Submitted to: Forage Focus
Publication Type: Other
Publication Acceptance Date: August 1, 2005
Publication Date: August 1, 2005
Citation: Samac, D.A., Jung, H.G., Lamb, J.F. 2005. Development of alfalfa for ethanol production and other bioproducts. Forage Focus. p. 6. 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. Biofuel and bioenergy production from alfalfa will require new research on the genetic impacts of the chemical composition of alfalfa for biofuel production rather than animal feed. New processing procedures for biofuel production will include methods for separating alfalfa protein and fiber, pretreatments of the fiber component, and conversion response of alfalfa for ethanol production.