Location: Crop Germplasm ResearchTitle: Survey of cotton (Gossypium sp.) for non-polar, extractable hydrocarbons for use as petrochemicals and liquid fuels
Submitted to: Phytologia
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/13/2018
Publication Date: 3/16/2018
Citation: Adams, R., Frelichowski, J.E., Hinze, L.L., Ulloa, M. 2018. Survey of cotton (Gossypium sp.) for non-polar, extractable hydrocarbons for use as petrochemicals and liquid fuels. Phytologia. 100(1):37-44.
Interpretive Summary: There is a revived interest in sustainable, renewable sources of fuels from dry climate crops with the uncertainty of sustained crude oil production in the world. So far this research has been popular with Sunflower (Helianthus annus) and other plants of lesser economic interest. The annual growth habit and narrow adaptation to temperate North America limit the use of sunflower as a source of hydrocarbon fuel. Cotton is grown throughout the world in tropical climates and presents new possibilities as a hydrocarbon fuel source because of its adaptations to long and hot growing seasons. A previous study focused on screening several cotton cultivars and wild collected accessions from the USDA National Cotton Germplasm Collection for hydrocarbon content. The entries with the highest percentage of hydrocarbon content in that study were from obsolete varieties in the Germplasm Collection and were chosen for repeated study in the field and the greenhouse because of the role of the environment in hydrocarbon production in cotton plants. A significant difference in production of hydrocarbons was measured between years and environments. The largest difference in hydrocarbon yield was between years when grown in the field at College Station, Texas. Further studies are warranted to determine the sources of this large variation and to possibly use it to modify cultivation techniques to maximize hydrocarbon yield in cotton plants. Cotton is showing greater promise as another renewable source for hydrocarbons and promising accessions in the Germplasm Collection are readily available to all breeders and scientists. Cotton is already valued for lint and seed and this is another use to further the profitability and productivity for growers and producers.
Technical Abstract: A survey of USDA cotton germplasm accessions, grown with supplemental underground drip irrigation to achieve best yields at College Station, TX, found % Hydrocarbon (HC)yields from 7.35% to 3.14%. Leaf dry weights (DW) varied about 2-fold from very large leaves: TX-1196 (1.59 g), TX-1757 (1.43), TX1192 (1.26) to small leaves: SA-1427 (0.59 g), SA-1579 (0.64), SA-1232 (0.67). Yields as g HC/ g DW leaf ranged from 0.080 g to 0.028 g. None of the accessions in this survey (2017) were in the 70th percentile of the highest thirty 2016 accessions (7.37 - 13.73%). It appears that the high HC yielding quantities found in the 2016 survey were atypical and may be due to some unknown factor such as insect and/ or disease damage that caused an induction of defensive chemicals. The 2017 survey seems to be more typical of HC yields in cotton. Additional research is needed to determine the factor(s) that caused the unusually high HC yields in the 2016 test plots.