Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: May 31, 2005
Publication Date: May 1, 2006
Citation: Samac, D.A., Jung, H.G., Lamb, J.F. 2006. Development of alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) as a feedstock for production of ethanol and other bioproducts. In: Minteer, S., editor. Alcoholic Fuels. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press. p. 79-98. Technical Abstract: Alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) has considerable potential as a feedstock for production of fuels, feed, and industrial materials. However, unlike other major field crops such as corn and soybean that are commonly refined for production of fuel and industrial materials, refining of alfalfa remains undeveloped. Instead, alfalfa is primarily processed and used on-farm in the form of dried hay, silage, and fresh forage known as "greenchop," or is grazed by animals in pastures. In many countries, including the United States, alfalfa is used as a basic component in feeding programs for dairy cattle and is an important feed for beef cattle, horses, sheep, and other livestock. If alfalfa is developed to its full potential as a feedstock for biorefining, a major shift may occur in the manner in which alfalfa is produced and used for feeding farm animals. Relative to use as a biofuels feedstock, this chapter reviews development and cultivation of alfalfa for biomass, chemical composition of alfalfa, genetic impacts on composition, methods of separating alfalfa protein and fiber, pretreatments and conversion response of alfalfa for ethanol production, and alfalfa biotechnology and genomics.