Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: August 25, 2010
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: not required
Technical Abstract: Energycane (Saccharum hyb.) is a large perennial grass that is a promising source of biofuel feedstock for the Southeast, as both the free sugars and the lignocellulosic components can be used. Energycanes are early-generation hybrids between sugarcane and its wild relatives. These hybrids are more cold-tolerant than sugarcane, so they can be cultivated in areas where sugarcane cannot grow. New cultivars of energycane need to be evaluated for biomass yield and ethanol conversion properties. Nine energycane entries (Ho 01-07, Ho 06-9001, Ho 06-9002, Ho 96-988, L 99-233, Ho 02-144, Ho 02-147, Ho 00-961, and Ho 72-114) were planted at Tifton, GA in early fall, 2007 in a randomized complete block design with four replications. Sugar content (°Brix) was monitored monthly in 2008 and 2009, and total biomass yield was harvested in both years. Sugar content tended to peak around the time of first frost. L99-233 and Ho 96-988 had the highest °Brix, peaking around 20% in both years, but these entries also had the lowest biomass. The highest yielding lines were Ho 06-9001 and Ho 06-9002, both averaging over 40 Mg/ha/yr. Fiber quality attributes (neutral-detergent fiber, acid-detergent fiber, and acid detergent lignin) were assessed on monthly intervals in fall/winter 2008. Time had little effect on these fiber qualities, suggesting that energycane biomass could be harvested throughout the winter with little change in quality. Significant differences were observed between entries, however. Conversion of energycane biomass to cellulosic ethanol is also being evaluated using a bench-scale partial saccharification and co-fermentation (PSCF) procedure with pentose-fermenting E. coli. Preliminary data show differences between genotypes for ethanol yield, with Ho 01-07 producing the most ethanol/g biomass. The procedure will be repeated on sequentially-harvested biomass to determine if any loss in ethanol yield occurs as the crop ages in the field.