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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Improving Chemical, Physical, and Biological Properties of Degraded Sandy Soils for Environmentally Sustainable Production

Location: Coastal Plain Soil, Water and Plant Conservation Research

Title: Distribution of structural carbohydrates in corn plants as influenced by corn residue management

item Mourtzinis, Spyridon
item Cantrell, Keri
item Arriaga, Francisco
item Novak, Jeffrey - Jeff
item Frederick, James
item Karlen, Douglas - Doug

Submitted to: Sungrant Initiative
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/4/2012
Publication Date: 10/2/2012
Citation: Mourtzinis, S., Cantrell, K.B., Arriaga, F., Novak, J.M., Frederick, J.R., Karlen, D.L. 2012. Distribution of structural carbohydrates in corn plants as influenced by corn residue management [abstract]. In: Proceedings from Sun Grant National Conference: Science for Biomass Feedstock Production and Utilization, October 2-5, 2012, New Orleans, Louisiana. pp. 3. Available:

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: As part of the Sun Grant Regional Partnership corn stover project, continuous corn (Zea mays L.) field studies incorporating stover removal management practices (0 and 100% removal) were established in both Alabama and South Carolina. Plots in both states were representative of major soil types in their respective region: Alabama plots were Compass and Decatur soils; South Carolina plots were composed of a Coxville/Rains-Goldsboro-Lynchburg soil association. In addition to grain and biomass yield and soil quality responses being reported elsewhere in this conference, these two sites investigated variations in the distribution of carbon and structural carbohydrates among five plant fractions: whole plant; above the first ear excluding cobs (top); below the first ear (bottom); cob; and above the first ear including cobs (above ear). Using a combination of wet chemistry methods and near infrared spectroscopy (NIRS), the distribution of carbon and structural carbohydrates varied between the sites. Stover removal was a significant factor on carbohydrate concentrations on all plant fractions and soil types except for the Decatur. When compared to the above ear fractions, bottom plant partitions revealed greater carbon, lignin and cellulose concentrations. However, holocellulose concentration was consistently greater in cobs, tops and above ear fractions at every location. Data from this study suggest that Coxville/Rains-Goldsboro-Lynchburg soils have greater potential in producing corn biomass with desirable portions of structural carbohydrates for bioenergy, when compared to Decatur and Compass. Furthermore, the plant portions cob, top and above the first ear have the most desirable characteristics for biofuel production at all location.

Last Modified: 10/20/2017
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