Interdisciplinary consortium coordinating food and energy security research using the model system Brachypodium

Brachypodium distachyon (brachy) has emerged as a cornerstone for research pertaining to key energy and food crops as well as biomass processing. Work in these areas is a point of interest in no less than twelve labs at UMass Amherst. This ensemble of laboratories comprises our Brachy Consortium, where we collaborate to advance plant and microbial science.

We have several research themes and participating faculty to provide opportunities to conduct research using brachy as a model system.

Registration now open for the 2015 International Brachypodium Conference

Registration is now open for the 2015 International Brachypodium Conference on 16-19 June 2015, in Amherst, Massachusetts. The conference will be held at the University of Massachusetts Campus Center. This biennial meeting follows successful conferences in Versailles, France in 2011 and Modena, Italy in 2013.

Brachypodium has proven to be an outstanding model system for functional, comparative, and heterologous studies in plant biology. We will gather to share and discuss the latest discoveries, tools, and resource developments; establish collaborations; and identify avenues. The conference will be limited to 200 attendees.

Two papers published in PLoS ONE describe Brachypodium distachyon stem anatomy and growth rhythms

As an MCB graduate student in the Hazen Lab, Dominick Matos made several key discoveries. First he described the development of stem internodes. This is a key region of energy crops that accounts for a majority of the harvestable biomass. While the arrangement of vascular bundles varies among grasses, the anatomy of the vascular bundles themselves is very similar. By making observations over time, it was noted that the vascular bundles are the first to mature followed by non-vascular fiber cells. The results of these studies are described in PLoS ONE. Dominick and colleagues also measured stem and leaf development within the course of a day. Here they developed a time lapse imaging systems and measure leaf length under various conditions. Unlike arabidopsis and other dicots, B. distachyon did not exhibit circadian clock or photo cycles regulated growth. These results suggest that grasses have a very different mechanism for regulating time of day specific growth. The results of these studies are described in PLoS ONE.

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