Science Center, commonly known as MSU’s North Farm, and the first generation of selection blocks for research were established.

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Category: Research

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