CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) — University of Illinois researchers say that a common crop parasite called a nematode has been found in large numbers on two plants being grown to make biofuels.
They aren’t sure yet if that’s a serious problem. But they’re studying the microscopic round worms and the miscanthus and switch grass plants they were discovered on to find out.
Researchers at the university’s Energy Biosciences Institute say some of the tiny parasites they’ve found reduce biomass in plants. The amount of biomass produced by the plants being studied is one key factor in how much fuel they can produce.
Nematodes are a common crop pest. Biofuel crops where they have been found were in Illinois, Georgia, Iowa, Kentucky, South Dakota and Tennessee.