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Research Project: Conservation, Characterization, and Evaluation of Plant Genetic Resources and Associated Information

Location: Plant Genetic Resources Conservation Unit

Title: Comparison of stem damage and carbohydrate composition in the stem juice between sugarcane and sweet sorghum harvested before and after late fall frost

Author
item Wang, Ming
item Cole, Marsha
item Tonnis, Brandon
item Pinnow, David
item Xin, Zhanguo
item Davis, Jerry - University Of Georgia
item Hung, Yen Con - University Of Georgia
item Yu, Jianming - Iowa State University
item Pederson, Gary
item Eggleston, Gillian

Submitted to: Journal of Sustainable Bioenergy Systems (JSBS)
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/20/2014
Publication Date: 9/2/2014
Publication URL: http://handle.nal.usda.gov/10113/59616
Citation: Wang, M.L., Cole, M.R., Tonnis, B.D., Pinnow, D.L., Xin, Z., Davis, J., Hung, Y., Yu, J., Pederson, G.A., Eggleston, G. 2014. Comparison of stem damage and carbohydrate composition in the stem juice between sugarcane and sweet sorghum harvested before and after late fall frost. Journal of Sustainable Bioenergy Systems (JSBS). 4:161-174.

Interpretive Summary: Late fall frost may significantly affect stem sugar yield and juice quality for bioethanol production. Research on the effects of late fall frost in sugarcane is well documented, but information is lacking for sweet sorghum. Three and six previously well-characterized cultivars of sugarcane and sweet sorghum were selected and evaluated for exposure to late fall frost in Griffin, Georgia. Under the same controlled environmental conditions, late fall frost induced more damage to sugarcane stems than sweet sorghum stems. Due to dehydration after frost, stem fresh weight and juice volume were reduced in both sweet sorghum and sugarcane. However, the frost caused juice drop-out from stems and led to reduced sugar and starch in sugarcane with greater losses in carbohydrate content observed with HoCP04-838 than L99-226. Similar behavior was not observed for sweet sorghum. In a comparison of carbohydrate composition before and after frost, the glucose/fructose ratio was reduced in both sugarcane and sweet sorghum, but this change may not directly relate to the frost effect. Our preliminary results suggests that sweet sorghum may have a better tolerance to the late fall frost than sugarcane. Two sweet sorghum cultivars, Grassl and M 81E, responded well to the late fall frost, and they can be possibly used as feedstocks for bioethanol production in Southeastern U.S.

Technical Abstract: A late fall frost may significantly affect sugar crops’ stem sugar composition, yield and juice quality for biofuel and bioproduct manufacture. Research on the effects of late fall frost in sugarcane is well documented, but information is lacking for sweet sorghum. Three and six commercial cultivars of sugarcane and sweet sorghum, respectively, were selected and evaluated for exposure to a late fall, frost (-2.8°C) in Griffin, Georgia, USA. Under the same controlled environmental conditions in a screen house, the late fall frost induced more damage to sugarcane than sweet sorghum stems. The frost caused damage to sugarcane tissue and for juice to exude from stems, whereas similar behavior was not observed for sweet sorghum. In both sugarcane and sweet sorghum, the glucose/fructose ratio was significantly reduced, but this change may not be totally directly related to the frost effect. Overall, these initial results suggest that sweet sorghum may have a better tolerance to fall frost than sugarcane. Two sweet sorghum cultivars, Grassl and M81E, responded well to the late fall frost, and they can possibly used as feedstocks for biofuel/bioproduct manufacture in areas susceptible to frosts including northern regions of the Southeastern U.S.