Professor Iain Donnison

BEACON Director

Aberystwyth University


Professor Iain Donnison, director of BEACON, has worked, and subsequently led research on the genetics and physiology of temperate and tropical grasses since 1994. He leads the Environmental Impact Research Theme in IBERS.

Research Interests

Molecular genetics and genome organisation of temperate and tropical grasses. Development and exploitation of genetic and genomic tools for the study of bioenergy and forage associated quality traits in Miscanthus, Lolium and related species. The main target traits for bioenergy crops are increased yield, conversion efficiency and sustainability.
My own research interests which map onto these targets are flowering time, leaf senescence and how plant chemistry affects the conversion efficiency of energy crops. Research tools that have or are being developed include bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) libraries, genetic, trait and physical maps, the establishment of forward mutation populations, the exploitation of syntenic relationships to associate genotype to phenotype, and the development of high throughput virtual phenotyping methods including the use of infrared spectroscopy for cell wall chemistry.

Selected publications

  • Frank Hensgen, Lutz Bühle, Iain Donnison, Katrin Heinsoo, Michael Wachendorf, Energetic conversion of European semi-natural grassland silages through the integrated generation of solid fuel and biogas from biomass: Energy yields and the fate of organic compounds, Bioresource Technology, Volume 154, February 2014, Pages 192-200,
  • Ifat Parveen, Thomas Wilson, Iain S. Donnison, Alan R. Cookson, Barbara Hauck, Michael D. Threadgill, Potential sources of high value chemicals from leaves, stems and flowers of Miscanthus sinensis ‘Goliath’ and Miscanthus sacchariflorus, Phytochemistry, Volume 92, August 2013, Pages 160-167,
  • John Corton, Lutz Bühle, Michael Wachendorf, Iain S. Donnison, Mariecia D. Fraser, Bioenergy as a biodiversity management tool and the potential of a mixed species feedstock for bioenergy production in Wales, Bioresource Technology, Volume 129, February 2013, Pages 142-149,
  • M. Mos, S.W. Banks, D.J. Nowakowski, P.R.H. Robson, A.V. Bridgwater, I.S. Donnison, Impact of Miscanthus x giganteus senescence times on fast pyrolysis bio-oil quality, Bioresource Technology, Volume 129, February 2013, Pages 335-342,
  • Frank Hensgen, Lutz Bühle, Iain Donnison, Mariecia Frasier, Jim Vale, John Corton, Katrin Heinsoo, Indrek Melts, Michael Wachendorf, Mineral concentrations in solid fuels from European semi-natural grasslands after hydrothermal conditioning and subsequent mechanical dehydration, Bioresource Technology, Volume 118, August 2012, Pages 332-342,
  • Gordon G. Allison, Catherine Morris, Susan J. Lister, Tim Barraclough, Nicola Yates, Ian Shield, Iain S. Donnison, Effect of nitrogen fertiliser application on cell wall composition in switchgrass and reed canary grass, Biomass and Bioenergy, Volume 40, May 2012, Pages 19-26,
  • Lutz Bühle, Frank Hensgen, Iain Donnison, Katrin Heinsoo, Michael Wachendorf, Life cycle assessment of the integrated generation of solid fuel and biogas from biomass (IFBB) in comparison to different energy recovery, animal-based and non-refining management systems, Bioresource Technology, Volume 111, May 2012, Pages 230-239,
  • Mark P. Robbins, Geraint Evans, John Valentine, Iain S. Donnison, Gordon G. Allison, New opportunities for the exploitation of energy crops by thermochemical conversion in Northern Europe and the UK, Progress in Energy and Combustion Science, Volume 38, Issue 2, April 2012, Pages 138-155,