Location: Sugarcane Research Unit
Title: The use of Erianthus in the USDAs germplasm enhancement program Authors
Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: May 23, 2013
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: Erianthus is a genus that is related to sugarcane and is part of the Saccharum complex. In the USDA’s basic breeding program, the genus has been exploited for traits such as resistance to Diatrea saccharalis F., red rot (caused by Colletotrichum falcatum Went.), and freezing temperatures. The genus has proven difficult to hybridize with sugarcane, and attempts at crossing the two frequently result in self pollination of the Erianthus female. Since the inception of the basic breeding program at the USDA-ARS in Houma, LA, 76 apparent hybrids have been generated, although they have not been confirmed with molecular markers. In the past several years, Erianthus germplasm was screened along with other members of the Saccharum complex, and accessions from the genus were consistently resistant to the disease. Furthermore, screening studies have indicated that Erianthus accessions containing high density hairs on the leaves contribute to resistance to the sugarcane borer. In a cold tolerance screen containing 22 different crosses, those containing Erianthus emerged much sooner in the spring time, indicating they contain genes for early-season freeze tolerance. Additional testing is needed to determine if these beneficial traits can be maintained through multiple generations of backcrossing.