Skip to main content
ARS Home » Southeast Area » Tifton, Georgia » Crop Genetics and Breeding Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #354992

Research Project: Genetic Enhancement and Management of Warm-season Species for Forage, Turf and Renewable Energy

Location: Crop Genetics and Breeding Research

Title: Development of near infrared reflectance spectroscopy (NIRS) calibrations for traits related to ethanol conversion from genetically variable napiergrass (Pennisetum purpureum Schum.)

Author
item Anderson, William - Bill
item Dien, Bruce
item Masterson, Steven - Steve
item Mitchell, Robert - Rob

Submitted to: BioEnergy Research
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/11/2018
Publication Date: 10/27/2018
Citation: Anderson, W.F., Dien, B.S., Masterson, S.D., Mitchell, R. 2018. Development of near infrared reflectance spectroscopy (NIRS) calibrations for traits related to ethanol conversion from genetically variable napiergrass (Pennisetum purpureum Schum.). BioEnergy Research. 1-9. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12155-018-9946-8.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s12155-018-9946-8

Interpretive Summary: Tall perennial grass species have been studied for use as a biomass feedstock for conversion to biofuels. Napiergrass (Pennisetum purpureum Schum.) is one of the highest yielding feedstocks for bio-based products and biofuel in the Southern Plains of the United States. Thirty genetically diverse napiergrass accessions were selected from a collection of material originally from Latin America and analyzed for traits that accommodate conversion of the biomass to ethanol. A near infrared reflectance spectroscopy (NIRS) calibration was developed from this material to predict ethanol production, and multiple other traits by separating leaves and stems running chemical analyses in the lab and then correlating with scans from NIRS. The NIRS develops unique reflectance data for individual sources of biomass. This technique makes it 20 to 30 fold faster to analyze different material to determine the effectiveness for conversion to bio-based products. Most of the time, genetic material that had lower biomass had the best traits for conversion to biofuels. However, some napiergrass clones had good quality and quantity. These can be used for genetic improvements by using them as parents or for direct use by producers of biomass for industrial conversion.

Technical Abstract: Napiergrass (Pennisetum purpureum Schum.) is one of the highest yielding feedstocks for bio-based products and biofuel in semi-tropical areas of the United States and the world. Thirty genetically diverse napiergrass accessions were selected from a germplasm nursery in Tifton, GA and analyzed for fiber, ash, nitrogen (N) concentration, and biochemical conversion to ethanol. A near infrared reflectance spectroscopy (NIRS) calibration was developed from this material to predict ethanol production, xylans, N concentration, and ash by separating leaves and stems and correlating with wet chemistry analyses. The high diversity of material from dwarf material with high leaf and stem digestibility, to taller and more productive napiergrass cultivars resulted in high correlations with predicted results for in vitro dry matter digestibility (2 = 0.93), neutral detergent fiber (r2 = 0.83), acid detergent fiber (r2 = 0.95), ethanol (r2 = 0.90), nitrogen (r2 = 0.99), and ash r2 = 0.98). This information will allow faster evaluation of napiergrass biomass for use by industry or geneticists.