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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Tifton, Georgia » Crop Genetics and Breeding Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #224828

Title: Elephantgrass as a cellulosic feedstock for the Southeast

item Anderson, William - Bill

Submitted to: Biotechnology for Fuels and Chemicals Symposium Proceedings
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/8/2008
Publication Date: 5/4/2008
Citation: Malik, R., Anderson, W.F. 2008. Elephantgrass as a cellulosic feedstock for the Southeast. [abstract]. 30th Symposium on Biotechnology for Fuels and Chemicals, May 4-7, New Orleans, LA.

Interpretive Summary: not required

Technical Abstract: Napiergrass or elephantgrass (Pennisetum purpureum Schumach) is a tall C4 grass that is used throughout the world as a forage crop. Breeding efforts at the University of Florida and with USDA-ARS at Tifton, GA produced high yielding cultivars (Merkeron) and breeding lines during the 1980’s. Yields have been reported as high as 40 Mg ha-1yr-1 in Florida. Merkeron had significantly higher yields than switchgrass cultivar Alamo over 6 years and at three locations in Georgia. Studies are being conducted to compare napiergrass yield with switchgrass and other tall bunch grasses such as energy cane at Tifton, GA. Yields the first year were over 34 and 28 Mg ha-1 for the two napiergrass genotypes, 27 Mg ha-1 for energy cane, and 8.5 Mg ha-1 for two advanced switchgrass genotypes. Napiergrass has a good deal of genetic variability that can be exploited via selfing or crossing among parents to enhance yield and quality. Approximately 100 napiergrass plant introductions have been evaluated over the past few years. Genetic variability has been assessed via AFLP analyses, as well as phenotypic traits. Crossing has begun between the highest yielding lines and has been assessed phenotypically and genetically via AFLP technology.