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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Canal Point, Florida » Sugarcane Field Station » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #285325

Title: Energycane (Saccharum spp. x Saccharum spontaneum L.) Biomass Production, Reproduction, and Weed Risk Assessment Scoring in the Humid Tropics and Subtropics

item LEON, RAMON - Earth University
item GILBERT, ROBERT - University Of Florida
item Comstock, Jack

Submitted to: Agronomy Journal
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/23/2014
Publication Date: 12/5/2014
Citation: Leon, R.G., Gilbert, R.A., Comstock, J.C. 2014. Energycane (Saccharum spp. x Saccharum spontaneum L.) Biomass Production, Reproduction, and Weed Risk Assessment Scoring in the Humid Tropics and Subtropics. Agronomy Journal. 107(1):323-329. doi: 10.2134/agronj14.0388.

Interpretive Summary: Biomass production varied in the energy cane genotypes but all the genotypes produced more that the sugarcane checks. Energy cane with fast early growth of energy and large stalk populations with intermediate stalk diameters had yielded best. Within the energy cane genotypes evaluated there was no significant differences in cellulose, hemicelluloses and lignin content. Energy cane offers potential as a biofuel crop in the humid tropics because on its high biomass production in that it produced more biomass than sugarcane.

Technical Abstract: There is growing interest in developing biofuel crops, but there is little information on energy grass production in the humid tropics. The present study evaluated the performance of 14 energycane (Saccharum spp. × S. spontaneum) clones, elephantgrass and two sugarcane varieties in the humid tropics where conditions are favorable for plant growth throughout the year and rainfall is usually not limiting. Energycane showed high variation in biomass production and growth parameters across the different clones. However, the best performing clones US 85-1006, US 88-1006 and US 74-1014 produced almost twice the biomass (>80 Mg ha-1) compared with sugarcane varieties (Pindar and Q-132) reaching biomass production levels that are significantly higher than previous reports for energycane and other feedstocks. Even the lowest biomass yields achieved by the sugarcane varieties and the lowest yielding energycane clones were above 40 Mg ha-1, highlighting the great potential for biomass production in the humid tropics. Elephantgrass recorded one of the highest fresh weight yields (193 Mg ha-1), but intermediate dry weight (61 Mg ha-1). Among energycane clones and crops, stalk population was the growth parameter that best explained biomass production. However, there was a negative relation with stalk width, so the highest yielding clones had high stalk populations (21 to 33 stalks m-2) and intermediate stalk width (1.4 cm). Additionally, the best performing clones showed faster growth early in the growing season. No major differences were observed for cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin content among energycane clones. Sugarcane varieties had the lowest levels of these compounds, while elephantgrass had the highest cellulose (50%) and lignin content (>8%). The results confirmed that energycane is a promising feedstock for biomass and could play an important role for bioenergy production when grown in the humid tropics.