2013 Annual Report
1a.Objectives (from AD-416):
The objective of this cooperative technology transfer project is to transfer near infrared reflectance spectrometry (NIRS) calibrations for switchgrass composition developed by the Grain, Forage, and Bioenergy Research Unit (GFBRU), Agricultural Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture (ARS) to other public and private laboratories conducting research on developing switchgrass into a biomass energy crop and to industries who are using or will use switchgrass for biomass energy.
1b.Approach (from AD-416):
ARS will provide its switchgrass NIRS calibrations and associated technology to the NIRS Forage and Feed Testing Consortium (NIRSC) who will make them available to its members. The NIRS Consortium (NIRSC) is an association of commercial laboratories, universities, government groups, plant research companies, and instrument companies. The consortium members collaborates together to unify knowledge, accuracy, and application of NIRS technology. Laboratories share in efforts and costs to produce standardized calibrations for use. The NIRSC supports its members in use of calibrations and instrumentation to determine composition of agricultural products. NIRSC requires its members to meet specific laboratory standards to ensure accuracy of the NIRS analytical results.
The focus of research this year was to identify switchgrass biomass samples that could be used to expand the previously developed switchgrass calibration set of samples and to identify sample sets of big bluestem and indiangrass that could be used to developed NIRS calibration sets for those grasses also following comprehensive composition analyses. If possible, the switchgrass, big bluestem, and indiangrass calibrations sets will be merged to developed a warm-season perennial grass NIRS calibration set that can be used by other public and private laboratories conducting research on developing switchgrass and other warm-season perennial grasses into biomass energy crops and to industries who are using or will use these grasses for biomass energy. Two additional sets of samples have been developed for the NIRS calibration research. These biomass samples, which are from the ARS breeding and management projects at Lincoln, NE and Madison, WI, are currently being analyzed in ARS laboratories for total biomass composition properties. NIRS spectra of several thousand samples were examined to select these samples. Procedures to identify and select samples from other laboratories were developed in discussions with scientists from NIRS Consortium member laboratories.