EAST LANSING, Mich. — Michigan State University is using a federal grant to explore ways to boost the yield of a biofuel crop that could offer environmental and agricultural benefits.

The East Lansing school says it will lead a $10 million U.S. Energy Department grant to study the metabolism and genes of the camelina plant.

Researchers say it doesn’t require as much water or fertilizer as food crop species, or require special equipment to be planted or harvested. They add it can better resist pests and disease.

It’s been used to fly planes. Other potential uses include pharmaceutical and cosmetic products.

The researchers’ overall goal is to get a 300 percent increase per acre in production. If they can do that, the oilseed plant could compete with other petroleum products.