U.S. Department of Energy - Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

Bioenergy Technologies Office

Bioenergy Technologies Office Releases Symbiosis Biofeedstock Conference Summary Report

January 2, 2014

The Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) hosted the two-day "Symbiosis Biofeedstock Conference" at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, on June 20-21, 2013. The conference brought together diverse members of the public, private, and academic sectors to explore the challenges and opportunities associated with expanding the commercial use of microbial-based products to increase biofeedstock production. During the event, attendees reviewed the scientific accomplishments, to date, in microbial-plant mutualism and discussed the potential benefits of using native, mutualistic systems to address biofeedstock production incorporating classic and novel technologies utilized in food agronomy sectors. Conference goals included identifying research supporting this approach in agronomic crops, identifying limitations to current products and using this information to inform future commercial production of microbial mutualistic microbes, and identifying issues specific to utilizing mutualists in bioenergy crop production.

BETO has compiled the discussions, findings, and resulting recommendations from the conference into a summary report. The report addresses why utilization of mutualistic, symbiotic organisms in biofeedstock production is important to improve biofeedstock economics, increase biofeedstock adoption by producers, decrease environmental impacts from increased biofeedstock production, address impacts of climate change to biofeedstock production, and expand rural and national economic development. It also addresses how to effectively employ mutualists to increase biofeedstock yields, increase producer profits, decrease chemical additions, decrease irrigation demands, reduce the average amount of resources needed to produce biofeedstocks, and stabilize yields across years and in response to extreme climate events.

For more information about the Symbiosis Biofeedstock Conference, please visit BETO's Past Meetings Web page.