Location: Forage Seed and Cereal Research
Title: GENOTYPIC VARIABILITY IN MINERAL ACCUMULATION BY GRASSES FROM LOW RAINFALL AREAS OF THE WESTERN U.S. Authors
Submitted to: Seed Production Research at Oregon State University
Publication Type: Experiment Station
Publication Acceptance Date: February 20, 2008
Publication Date: April 1, 2008
Citation: Banowetz, G.M., El Nashaar, H., Griffith, S.M. 2008. Genotypic variability in mineral accumulation by grasses from low rainfall areas of the western u.s.. Seed Production Research at Oregon State University. 127: 73-77. Technical Abstract: Straw produced as a coproduct of grass seed and cereal grain production represents a potential supply of biomass for energy production. The low-density distribution of this biomass in many locations suggests that distributed small-scaled thermochemical technologies may provide an economic conversion approach. The utility of straw as feedstock for thermochemical approaches is impacted by the presence of “anti-quality” mineral constituents that form slag at commonly used operating temperatures. Slag reduces the useful life of thermochemical reactors. Harvesting straw also removes mineral fertilizer components and soil carbon that impact the sustained production of subsequent crops. The objective of this research was to characterize mineral accumulation by diverse grasses produced for seed at two contrasting locations in the low rainfall region of the Pacific Northwest to determine the following: 1) whether genotypic differences in mineral accumulation by these grasses provide opportunity for genetic improvement of feedstock characteristics and, 2) fertilizer and carbon values of straw as conservation residue. Significant (P < 0.01) differences in the accumulation of most minerals that were analyzed occurred between genotypes of Kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis L.), perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.) and tall fescue Schedonorus phoenix (Scop.) Holub] (formerly Festuca arundinacea, Schreb.). Mineral accumulation varied between species and was dependent upon the location at which the plants were grown. On average, harvested straw contained 26 kg/Mg (52 lb/ton) of potassium, 0.85 kg/Mg (1.7 lb/ton) of phosphorus, and 340 kg/Mg (680 lb/ton) of carbon. Much of the potassium and phosphorus are recovered in ash produced by a small-scale gasification reactor. Aside from N, soil K and P can be limited in some soils, removal of straw can affect long-term soil fertility if left unchecked by mining available soil K and P.