Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/30/2010
Publication Date: 7/18/2010
Citation: Gravett, A., Tisserat, B. 2010. Morus spp. as a New Biomass Crop. Soil and Water Conservation Society Internationl Annual Conference. Interpretive Summary:
Technical Abstract: Generating enthusiasm from political or business entities to promote conservation requires economic viability in times of economic downturn. Massive reforestation is being considered as a governmental policy to address the climate crisis. It offers an enormous opportunity to redefine forestry plantings with the trend towards massive tree plantings with new, hardy fast growing species. Rapidly growing species with significant "value added products" offer significant promise for successful economic exploitation. Moraceae spp. offer a high potential for further development due to their high concentrations of bioactive and chemically useful compounds. Previous work done internationally on related species facilitates domestic development of Osage Orange (Maclura pomifera (Raf.) Schneid. and Red Mulberry (Morus rubra L.) industries. High levels of bioactives contained in these trees includes hydroxystilbenes, flavanoids, triterpenes, xanthones, lectins, tannins, and alkaloids. Many of these substances are as high in concentrations as known to exist in nature elsewhere, facilitating their extraction. All these are useful variably as anti-infectives, anticancer, antidiabetic, anticardiovascular and neurologic disease agents. Wood preservatives, food additives, dyes, polymers, preservatives, enzyme inhibitors, 3rd generation solar cells components (xanthones) are additional products that can be obtained in addition to bio-fuels. Large number of pre-existing trees offers potential for rural cooperative development prior to plantation establishment. Non-outsourceable jobs in tree establishment, harvest, bioprocessing, product development and distribution are an undeniable "economic stimulus." Existing research has built a significant foundation for the replacement of many petro-chemicals and fuels with biobased materials. Construction of viable biorefineries is an important start on that pathway as is appropriate feedstock development. Building on existing research and capitalizing on existing biomass sources we are constructing a model system adaptable to the spectrum of woody biomass species. The best hope for "saving the planet and the country" is development of an economically viable green industry to satisfy both environmental and commerical goals.