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ARS Home » Southeast Area » New Orleans, Louisiana » Southern Regional Research Center » Commodity Utilization Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #345649

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: Effect of compacting and ensiling on stabilization of sweet sorghum bagasse

item Wright, Maureen
item Lima, Isabel
item POWELL, RANDALL - Biodimensions Delta Bio-Renewables, Llc
item Bigner, Renee

Submitted to: Sugar Tech
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/22/2017
Publication Date: 2/7/2018
Citation: Wright, M.S., Lima, I.M., Powell, R., Bigner, R.L. 2018. Effect of compacting and ensiling on stabilization of sweet sorghum bagasse. Sugar Tech. 20(3):357-363.

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 a method of compacting bagasse for storage during harvest season. The method, employing inexpensive and easily operated tools, resulted in increased bulk density, reduced pH, and stabilized the microbial and physicochemical properties of bagasse from multiple time points during the season.

Technical Abstract: Bagasse is the solid fibrous product that remains after sweet sorghum stalks are crushed to remove juice, is can be reapplied to the field to enhance subsequent crops. The majority of bagasse remains underutilized because more is produced than can be practically applied to fields. Accumulation of bagasse is increasing due to increased sweet sorghum production for juice. Bagasse has potential for novel uses, but it must be stabilized for conversion outside harvest season. This study determined whether compacting and ensiling sweet sorghum bagasse prevented degradation for later processing. It was found that ensiling bagasse limited microbial degradation of the material and stabilized the physicochemical properties that will be beneficial for fuel, feed and other uses.