Submitted to: American Society of Sugar Cane Technologists
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: March 1, 2000
Publication Date: June 1, 2000
Citation: BURNER, D.M., LEGENDRE, B.L. 2000. PHENOTYPIC VARIATION OF BIOMASS YIELD COMPONENTS IN F1 HYBRIDS OF ELITE SUGARCANE CROSSED WITH SACCHARUM OFFICINARUM AND S. SPONTANEUM. AMERICAN SOCIETY OF SUGAR CANE TECHNOLOGISTS. 20:81-87. Interpretive Summary: The availability of cheap energy is expected to decline in the future as oil reserves are depleted. Plant biomass as a source of carbon for either combustion or ethanol production appears to be one renewable replacement for fossil fuels. Sugarcane is known for its sugar content, but may have a great potential as a sustainable source of biomass. Information is needed to expand the market and acreage of domestic sugarcane production as a source of biomass. We previously demonstrated that selected sugarcane hybrids derived from the exotic species Saccharum spontaneum have greater biomass yields than cultivated sugarcane. Our objective was to compare biomass yield components in two types of exotic sugarcane hybrids, those derived from crosses with S. officinarum and those from crosses with S. spontaneum. As expected, the S. officinarum type had better juice quality traits while the S. spontaneum type had better plant yield components. Biomass yield for these unselected hybrids was less than that we reported for the selected hybrids. This study demonstrates that S. spontaneum hybrids are an excellent reservoir of high yielding, low sucrose, and high fiber germplasm for biomass production. Results will be useful to researchers and growers interested in biomass production, alternative uses for sugarcane, and the development of high-biomass crops.
Technical Abstract: Of the numerous members in the sugarcane complex, Saccharum officinarum and S. spontaneum are significant sources of germplasm for nobilization and vigor, respectively. Two types of F1 sugarcane hybrids, S. officinarum clone Oi Dang x elite sugarcane (two crosses) and elite sugarcane x S. spontaneum (16 crosses), were studied for two years to determine the relative variation for 10 yield components. Means of the two groups differed significantly (P<0.01) for all ten traits. As expected, the S. officinarum type had better juice quality (Brix, fiber, sucrose, and TRS) and stalk traits (diameter and weight), while the S. spontaneum type had better biomass yield components (stalk length, stalk and stool number, stalk biomass yield). Repeatability estimates for the S. officinarum hybrids were less than those for the S. spontaneum hybrids, however, different sample sizes for the two types of hybrids might have confounded repeatability estimates and their standard errors. The magnitude of repeatability estimates indicate that S. spontaneum hybrids are an excellent reservoir of high yielding, low sucrose, and high fiber germplasm for biomass production.