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ARS Home » Southeast Area » New Orleans, Louisiana » Southern Regional Research Center » Commodity Utilization Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #334481

Research Project: Developing Technologies that Enable Growth and Profitability in the Commercial Conversion of Sugarcane, Sweet Sorghum, and Energy Beets into Sugar, Advanced Biofuels, and Bioproducts

Location: Commodity Utilization Research

Title: Stability and use of sweet sorghum bagasse

item Wright, Maureen
item Lima, Isabel
item Bigner, Renee

Submitted to: Sugar Tech
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/2/2016
Publication Date: 8/5/2017
Citation: Wright, M., Lima, I., Bigner, R. 2017. Stability and use of sweet sorghum bagasse. Sugar Tech. 19(5):451-457.

Interpretive Summary: Milling of sweet sorghum stalks to remove the juice results in an accumulation of solid material called bagasse. The fibrous qualities of bagasse have potential for other uses such as fuel generation, animal bedding and animal feed. Some bagasse is spread back on the sorghum fields to enhance growth of subsequent crops, but more is generated than can be used in this way. Converting bagasse for other uses will require stabilizing of the material for processing after the harvest season has ended. This work describes chemical and microbial analysis of bagasse collected from different sorghum varietes, and at different points during the harvest season to determine whether the bagasse is naturally stale, or whether efforts must be made to stabilize it for later conversion.

Technical Abstract: With sweet sorghum production and subsequent accumulation of bagasse on the rise, it is important to look for novel uses for its by-products. Bagasse, the solid fibrous product left after sweet sorghum stalks are crushed to remove juice, is partially reapplied to the field to enhance subsequent crops. The majority of bagasse remains largely underutilized because more is produced than can be practically applied to fields. This study determined sweet sorghum bagasse chemical and microbiological properties for use as a fuel source. It was determined that sweet sorghum variety had no major effect on fuel value. Microbes have the potential to consume sugars and other beneficial compounds in bagasse, but our analysis of microbial counts showed that microorganisms did not reduce the fuel value of the bagasse tested. Sweet sorghum bagasse was also found to have favorable fuel value when compared to sugarcane bagasse, due to its lower ash and higher fixed carbon contents.