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Sample records for switchgrass

  1. Switchgrass cultivar EG1102

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Bouton, Joseph H; Wood, Donald T

    2012-11-20

    A switchgrass cultivar designated EG1102 is disclosed. The invention relates to the seeds of switchgrass cultivar EG1102, to the plants of switchgrass EG1102, to plant parts of switchgrass cultivar EG1102 and to methods for producing a switchgrass plant produced by crossing switchgrass cultivar EG1102 with itself or with another switchgrass variety. The invention also relates to methods for producing a switchgrass plant containing in its genetic material one or more transgenes and to the transgenic switchgrass plants and plant parts produced by those methods. This invention also relates to switchgrass cultivars or breeding cultivars and plant parts derived from switchgrass variety EG1102, to methods for producing other switchgrass cultivars, lines or plant parts derived from switchgrass cultivar EG1102 and to the switchgrass plants, varieties, and their parts derived from use of those methods. The invention further relates to hybrid switchgrass seeds, plants and plant parts produced by crossing the cultivar EG1102 with another switchgrass cultivar.

  2. Switchgrass cultivar EG1101

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Bouton, Joseph H; Wood, Donald T

    2012-11-27

    A switchgrass cultivar designated EG1101 is disclosed. Also disclosed are seeds of switchgrass cultivar EG1101, plants of switchgrass EG1101, plant parts of switchgrass cultivar EG1101 and methods for producing a switchgrass plant produced by crossing switchgrass cultivar EG1101 with itself or with another switchgrass variety. Methods are also described for producing a switchgrass plant containing in its genetic material one or more transgenes and to the transgenic switchgrass plants and plant parts produced by those methods. Switchgrass cultivars or breeding cultivars and plant parts derived from switchgrass variety EG1101, methods for producing other switchgrass cultivars, lines or plant parts derived from switchgrass cultivar EG1101 and the switchgrass plants, varieties, and their parts derived from use of those methods are described herein. Hybrid switchgrass seeds, plants and plant parts produced by crossing the cultivar EG1101 with another switchgrass cultivar are also described.

  3. Genetic Transformation of Switchgrass

    Science.gov (United States)

    Xi, Yajun; Ge, Yaxin; Wang, Zeng-Yu

    Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.) is a highly productive warm-season C4 species that is being developed into a dedicated biofuel crop. This chapter describes a protocol that allows the generation of transgenic switchgrass plants by Agrobacterium tumefaciens-mediated transformation. Embryogenic calluses induced from caryopses or inflorescences were used as explants for inoculation with A. tumefaciens strain EHA105. Hygromycin phosphotransferase gene (hph) was used as the selectable marker and hygromycin was used as the selection agent. Calluses resistant to hygromycin were obtained after 5-6 weeks of selection. Soil-grown switchgrass plants were regenerated about 6 months after callus induction and Agrobacterium-mediated transformation.

  4. Registration of 'liberty' switchgrass

    Science.gov (United States)

    ‘Liberty’ switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.) is a lowland type cultivar that is adapted to USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 4, 5, and 6 in the Great Plains and Midwest, USA east of 100o W. Longitude and potentially other regions where it has not been tested to date. It was developed for use as a perennia...

  5. Switchgrass for ethanol and lipid production

    Science.gov (United States)

    Switchgrass is being developed as a dedicated cellulosic biomass crop by the Agricultural Research Service (ARS). Switchgrass is a native prairie grass with high productivity and favorable agronomic traits. ARS researchers have recently released Liberty switchgrass, which has a 25-78% increase in bi...

  6. Production of polyhydroxybutyrate in switchgrass

    Science.gov (United States)

    Somleva, Mariya N.; Snell, Kristi D.; Beaulieu, Julie; Peoples, Oliver P.; Garrison, Bradley; Patterson, Nii

    2013-07-16

    Transgenic plants, plant material, and plant cells for synthesis of polyhydroxyalkanoates, preferably poly(3-hydroxybutyrate) (also referred to a as PHB) are provided. Preferred plants that can be genetically engineered to produce PHB include plants that do not normally produce storage products such as oils and carbohydrates, and plants that have a C.sub.4 NAD-malic enzyme photosynthetic pathway. Such plants also advantageously produce lignocellulosic biomass that can be converted into biofuels. An exemplary plant that can be genetically engineered to produce PHB and produce lignocellulosic biomass is switchgrass, Panicum virgatum L. A preferred cultivar of switchgrass is Alamo. Other suitable cultivars of switchgrass include but are not limited to Blackwell, Kanlow, Nebraska 28, Pathfinder, Cave-in-Rock, Shelter and Trailblazer.

  7. The Switchgrass Genome: Tools and Strategies

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Michael D. Casler

    2011-11-01

    Full Text Available Switchgrass ( L. is a perennial grass species receiving significant focus as a potential bioenergy crop. In the last 5 yr the switchgrass research community has produced a genetic linkage map, an expressed sequence tag (EST database, a set of single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP markers that are distributed across the 18 linkage groups, 4x sampling of the AP13 genome in 400-bp reads, and bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC libraries containing over 200,000 clones. These studies have revealed close collinearity of the switchgrass genome with those of sorghum [ (L. Moench], rice ( L., and (L. P. Beauv. Switchgrass researchers have also developed several microarray technologies for gene expression studies. Switchgrass genomic resources will accelerate the ability of plant breeders to enhance productivity, pest resistance, and nutritional quality. Because switchgrass is a relative newcomer to the genomics world, many secrets of the switchgrass genome have yet to be revealed. To continue to efficiently explore basic and applied topics in switchgrass, it will be critical to capture and exploit the knowledge of plant geneticists and breeders on the next logical steps in the development and utilization of genomic resources for this species. To this end, the community has established a switchgrass genomics executive committee and work group ( [verified 28 Oct. 2011].

  8. Sustainable Production of Switchgrass for Biomass Energy

    Science.gov (United States)

    Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.) is a C4 grass native to the North American tallgrass prairies, which historically extended from Mexico to Canada. It is the model perennial warm-season grass for biomass energy. USDA-ARS in Lincoln, NE has studied switchgrass continuously since 1936. Plot-scale rese...

  9. Delignification of Switchgrass Cultivars for Bioethanol Production

    Science.gov (United States)

    Three switchgrass cultivars (‘Performer’, ‘BoMaster’, and ‘Colony’ switchgrass) were delignified using NaOH at varying concentrations and residence times at 121 oC for improved sugar production in enzymatic hydrolysis. Because of its greater carbohydrate/lignin ratio and the more substantial lignin ...

  10. Chemical compositions of four switchgrass populations

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Yan, Jinhua; Hu, Zhoujian; Pu, Yunqiao [School of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Institute of Paper Science and Technology, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA 30332 (United States); Charles Brummer, E. [Institute of Plant Breeding, Center for Applied Genetic Technologies Crop and Soil Sciences Department, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602 (United States); Ragauskas, Arthur J. [School of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Institute of Paper Science and Technology, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA 30332 (United States); Forest Products and Chemical Engineering, Chemical and Biological Engineering, Chalmers University of Technology, SE-412 96 Goeteborg (Sweden)

    2010-01-15

    Four populations of switchgrass (Alamo, GA993, GA992, Kanlow), Panicum virgatum L., were studied for the difference of their chemical constituents. The extractives, Klason lignin, and carbohydrates compositions of the stem portion of these switchgrass populations were determined by gas chromatography mass spectroscopy (GC-MS) and high performance anion exchange chromatography with pulsed amperometric detection (HPAEC-PAD) respectively. Ball milled grass lignin (BMGL) was isolated and analyzed by NMR spectroscopy. The results demonstrated that the chemical compositions of four switchgrass populations were similar with the exception of the lignin content and chemical composition of extractives. The results of quantitative {sup 13}C NMR spectroscopy indicated that switchgrass lignin consisted of p-hydroxylphenyl, guaiacyl, and syringyl units in an average ratio of 26:42:32 and incorporated with p-coumaric acid and ferulic acid at a level of approximately 0.20 per aromatic ring. The lignin structure of four switchgrass cultivars was comparable. (author)

  11. Switchgrass a valuable biomass crop for energy

    CERN Document Server

    2012-01-01

    The demand of renewable energies is growing steadily both from policy and from industry which seeks environmentally friendly feed stocks. The recent policies enacted by the EU, USA and other industrialized countries foresee an increased interest in the cultivation of energy crops; there is clear evidence that switchgrass is one of the most promising biomass crop for energy production and bio-based economy and compounds. Switchgrass: A Valuable Biomass Crop for Energy provides a comprehensive guide to  switchgrass in terms of agricultural practices, potential use and markets, and environmental and social benefits. Considering this potential energy source from its biology, breed and crop physiology to its growth and management to the economical, social and environmental impacts, Switchgrass: A Valuable Biomass Crop for Energy brings together chapters from a range of experts in the field, including a foreword from Kenneth P. Vogel, to collect and present the environmental benefits and characteristics of this a ...

  12. Switching to switchgrass: Pathways and consequences of bioenergy switchgrass entering the Midwestern landscape

    Science.gov (United States)

    Krohn, Brian

    The US has the ambitious goal of producing 60 billion liters of cellulosic biofuel by 2022. Researchers and US Federal Agencies have identified switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.) as a potential feedstock for next generation biofuels to help meet this goal because of its excellent agronomic and environmental characteristics. With national policy supporting the development of a switchgrass to bioenergy industry two key questions arise: 1) Under what economic and political conditions will switchgrass enter the landscape? 2) Where on the landscape will switchgrass be cultivated given varying economic and political conditions? The goal of this dissertation is to answer these questions by analyzing the adoption of switchgrass across the upper Midwestern US at a high spatial resolution (30m) under varying economic conditions. In the first chapter, I model switchgrass yields at a high resolution and find considerable variability in switchgrass yields across space, scale, time, and nitrogen management. Then in the second chapter, I use the spatial results from chapter one to challenge the assumption that low-input (unmanaged) switchgrass systems cannot compete economically with high-input (managed) switchgrass systems. Finally, in the third chapter, I evaluate the economic and land quality conditions required for switchgrass to be competitive with a corn/soy rotation. I find that switchgrass can displace low-yielding corn/soy on environmentally sensitive land but, to be competitive, it requires economic support through payments for ecosystem services equal to 360 ha-1. With a total expenditure of 4.3 billion annually for ecosystem services, switchgrass could displace corn/soy on 12.2 million hectares of environmentally sensitive land and increase ethanol production above that from the existing corn by 20 billion liters. Thus, ecosystem services can be an effective means of meeting both bioenergy and environmental goals. Taking the three chapters in aggregate it is apparent

  13. Production and supply logistics of switchgrass as an energy feedstock

    Science.gov (United States)

    Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.) is a warm-season (C4), perennial grass that is native to the tallgrass ecoregion of North America (Figure 1). Historically, switchgrass has been used for summer forage, hay, ensiling, or in conservation plantings. At the end of the 20th century, switchgrass was de...

  14. Micro-mesh fabric pollination bags for switchgrass

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pollination bags for making controlled crosses between switchgrass plants were made from a polyester micro-mesh fabric with a mesh size of 41 µm which is smaller than the mean reported 43 µm diameter of switchgrass pollen. When used in paired plant crosses between switchgrass plants, the mean amoun...

  15. Production of deuterated switchgrass by hydroponic cultivation.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Evans, Barbara R; Bali, Garima; Foston, Marcus; Ragauskas, Arthur J; O'Neill, Hugh M; Shah, Riddhi; McGaughey, Joseph; Reeves, David; Rempe, Caroline S; Davison, Brian H

    2015-07-01

    The bioenergy crop switchgrass was grown hydroponically from tiller cuttings in 50 % D 2 O to obtain biomass with 34 % deuterium substitution and physicochemical properties similar to those of H 2 O-grown switchgrass controls. Deuterium enrichment of biological materials can potentially enable expanded experimental use of small angle neutron scattering (SANS) to investigate molecular structural transitions of complex systems such as plant cell walls. Two key advances have been made that facilitate cultivation of switchgrass, an important forage and biofuel crop, for controlled isotopic enrichment: (1) perfusion system with individual chambers and (2) hydroponic growth from tiller cuttings. Plants were grown and maintained for several months with periodic harvest. Photosynthetic activity was monitored by measurement of CO2 in outflow from the growth chambers. Plant morphology and composition appeared normal compared to matched controls grown with H2O. Using this improved method, gram quantities of switchgrass leaves and stems were produced by continuous hydroponic cultivation using growth medium consisting of basal mineral salts in 50 % D2O. Deuterium incorporation was confirmed by detection of the O-D and C-D stretching peaks with FTIR and quantified by (1)H- and (2)H-NMR. This capability to produce deuterated lignocellulosic biomass under controlled conditions will enhance investigation of cell wall structure and its deconstruction by neutron scattering and NMR techniques.

  16. Microwave pretreatment of switchgrass for bioethanol production

    Science.gov (United States)

    Keshwani, Deepak Radhakrishin

    Lignocellulosic materials are promising alternative feedstocks for bioethanol production. These materials include agricultural residues, cellulosic waste such as newsprint and office paper, logging residues, and herbaceous and woody crops. However, the recalcitrant nature of lignocellulosic biomass necessitates a pretreatment step to improve the yield of fermentable sugars. The overall goal of this dissertation is to expand the current state of knowledge on microwave-based pretreatment of lignocellulosic biomass. Existing research on bioenergy and value-added applications of switchgrass is reviewed in Chapter 2. Switchgrass is an herbaceous energy crop native to North America and has high biomass productivity, potentially low requirements for agricultural inputs and positive environmental impacts. Based on results from test plots, yields in excess of 20 Mg/ha have been reported. Environmental benefits associated with switchgrass include the potential for carbon sequestration, nutrient recovery from run-off, soil remediation and provision of habitats for grassland birds. Published research on pretreatment of switchgrass reported glucose yields ranging from 70-90% and xylose yields ranging from 70-100% after hydrolysis and ethanol yields ranging from 72-92% after fermentation. Other potential value-added uses of switchgrass include gasification, bio-oil production, newsprint production and fiber reinforcement in thermoplastic composites. Research on microwave-based pretreatment of switchgrass and coastal bermudagrass is presented in Chapter 3. Pretreatments were carried out by immersing the biomass in dilute chemical reagents and exposing the slurry to microwave radiation at 250 watts for residence times ranging from 5 to 20 minutes. Preliminary experiments identified alkalis as suitable chemical reagents for microwave-based pretreatment. An evaluation of different alkalis identified sodium hydroxide as the most effective alkali reagent. Under optimum pretreatment

  17. ESTABLISHMENT AND EVALUATION OF SWITCHGRASS ON RECLAIMED MINE SOIL [English

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Lang, David; Shankle, Brandon; Oswalt, Ernest; Duckworth, Jeremy; Sanborn, Judd; Buell, Rebecca; Roberson, Bill

    2010-06-30

    Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.) is a native warm season perennial grass that has productive potential of up to 20 Mg ha-1 of biomass and it persists for decades when harvested once per year. Switchgrass provides excellent ground cover and soil stabilization once established and contributes to soil sequestration of new carbon. Slow establishment on newly reclaimed soil, however, provides for significant erosive opportunities thereby requiring initial soil stabilization with a cover crop. Several planting options were evaluated on two topsoil substitute soils. The planting options included: 1) an existing stand of bermudagrass (Cynodon dactylon L.) that was killed with glyphosate followed by disking in red oxidized topsoil substitute and prime farmland topsoil respread in 2007, 2) red oxidized topsoil substitute was seeded directly with switchgrass, 3) browntop millet (Panicum ramosum) was established with switchgrass, 4) or switchgrass was established in senescing browntop millet or wheat without tillage. Switchgrass was successfully established into a bermudagrass sod that had been killed with herbicides and disked as well as into a senescing stand of browntop millet or wheat. Significant soil erosion occurred on the disked area in 2008 leading to considerable repair work followed by planting wheat. Disked areas that did not erode had an excellent stand of switchgrass with 23.3 plants m-2 in November, 2008. Eroded areas replanted in April, 2009 into senescing wheat had 46 plants m-2 by July, 2009. The area planted directly into newly respread soil in May, 2009 was eroded severely by a 75 mm thunderstorm and was repaired, disked and replanted to switchgrass and browntop millet. Switchgrass seeded with browntop millet had a sparse switchgrass stand and was replanted to switchgrass in August, 2009. Rainfall volumes from August, 2009 to October, 2009 totaled 750 mm, but new erosion damage in areas successfully planted to switchgrass has been minimal.

  18. Exploring the switchgrass transcriptome using second-generation sequencing technology.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Yixing Wang

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L. is a C4 perennial grass and widely popular as an important bioenergy crop. To accelerate the pace of developing high yielding switchgrass cultivars adapted to diverse environmental niches, the generation of genomic resources for this plant is necessary. The large genome size and polyploid nature of switchgrass makes whole genome sequencing a daunting task even with current technologies. Exploring the transcriptional landscape using next generation sequencing technologies provides a viable alternative to whole genome sequencing in switchgrass. PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Switchgrass cDNA libraries from germinating seedlings, emerging tillers, flowers, and dormant seeds were sequenced using Roche 454 GS-FLX Titanium technology, generating 980,000 reads with an average read length of 367 bp. De novo assembly generated 243,600 contigs with an average length of 535 bp. Using the foxtail millet genome as a reference greatly improved the assembly and annotation of switchgrass ESTs. Comparative analysis of the 454-derived switchgrass EST reads with other sequenced monocots including Brachypodium, sorghum, rice and maize indicated a 70-80% overlap. RPKM analysis demonstrated unique transcriptional signatures of the four tissues analyzed in this study. More than 24,000 ESTs were identified in the dormant seed library. In silico analysis indicated that there are more than 2000 EST-SSRs in this collection. Expression of several orphan ESTs was confirmed by RT-PCR. SIGNIFICANCE: We estimate that about 90% of the switchgrass gene space has been covered in this analysis. This study nearly doubles the amount of EST information for switchgrass currently in the public domain. The celerity and economical nature of second-generation sequencing technologies provide an in-depth view of the gene space of complex genomes like switchgrass. Sequence analysis of closely related members of the NAD(+-malic enzyme type C4 grasses such as

  19. Evaluation of parameters affecting switchgrass tissue culture: toward a consolidated procedure forAgrobacterium-mediated transformation of switchgrass (Panicum virgatum).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lin, Chien-Yuan; Donohoe, Bryon S; Ahuja, Neha; Garrity, Deborah M; Qu, Rongda; Tucker, Melvin P; Himmel, Michael E; Wei, Hui

    2017-01-01

    Switchgrass ( Panicum virgatum ), a robust perennial C4-type grass, has been evaluated and designated as a model bioenergy crop by the U.S. DOE and USDA. Conventional breeding of switchgrass biomass is difficult because it displays self-incompatible hindrance. Therefore, direct genetic modifications of switchgrass have been considered the more effective approach to tailor switchgrass with traits of interest. Successful transformations have demonstrated increased biomass yields, reduction in the recalcitrance of cell walls and enhanced saccharification efficiency. Several tissue culture protocols have been previously described to produce transgenic switchgrass lines using different nutrient-based media, co-cultivation approaches, and antibiotic strengths for selection. After evaluating the published protocols, we consolidated these approaches and optimized the process to develop a more efficient protocol for producing transgenic switchgrass. First, seed sterilization was optimized, which led to a 20% increase in yield of induced calluses. Second, we have selected a N 6 macronutrient/B 5 micronutrient (NB)-based medium for callus induction from mature seeds of the Alamo cultivar, and chose a Murashige and Skoog-based medium to regenerate both Type I and Type II calluses. Third, Agrobacterium -mediated transformation was adopted that resulted in 50-100% positive regenerated transformants after three rounds (2 weeks/round) of selection with antibiotic. Genomic DNA PCR, RT-PCR, Southern blot, visualization of the red fluorescent protein and histochemical β-glucuronidase (GUS) staining were conducted to confirm the positive switchgrass transformants. The optimized methods developed here provide an improved strategy to promote the production and selection of callus and generation of transgenic switchgrass lines. The process for switchgrass transformation has been evaluated and consolidated to devise an improved approach for transgenic switchgrass production. With the

  20. Breaking seed dormancy of switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.): A review

    Science.gov (United States)

    Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.) is a perennial warm-season grass identified as a model species for bioenergy feedstock. Established switchgrass stand are very resilient to environmental fluctuations, however, seed dormancy and weak seedling vigor make establishment difficult. Seeds with high leve...

  1. Response of switchgrass yield to future climate change

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Tulbure, Mirela G; Wimberly, Michael C; Owens, Vance N

    2012-01-01

    A climate envelope approach was used to model the response of switchgrass, a model bioenergy species in the United States, to future climate change. The model was built using general additive models (GAMs), and switchgrass yields collected at 45 field trial locations as the response variable. The model incorporated variables previously shown to be the main determinants of switchgrass yield, and utilized current and predicted 1 km climate data from WorldClim. The models were run with current WorldClim data and compared with results of predicted yield obtained using two climate change scenarios across three global change models for three time steps. Results did not predict an increase in maximum switchgrass yield but showed an overall shift in areas of high switchgrass productivity for both cytotypes. For upland cytotypes, the shift in high yields was concentrated in northern and north-eastern areas where there were increases in average growing season temperature, whereas for lowland cultivars the areas where yields were projected to increase were associated with increases in average early growing season precipitation. These results highlight the fact that the influences of climate change on switchgrass yield are spatially heterogeneous and vary depending on cytotype. Knowledge of spatial distribution of suitable areas for switchgrass production under climate change should be incorporated into planning of current and future biofuel production. Understanding how switchgrass yields will be affected by future changes in climate is important for achieving a sustainable biofuels economy. (letter)

  2. Antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory activity of switchgrass-derived extractives

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Labbe, Nicole; Ownley, Bonnie H.; Gwinn, Kimberly D.; Moustaid-Moussa, Naima; D' Souza, Doris H.

    2016-03-15

    Switchgrass is an increasingly important biofuel crop, but knowledge of switchgrass fungal pathogens is not extensive. The purpose of this research was to identify the fungal pathogens that decrease crop yield of switchgrass grown in Tennessee and to investigate a potential sustainable disease management strategy from a value-added by-product of the switchgrass biofuel conversion process. The specific objectives were 1) to identify and characterize prevalent fungal pathogens of switchgrass in Tennessee, 2) assess switchgrass seed produced in the United States for seedborne fungal pathogens, and 3) evaluate switchgrass extractives for antimicrobial activity against plant pathogens.

  3. Switchgrass growth and pine–switchgrass interactions in established intercropping systems

    Czech Academy of Sciences Publication Activity Database

    Tian, S.; Cacho, J. F.; Youssef, M. A.; Chescheir, G. M.; Fischer, Milan; Nettles, J. E.; King, J. S.

    2017-01-01

    Roč. 9, č. 5 (2017), s. 845-857 ISSN 1757-1693 Institutional support: RVO:67179843 Keywords : agroforestry * competition * grass growth * interspecific interactions * loblolly pine * switchgrass Subject RIV: GC - Agronomy OBOR OECD: Agronomy, plant breeding and plant protection Impact factor: 4.655, year: 2016

  4. Simulating Potential Switchgrass Production in the United States

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Thomson, Allison M.; Izaurralde, Roberto C.; West, T. O.; Parrish, David J.; Tyler, Donald D.; Williams, Jimmy R.

    2009-12-31

    Using results from field trials of switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.) in the United States, the EPIC (Environmental Policy Integrated Climate) process-level agroecosystem model was calibrated, validated, and applied to simulate potential productivity of switchgrass for use as a biofuel feedstock. The model was calibrated with a regional study of 10-yr switchgrass field trials and subsequently tested against a separate compiled dataset of field trials from across the eastern half of the country. An application of the model in a national database using 8-digit watersheds as the primary modeling unit produces 30-yr average switchgrass yield estimates that can be aggregated to 18 major watersheds. The model projects average annual switchgrass productivity of greater than 7 Mg ha-1 in the Upper Mississippi, Lower Mississippi, and Ohio watersheds. The major factors limiting simulated production vary by region; low precipitation is the primary limiting factor across the western half of the country, while moderately acidic soils limit yields on lands east of the Mississippi River. Average projected switchgrass production on all crop land in the continental US is 5.6 Mg ha-1. At this level of productivity, 28.6 million hectares of crop land would be required to produce the 16 billion gallons of cellulosic ethanol called for by 2022 in the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act. The model described here can be applied as a tool to inform the land-use and environmental consequences of switchgrass production.

  5. Responses of switchgrass to precipitation changes: Nonlinear and asymmetric?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Background/Question/Methods: Climate changes, including chronic changes in precipitation amounts, will influence plant physiology, biomass and productivity, and soil respiration. However, such precipitation effects on switchgrass, a major bioenergy crop, have not been well investigated. Two preci...

  6. Compositional analysis of water-soluble materials in switchgrass.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chen, Shou-Feng; Mowery, Richard A; Sevcik, Richard S; Scarlata, Christopher J; Chambliss, C Kevin

    2010-03-24

    Any valuation of a potential feedstock for bioprocessing is inherently dependent upon detailed knowledge of its chemical composition. Accepted analytical procedures for compositional analysis of biomass water-soluble extracts currently enable near-quantitative mass closure on a dry weight basis. Techniques developed in conjunction with a previous analytical assessment of corn stover have been applied to assess the composition of water-soluble materials in four representative switchgrass samples. To date, analytical characterization of water-soluble material in switchgrass has resulted in >78% mass closures for all four switchgrass samples, three of which have a mass closure of >85%. Over 30 previously unknown constituents in aqueous extracts of switchgrass were identified and quantified using a variety of chromatographic techniques. Carbohydrates (primarily sucrose, glucose, and fructose) were found to be the predominant water-soluble components of switchgrass, accounting for 18-27% of the dry weight of extractives. Total glycans (monomeric and oligomeric sugars) contributed 25-32% to the dry weight of extractives. Additional constituents contributing to the mass balance for extractives included various alditols (2-3%), organic acids (10-13%), inorganic ions (11-13%), and a distribution of oligomers presumed to represent a diverse mixture of lignin-carbohydrate complexes (30-35%). Switchgrass results are compared with previous analyses of corn stover extracts and presented in the context of their potential impact on biomass processing, feedstock storage, and future analyses of feedstock composition.

  7. Economics of intercropping loblolly pine and switchgrass for bioenergy markets in the southeastern United States

    Science.gov (United States)

    Andres Susaeta; Janaki Alavalapati Pankaj Lal; D. Evan Mercer; Douglas Carter

    2012-01-01

    Abstract The main objective of this study was to assess the economics of alley cropping of loblolly pine (Pinus taeda L.) and switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) in the southern United States. Assuming a price range of switchgrass between $15 and $50 Mg-1 and yield of 12 Mg ha-1 year-1, we investigated the effect of switchgrass production on the optimal forest management...

  8. Developing Switchgrass as a Bioenergy Crop

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Bouton, J.; Bransby, D.; Conger, B.; McLaughlin, S.; Ocumpaugh, W.; Parrish, D.; Taliaferro, C.; Vogel, K.; Wullschleger, S.

    1998-11-08

    The utilization of energy crops produced on American farms as a source of renewable fuels is a concept with great relevance to current ecological and economic issues at both national and global scales. Development of a significant national capacity to utilize perennial forage crops, such as switchgrass (Panicum virgatum, L.) as biofuels could benefit our agricultural economy by providing an important new source of income for farmers. In addition energy production from perennial cropping systems, which are compatible with conventional fining practices, would help reduce degradation of agricultural soils, lower national dependence on foreign oil supplies, and reduce emissions of greenhouse gases and toxic pollutants to the atmosphere (McLaughlin 1998). Interestingly, on-farm energy production is a very old concept, extending back to 19th century America when both transpofiation and work on the farm were powered by approximately 27 million draft animals and fueled by 34 million hectares of grasslands (Vogel 1996). Today a new form of energy production is envisioned for some of this same acreage. The method of energy production is exactly the same - solar energy captured in photosynthesis, but the subsequent modes of energy conversion are vastly different, leading to the production of electricity, transportation fuels, and chemicals from the renewable feedstocks. While energy prices in the United States are among the cheapest in the world, the issues of high dependency on imported oil, the uncertainties of maintaining stable supplies of imported oil from finite reserves, and the environmental costs associated with mining, processing, and combusting fossil fuels have been important drivers in the search for cleaner burning fuels that can be produced and renewed from the landscape. At present biomass and bioenergy combine provide only about 4% of the total primary energy used in the U.S. (Overend 1997). By contrast, imported oil accounts for approximately 44% of the

  9. Towards uncovering the roles of switchgrass peroxidases in plant processes

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Aaron eSaathoff

    2013-06-01

    Full Text Available Herbaceous perennial plants selected as potential biofuel feedstocks had been understudied at the genomic and functional genomic levels. Recent investments, primarily by the U.S. Department of Energy, have led to the development of a number of molecular resources for bioenergy grasses, such as the partially annotated genome for switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L., and some related diploid species. In its current version, the switchgrass genome contains 65,878 gene models arising from the A and B genomes of this tetraploid grass. The availability of these gene sequences provides a framework to exploit transcriptomic data obtained from next generation sequencing platforms to address questions of biological importance. One such question pertains to discovery of genes and proteins important for biotic and abiotic stress responses, and how these components might affect biomass quality and stress response in plants engineered for a specific end purpose. It can be expected that production of switchgrass on marginal lands will expose plants to diverse stresses, including herbivory by insects. Class III plant peroxidases have been implicated in many developmental responses such as lignification and in the adaptive responses of plants to insect feeding. Here, we have analyzed the class III peroxidases encoded by the switchgrass genome, and have mined available transcriptomic datasets to develop a first understanding of the expression profiles of the class III peroxidases in different plant tissues. Lastly, we have identified switchgrass peroxidases that appear to be orthologs of enzymes shown to play key roles in lignification and plant defense responses to hemipterans.

  10. A Probabilistic Analysis of the Switchgrass Ethanol Cycle

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Tadeusz W. Patzek

    2010-09-01

    Full Text Available The switchgrass-driven process for producing ethanol has received much popular attention. However, a realistic analysis of this process indicates three serious limitations: (a If switchgrass planted on 140 million hectares (the entire area of active U.S. cropland were used as feedstock and energy source for ethanol production, the net ethanol yield would replace on average about 20% of today’s gasoline consumption in the U.S. (b Because nonrenewable resources are required to produce ethanol from switchgrass, the incremental gas emissions would be on average 55 million tons of equivalent carbon dioxide per year to replace just 10% of U.S. automotive gasoline. (c In terms of delivering electrical or mechanical power, ethanol from 1 hectare (10,000 m2 of switchgrass is equivalent, on average, to 30 m2 of low-efficiency photovoltaic cells. This analysis suggests that investing toward more efficient and durable solar cells, and batteries, may be more promising than investing in a process to convert switchgrass to ethanol.

  11. VOC Emissions from the Potential Biofuel Crop, Switchgrass

    Science.gov (United States)

    Graus, M.; Eller, A. S.; Fall, R.; Gilman, J. B.; Kuster, W. C.; de Gouw, J. A.; Qian, Y.; Sekimoto, K.; Monson, R. K.; Warneke, C.

    2010-12-01

    Volatile organic compound (VOC) emission rates during the growth and simulated harvest phases were determined for three different cultivars of switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) using laboratory chamber measurements. Switchgrass is a candidate for use in second-generation (cellulosic) ethanol production and the acerage dedicated to its growth in the USA has already increased during the past decade. We estimate that the yearly emissions from switchgrass plantations, including both the growth and harvest phases, will be on the order of 3 kg C ha-1 methanol, 1 kg C ha-1 acetaldehyde, 1 kg C ha-1 acetone, 0.9 kg C ha-1 monoterpenes, 0.5 kg C ha-1 isoprene + 1-penten-3-ol, 0.2 kg C ha-1 hexenals, and 0.1 kg C ha-1 hexenols. These emission rates are lower than those expected from Eucalyptus or Poplar plantations, which are other potential biofuel crops and have significantly higher VOC emissions.

  12. Investigation of Pleurotus ostreatus pretreatment on switchgrass for ethanol production

    Science.gov (United States)

    Slavens, Shelyn Gehle

    Fungal pretreatment using the white-rot fungus Pleurotus ostreatus on switchgrass for ethanol production was studied. In a small-scale storage study, small switchgrass bales were inoculated with fungal spawn and automatically watered to maintain moisture. Sampled at 25, 53, and 81 d, the switchgrass composition was determined and liquid hot water (LHW) pretreatment was conducted. Fungal pretreatment significantly decreased the xylan and lignin content; glucan was not significantly affected by fungal loading. The glucan, xylan, and lignin contents significantly decreased with increased fungal pretreatment time. The effects of the fungal pretreatment were not highly evident after the LHW pretreatment, showing only changes based on sampling time. Although other biological activity within the bales increased cellulose degradation, the fungal pretreatment successfully reduced the switchgrass lignin and hemicellulose contents. In a laboratory-scale nutrient supplementation study, copper, manganese, glucose, or water was added to switchgrass to induce production of ligninolytic enzymes by P. ostreatus. After 40 d, ligninolytic enzyme activities and biomass composition were determined and simultaneous saccharification and fermentation (SSF) was conducted to determine ethanol yield. Laccase activity was similar for all supplements and manganese peroxidase (MnP) activity was significantly less in copper-treated samples than in the other fungal-inoculated samples. The fungal pretreatment reduced glucan, xylan, and lignin content, while increasing extractable sugars content. The lowest lignin contents occurred in the water-fungal treated samples and produced the greatest ethanol yields. The greatest lignin contents occurred in the copper-fungal treated samples and produced the lowest ethanol yields. Manganese-fungal and glucose-fungal treated samples had similar, intermediate lignin contents and produced similar, intermediate ethanol yields. Ethanol yields from switchgrass

  13. Environmental sustainability of intercropping switchgrass in a loblolly pine forest

    Science.gov (United States)

    George Chescheir; Francois Birgand; Mohamed Youssef; Jami Nettles; Devendra Amatya

    2016-01-01

    A multi-institutional watershed study has been conducted since 2010 to quantify the environmental sustainability of planting switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.) between wide rows of loblolly pine (Pinus taeda L.). The hypothesized advantage of this intercropping system is the production of biofuel feedstock to provide additional...

  14. Field productivities of Switchgrass for conversion to sugars and ethanol

    Science.gov (United States)

    Switchgrass (SG, Panicum virgatum) is a warm season perennial grass being developed as a dedicated bioenergy crop. The Agricultural Research Service has recently released a new cultivar of SG named Liberty, which is a cross between Summer and Kanlow cultivars. In prior studies Liberty grown on 4 sit...

  15. Use of Switchgrass as a Nursery Container Substrate

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pine (Pinus taeda L.) bark is the primary component of Nursery container crops in the eastern U.S. Shortages in pine bark prompted investigation of alternative substrates. The objective of this research was to determine if ground switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.) could be used for short production...

  16. Generation of octoploid switchgrass by seedling treatment with mitotic inhibitors

    Science.gov (United States)

    Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.) exists as multiple cytotypes with octaploid and tetraploid populations occupying distinct, overlapping ranges. These cytotypes tend to show differences in adaptation, yield potential, and other characters, but the specific role of whole genome duplication is not cl...

  17. Selecting, Establishing, and Managing Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) for Biofuels

    Science.gov (United States)

    Parrish, David J.; Fike, John H.

    Switchgrass is being widely considered as a feedstock for biofuel production. Much remains to be learned about ideal feedstock characteristics, but switchgrass offers many advantages already and can perhaps be manipulated to offer more. When planning to grow switchgrass, select a cultivar that is well adapted to the location - generally a lowland cultivar for the southern United States and an upland cultivar at higher latitudes. Plant non-dormant seed after soils are well warmed, preferably with no-till methods and always with good weed control. Except for weeds, few pests appear to be widespread; but disease and insect pests could become more important as acreages increase. Fertilization requirements are relatively low, with 50 kg N/ha/year being a good “generic” recommendation where a single harvest is taken after plants have senesced; more will be needed if biomass is harvested while still green. Switchgrass should be harvested no more than twice per year and may generally be expected to produce 12 to ≥20 mg/ha/year across its usual range of distribution. A single harvest may provide for maximum sustainable yields - especially if the harvest is taken after tops die back at the end of the season. Several harvesting technologies are available, but the preferred technology may depend on logistics and economics associated with the local processing point, or biorefinery.

  18. The WRKY transcription factor family and senescence in switchgrass

    Science.gov (United States)

    Background: Early aerial senescence in switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) can significantly limit biomass yields. WRKY transcription factors that can regulate senescence could be used to reprogram senescence and enhance biomass yields. Methods: All potential WRKY genes present in the version 1.0 of the...

  19. Translational Genomics for the Improvement of Switchgrass

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Carpita, Nicholas; McCann, Maureen

    2014-05-07

    Our objectives were to apply bioinformatics and high throughput sequencing technologies to identify and classify the genes involved in cell wall formation in maize and switchgrass. Targets for genetic modification were to be identified and cell wall materials isolated and assayed for enhanced performance in bioprocessing. We annotated and assembled over 750 maize genes into gene families predicted to function in cell wall biogenesis. Comparative genomics of maize, rice, and Arabidopsis sequences revealed differences in gene family structure. In addition, differences in expression between gene family members of Arabidopsis, maize and rice underscored the need for a grass-specific genetic model for functional analyses. A forward screen of mature leaves of field-grown maize lines by near-infrared spectroscopy yielded several dozen lines with heritable spectroscopic phenotypes, several of which near-infrared (nir) mutants had altered carbohydrate-lignin compositions. Our contributions to the maize genome sequencing effort built on knowledge of copy number variation showing that uneven gene losses between duplicated regions were involved in returning an ancient allotetraploid to a genetically diploid state. For example, although about 25% of all duplicated genes remain genome-wide, all of the cellulose synthase (CesA) homologs were retained. We showed that guaiacyl and syringyl lignin in lignocellulosic cell-wall materials from stems demonstrate a two-fold natural variation in content across a population of maize Intermated B73 x Mo7 (IBM) recombinant inbred lines, a maize Association Panel of 282 inbreds and landraces, and three populations of the maize Nested Association Mapping (NAM) recombinant inbred lines grown in three years. We then defined quantitative trait loci (QTL) for stem lignin content measured using pyrolysis molecular-beam mass spectrometry, and glucose and xylose yield measured using an enzymatic hydrolysis assay. Among five multi-year QTL for lignin

  20. ASSESSING OF HERBIVOROUS AND BENEFICIAL INSECTS ON SWITCHGRASS IN UKRAINE.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stefanovska, T; Kucherovska, S; Pisdlisnyuk, V

    2014-01-01

    A perennial switchgrass, (Panicum virgatum L.), (C4) that is native to North America has good potential for biomass production because of its wide geographic distribution and adaptability to diverse environmental conditions. Insects can significantly impact the yield and quality of biofuel crops. If switchgrass are to be grown on marginally arable land or in monoculture, it are likely to be plagued with herbivore pests and plant diseases at a rate that exceeds what would be expected if the plants were not stressed in this manner. This biofuel crop has been under evaluation for commercial growing in Ukraine for eight years. However, insect diversity and the potential impact of pests on biomass production of this feedstock have not been accessed yet. The objective of our study, started in 2011, is a survey of switch grass insects by trophic groups and determine species that have pest status at two sites in the Central part of Ukraine (Kiev and Poltava regions). In Poltava site we investigated the effect of nine varieties of switchgrass (lowland and upland) to insects' diversity. We assessed changes over time in the densities of major insects' trophic groups, identifying potential pests and natural enemies. Obtained results indicates that different life stages of herbivorous insects from Hymenoptera, Homoptera, Diptera and Coleoptera orders were present on switchgrass during the growing season. Our study results suggests that choice of variety has an impact on trophic groups' structure and number of insects from different orders on swicthgrass. Herbivores and beneficial insects were the only groups that showed significant differences across sampling dates. The highest population of herbivores insects we recorded on 'Alamo' variety for studied years, although herbivore diversity tended to increase on 'Shelter', 'Alamo' and 'Cave-in-Rock' during 2012 and 2013. 'Dacotah', 'Nebraska', 'Sunburst', 'Forestburg' and 'Carthage' showed the highest level of beneficial insects

  1. Biofuel, land and water: maize, switchgrass or Miscanthus?

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Zhuang Qianlai; Qin Zhangcai; Chen Min

    2013-01-01

    The productive cellulosic crops switchgrass and Miscanthus are considered as viable biofuel sources. To meet the 2022 national biofuel target mandate, actions must be taken, e.g., maize cultivation must be intensified and expanded, and other biofuel crops (switchgrass and Miscanthus) must be cultivated. This raises questions on the use efficiencies of land and water; to date, the demand on these resources to meet the national biofuel target has rarely been analyzed. Here, we present a data-model assimilation analysis, assuming that maize, switchgrass and Miscanthus will be grown on currently available croplands in the US. Model simulations suggest that maize can produce 3.0–5.4 kiloliters (kl) of ethanol for every hectare of land, depending on the feedstock to ethanol conversion efficiency; Miscanthus has more than twice the biofuel production capacity relative to maize, and switchgrass is the least productive of the three potential sources of ethanol. To meet the biofuel target, about 26.5 million hectares of land and over 90 km 3 of water (of evapotranspiration) are needed if maize grain alone is used. If Miscanthus was substituted for maize, the process would save half of the land and one third of the water. With more advanced biofuel conversion technology for Miscanthus, only nine million hectares of land and 45 km 3 of water would probably meet the national target. Miscanthus could be a good alternative biofuel crop to maize due to its significantly lower demand for land and water on a per unit of ethanol basis. (letter)

  2. Research and Technology Development for Genetic Improvement of Switchgrass

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Kausch, Albert [Univ. of Rhode Island, Kingston, RI (United States); Rhodes, Richard [Univ. of Rhode Island, Kingston, RI (United States)

    2017-05-02

    This research adds to the understanding of switchgrass genetics and the increasing of biomass relevant to production of bioenergy. Switchgrass, Panicum virgatum L., and its related species are well known as potential bioenergy crops since the early 1990s. There are global economic, political, US national security and environmental pressures to increase renewable biofuel production and utilization to offset gasoline and diesel fuel use and climate change, especially in the liquid fuel transportation sector. To realize the potential of bioenergy crops, rapid genetic improvement of the most promising perennial grass feedstocks, such as switchgrass, are anticipated by current genomics, association genetics, marker assisted breeding, hybrid plant development, advanced tissue culture, conventional genetics and other approaches to increase yield, processability, and regional adaptation. The technical effectiveness and economic feasibility of the methods or techniques investigated are demonstrated by several publications, presentations and patents produced as an outcome and deliverable of this research. This project is of a broad benefit to the public not only through the dissemination of this information but also to the development of new methods which will be applied to future bioenergy crop improvement as well as other crops.

  3. Impact of harvest time and switchgrass cultivar on sugar release through enzymatic hydrolysis

    Science.gov (United States)

    Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.) is a native North American prairie grass being developed for bioenergy production in the central and eastern USA. The objective of this study was to identify the impacts harvest time and switchgrass cultivar had on sugar release variables determined through enzymat...

  4. Natural cellulose fibers from switchgrass with tensile properties similar to cotton and linen.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Reddy, Narendra; Yang, Yiqi

    2007-08-01

    We report the production and characteristics of natural cellulose fibers obtained from the leaves and stems of switchgrass. In this paper, the composition, structure and properties of fibers obtained from the leaves and stem of switchgrass have been studied in comparison to the common natural cellulose fibers, such as cotton, linen and kenaf. The leaves and stems of switchgrass have tensile properties intriguingly similar to that of linen and cotton, respectively. Fibers were obtained from the leaves and stems of switchgrass using a simple alkaline extraction and the structure and properties of the fibers were studied. Fibers obtained from switchgrass leaves have crystallinity of 51%, breaking tenacity of 5.5 g per denier (715 MPa) and breaking elongation of 2.2% whereas the corresponding values for fibers obtained from switchgrass stems are 46%, 2.7 g per denier and 6.8%, respectively. Switchgrass is a relatively easy to grow and high yield biomass crop that can be source to partially substitute the natural and synthetic fibers currently in use. We hope that this research will stimulate interests in using switchgrass as a novel fiber crop in addition to being promoted as a potential source for biofuels. (c) 2007 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  5. Genome-size variation in switchgrass (Panicum virgatum): flow cytometry and cytology reveal rampant aneuploidy

    Science.gov (United States)

    Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.), a native perennial dominant of the prairies of North America, has been targeted as a model herbaceous species for biofeedstock development. A flow-cytometric survey of a core set of 11 primarily upland polyploid switchgrass accessions indicated that there was con...

  6. Characterization of Brachypodium distachyon as a nonhost model against switchgrass rust pathogen Puccinia emaculata.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gill, Upinder S; Uppalapati, Srinivasa R; Nakashima, Jin; Mysore, Kirankumar S

    2015-05-08

    Switchgrass rust, caused by Puccinia emaculata, is an important disease of switchgrass, a potential biofuel crop in the United States. In severe cases, switchgrass rust has the potential to significantly affect biomass yield. In an effort to identify novel sources of resistance against switchgrass rust, we explored nonhost resistance against P. emaculata by characterizing its interactions with six monocot nonhost plant species. We also studied the genetic variations for resistance among Brachypodium inbred accessions and the involvement of various defense pathways in nonhost resistance of Brachypodium. We characterized P. emaculata interactions with six monocot nonhost species and identified Brachypodium distachyon (Bd21) as a suitable nonhost model to study switchgrass rust. Interestingly, screening of Brachypodium accessions identified natural variations in resistance to switchgrass rust. Brachypodium inbred accessions Bd3-1 and Bd30-1 were identified as most and least resistant to switchgrass rust, respectively, when compared to tested accessions. Transcript profiling of defense-related genes indicated that the genes which were induced in Bd21after P. emaculata inoculation also had higher basal transcript abundance in Bd3-1 when compared to Bd30-1 and Bd21 indicating their potential involvement in nonhost resistance against switchgrass rust. In the present study, we identified Brachypodium as a suitable nonhost model to study switchgrass rust which exhibit type I nonhost resistance. Variations in resistance response were also observed among tested Brachypodium accessions. Brachypodium nonhost resistance against P. emaculata may involve various defense pathways as indicated by transcript profiling of defense related genes. Overall, this study provides a new avenue to utilize novel sources of nonhost resistance in Brachypodium against switchgrass rust.

  7. Switchgrass as a biofuels crop for the upper Southeast

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Parrish, D.J.; Wolf, D.D. [Virginia Polytechnic Inst. and State Univ., Blacksburg, VA (United States)

    1993-12-31

    Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) has been identified in DOE-sponsored studies as a widely adapted, productive herbaceous candidate for biofuels cropping. It is a perennial that has been planted using no-till procedures, and it appears to have positive effects on the soils in which it grows. We have been looking at this species as a potential fuelcrop (as well as a valuable forage) for several years. In this presentation, we note several {open_quotes}lessons learned{close_quotes} about switchgrass establishment and management as an energy crop. Data include results from recent plantings in the upper Southeast USA and from cutting management studies. Six varieties of switchgrass (Alamo, Cave-in-Rock, Kanlow, Shelter, and two breeder`s lines) varied markedly in the success of their no-till establishment at eight locations across the upper Southeast. Better weed control, which was achieved at later planting dates, seemed to be the key. Yields obtained in the establishment stands revealed that two harvests per season are more productive (by 2 to 3 Mg/ha) than one, but the date of first cutting is crucial. First cutting should be from late-June to mid-July. A two-cut system may not be economically advantageous, however. Another cutting-management study detected losses of standing biomass at the end of the growing season. As much as 15% of the above-ground biomass present in early-September was no longer harvestable in early-November. We think this loss results from translocation of dry matter to below-ground parts.

  8. Drought-Induced Leaf Proteome Changes in Switchgrass Seedlings

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Zhujia Ye

    2016-08-01

    Full Text Available Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum is a perennial crop producing deep roots and thus highly tolerant to soil water deficit conditions. However, seedling establishment in the field is very susceptible to prolonged and periodic drought stress. In this study, a “sandwich” system simulating a gradual water deletion process was developed. Switchgrass seedlings were subjected to a 20-day gradual drought treatment process when soil water tension was increased to 0.05 MPa (moderate drought stress and leaf physiological properties had expressed significant alteration. Drought-induced changes in leaf proteomes were identified using the isobaric tags for relative and absolute quantitation (iTRAQ labeling method followed by nano-scale liquid chromatography mass spectrometry (nano-LC-MS/MS analysis. Additionally, total leaf proteins were processed using a combinatorial library of peptide ligands to enrich for lower abundance proteins. Both total proteins and those enriched samples were analyzed to increase the coverage of the quantitative proteomics analysis. A total of 7006 leaf proteins were identified, and 257 (4% of the leaf proteome expressed a significant difference (p < 0.05, fold change <0.6 or >1.7 from the non-treated control to drought-treated conditions. These proteins are involved in the regulation of transcription and translation, cell division, cell wall modification, phyto-hormone metabolism and signaling transduction pathways, and metabolic pathways of carbohydrates, amino acids, and fatty acids. A scheme of abscisic acid (ABA-biosynthesis and ABA responsive signal transduction pathway was reconstructed using these drought-induced significant proteins, showing systemic regulation at protein level to deploy the respective mechanism. Results from this study, in addition to revealing molecular responses to drought stress, provide a large number of proteins (candidate genes that can be employed to improve switchgrass seedling growth and

  9. Economic and Environmental Assessment of Switchgrass Production on High-Fertility Soil and an Assessment of Anaerobic Digests as an Intermediate Market for Switchgrass

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Rhykerd, Robert [Illinois State Univ., Normal, IL (United States); Bierma, Thomas [Illinois State Univ., Normal, IL (United States); Jin, Guang [Illinois State Univ., Normal, IL (United States); Walker, Paul [Illinois State Univ., Normal, IL (United States)

    2014-03-31

    This project had two parts. Part 1 was an economic and environmental assessment of switchgrass production on high-fertility soil, and included an assessment of the effects of field irrigation with treated municipal wastewater (Studies A,C, and E in Final Agreement). Part 2 was an assessment of methods to enhance anaerobic digestion of switchgrass, and included evaluation of several other potential biomass feedstocks (Studies B and D in Final Agreement). Results from Part 1 demonstrated that switchgrass does not compete economically against a corn and soybean rotation on highly productive soils. All four varieties of switchgrass lost money while corn and soybeans were profitable in all four years of this study. Breakeven prices for the four switchgrass varieties were calculated using production costs. The installation of a center pivot irrigation system had minimal impact on crop production and corn and soybean production remained profitable in the year the irrigator was installed. Because of drought and delays in installing the wastewater treatment plant, the irrigation system was not used until year 4 of this study. Therefore, longer term studies evaluating multiple year studies on the impact of irrigation on switchgrass are warranted. Results from irrigating with treated municipal wastewater showed no negative impact on soil quality. Results from Part 2 demonstrated that anaerobic digestion (AD) of switchgrass could be significantly enhanced using low heat (100oC) and mild caustic pretreatment without fine-grinding. Heat for pretreatment could be available from biogas-based combined heat and power (CHP) systems. In bench-top digesters simulating municipal wastewater treatment AD, methane production of coarse-ground switchgrass increased over 20-fold with pretreatment compared to untreated switchgrass. Bench-top studies simulating dairy-based AD also found high specific methane yield, but even untreated switchgrass digested reasonably well, indicating the value of

  10. Overexpression of AtLOV1 in Switchgrass Alters Plant Architecture, Lignin Content, and Flowering Time

    Science.gov (United States)

    Xu, Bin; Sathitsuksanoh, Noppadon; Tang, Yuhong; Udvardi, Michael K.; Zhang, Ji-Yi; Shen, Zhengxing; Balota, Maria; Harich, Kim; Zhang, Percival Y.-H.; Zhao, Bingyu

    2012-01-01

    Background Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.) is a prime candidate crop for biofuel feedstock production in the United States. As it is a self-incompatible polyploid perennial species, breeding elite and stable switchgrass cultivars with traditional breeding methods is very challenging. Translational genomics may contribute significantly to the genetic improvement of switchgrass, especially for the incorporation of elite traits that are absent in natural switchgrass populations. Methodology/Principal Findings In this study, we constitutively expressed an Arabidopsis NAC transcriptional factor gene, LONG VEGETATIVE PHASE ONE (AtLOV1), in switchgrass. Overexpression of AtLOV1 in switchgrass caused the plants to have a smaller leaf angle by changing the morphology and organization of epidermal cells in the leaf collar region. Also, overexpression of AtLOV1 altered the lignin content and the monolignol composition of cell walls, and caused delayed flowering time. Global gene-expression analysis of the transgenic plants revealed an array of responding genes with predicted functions in plant development, cell wall biosynthesis, and flowering. Conclusions/Significance To our knowledge, this is the first report of a single ectopically expressed transcription factor altering the leaf angle, cell wall composition, and flowering time of switchgrass, therefore demonstrating the potential advantage of translational genomics for the genetic improvement of this crop. PMID:23300513

  11. Overexpression of AtLOV1 in Switchgrass alters plant architecture, lignin content, and flowering time.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Bin Xu

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L. is a prime candidate crop for biofuel feedstock production in the United States. As it is a self-incompatible polyploid perennial species, breeding elite and stable switchgrass cultivars with traditional breeding methods is very challenging. Translational genomics may contribute significantly to the genetic improvement of switchgrass, especially for the incorporation of elite traits that are absent in natural switchgrass populations. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: In this study, we constitutively expressed an Arabidopsis NAC transcriptional factor gene, LONG VEGETATIVE PHASE ONE (AtLOV1, in switchgrass. Overexpression of AtLOV1 in switchgrass caused the plants to have a smaller leaf angle by changing the morphology and organization of epidermal cells in the leaf collar region. Also, overexpression of AtLOV1 altered the lignin content and the monolignol composition of cell walls, and caused delayed flowering time. Global gene-expression analysis of the transgenic plants revealed an array of responding genes with predicted functions in plant development, cell wall biosynthesis, and flowering. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: To our knowledge, this is the first report of a single ectopically expressed transcription factor altering the leaf angle, cell wall composition, and flowering time of switchgrass, therefore demonstrating the potential advantage of translational genomics for the genetic improvement of this crop.

  12. Compatibility of switchgrass as an energy crop in farming systems of the southeastern USA

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Bransby, D.I.; Rodriguez-Kabana, R.; Sladden, S.E. [Auburn Univ., AL (United States)

    1993-12-31

    The objective of this paper is to examine the compatibility of switchgrass as an energy crop in farming systems in the southeastern USA, relative to other regions. In particular, the issues addressed are (1) competition between switchgrass as an energy crop and existing farm enterprises, based primarily on economic returns, (2) complementarity between switchgrass and existing farm enterprises, and (3) environmental benefits. Because projected economic returns for switchgrass as an energy crop are highest in the Southeast, and returns from forestry and beef pastures (the major existing enterprises) are low, there is a very strong economic incentive in this region. In contrast, based on current information, economic viability of switchgrass as an energy crop in other regions appears doubtful. In addition, switchgrass in the southeastern USA would complement forage-livestock production, row crop production and wildlife and would provide several additional environmental benefits. It is concluded that the southeastern USA offers the greatest opportunity for developing switchgrass as an economically viable energy crop.

  13. Genetic manipulation of lignin reduces recalcitrance and improves ethanol production from switchgrass

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fu, Chunxiang; Mielenz, Jonathan R.; Xiao, Xirong; Ge, Yaxin; Hamilton, Choo Y.; Rodriguez, Miguel; Chen, Fang; Foston, Marcus; Ragauskas, Arthur; Bouton, Joseph; Dixon, Richard A.; Wang, Zeng-Yu

    2011-01-01

    Switchgrass is a leading dedicated bioenergy feedstock in the United States because it is a native, high-yielding, perennial prairie grass with a broad cultivation range and low agronomic input requirements. Biomass conversion research has developed processes for production of ethanol and other biofuels, but they remain costly primarily because of the intrinsic recalcitrance of biomass. We show here that genetic modification of switchgrass can produce phenotypically normal plants that have reduced thermal-chemical (≤180 °C), enzymatic, and microbial recalcitrance. Down-regulation of the switchgrass caffeic acid O-methyltransferase gene decreases lignin content modestly, reduces the syringyl:guaiacyl lignin monomer ratio, improves forage quality, and, most importantly, increases the ethanol yield by up to 38% using conventional biomass fermentation processes. The down-regulated lines require less severe pretreatment and 300–400% lower cellulase dosages for equivalent product yields using simultaneous saccharification and fermentation with yeast. Furthermore, fermentation of diluted acid-pretreated transgenic switchgrass using Clostridium thermocellum with no added enzymes showed better product yields than obtained with unmodified switchgrass. Therefore, this apparent reduction in the recalcitrance of transgenic switchgrass has the potential to lower processing costs for biomass fermentation-derived fuels and chemicals significantly. Alternatively, such modified transgenic switchgrass lines should yield significantly more fermentation chemicals per hectare under identical process conditions. PMID:21321194

  14. Breeding and Selection of New Switchgrass Varieties for Increased Biomass Production

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Taliaferro, C.M.

    2003-05-27

    Switchgrass breeding and genetics research was conducted from 1992-2002 at the Oklahoma State University as part of the national DOE-Bioenergy Feedstock Development Program (BFDP) effort to develop the species as a bioenergy feedstock crop. The fundamental objective of the program was to implement and conduct a breeding program to increase biomass yield capability in switchgrass and develop cultivars for the central and southern United States. Supporting research objectives included: (1) switchgrass germplasm collection, characterization, and enhancement; (2) elucidation of cytogenetic and breeding behavior; and (3) identification of best breeding procedures.

  15. Exploring Potential U.S. Switchgrass Production for Lignocellulosic Ethanol

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Gunderson, Carla A [ORNL; Davis, Ethan [ORNL; Jager, Yetta [ORNL; West, Tristram O. [ORNL; Perlack, Robert D [ORNL; Brandt, Craig C [ORNL; Wullschleger, Stan D [ORNL; Baskaran, Latha Malar [ORNL; Webb, Erin [ORNL; Downing, Mark [ORNL

    2008-08-01

    In response to concerns about oil dependency and the contributions of fossil fuel use to climatic change, the U.S. Department of Energy has begun a research initiative to make 20% of motor fuels biofuel based in 10 years, and make 30% of fuels bio-based by 2030. Fundamental to this objective is developing an understanding of feedstock dynamics of crops suitable for cellulosic ethanol production. This report focuses on switchgrass, reviewing the existing literature from field trials across the United States, and compiling it for the first time into a single database. Data available from the literature included cultivar and crop management information, and location of the field trial. For each location we determined latitude and longitude, and used this information to add temperature and precipitation records from the nearest weather station. Within this broad database we were able to identify the major sources of variation in biomass yield, and to characterize yield as a function of some of the more influential factors, e.g., stand age, ecotype, precipitation and temperature in the year of harvest, site latitude, and fertilization regime. We then used a modeling approach, based chiefly on climatic factors and ecotype, to predict potential yields for a given temperature and weather pattern (based on 95th percentile response curves), assuming the choice of optimal cultivars and harvest schedules. For upland ecotype varieties, potential yields were as high as 18 to 20 Mg/ha, given ideal growing conditions, whereas yields in lowland ecotype varieties could reach 23 to 27 Mg/ha. The predictive equations were used to produce maps of potential yield across the continental United States, based on precipitation and temperature in the long term climate record, using the Parameter-elevation Regressions on Independent Slopes Model (PRISM) in a Geographic Information System (GIS). Potential yields calculated via this characterization were subsequently compared to the Oak Ridge

  16. Comprehensive Evaluation of Potassium-deficiency Stress of Switchgrass at Seedling Stage

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    ZHU Yi

    2014-04-01

    Full Text Available To illustrate the effects of potassium-deficiency stress on biomass, agronomic traits and physiological indexes of switchgrass, a sort of bioenergy crop, and to obtain the cultivar with best tolerance, 13 switchgrasses were treated under potassium-deficiency in hydroponic ar-tificial climatic chamber. The comprehensive evaluation was made through the analysis of evaluation indexes using standard deviation coeffi-cient allocation weighed method. The results indicated that: the potassium-deficiency stress had exerted significantly inhibitory effects on the aboveground and belowground growth of switchgrass, including the reduction of growth rate, decrease of chlorophyll content, reduction of ef-festive photosynthetic area, decrease of photosynthetic rate, which led to the lower biomass production. The tolerance of 13 switchgrasses from strong to weak was as follows: Cave-In-Rock, Trailblazer, BJ-5, Forestburg, BJ-4, Pathfinder, BJ-3, BJ-2, Blackwell, Alamo, BJ一1, BJ-6 and Kanlnw

  17. Effects of switchgrass cultivars and intraspecific differences in root structure on soil carbon inputs and accumulation

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Adkins, Jaron [Michigan State Univ., East Lansing, MI (United States); Jastrow, Julie D. [Argonne National Lab. (ANL), Argonne, IL (United States); Morris, Geoffrey P. [Kansas State Univ., Manhattan, KS (United States); Six, Johan [Swiss Federal Inst. of Technology, Zurich (Switzerland); de Graaff, Marie-Anne [Boise State Univ., ID (United States)

    2016-01-01

    Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L), a cellulosic biofuel feedstock, may promote soil C 21 accumulation compared to annual cropping systems by increasing the amount and retention of 22 root-derived soil C inputs. The aim of this study was to assess how different switchgrass 23 cultivars impact soil C inputs and retention, whether these impacts vary with depth, and whether 24 specific root length (SRL) explains these impacts. We collected soil to a depth of 30 cm from six 25 switchgrass cultivars with root systems ranging from high to low SRL. The cultivars (C4 species) 26 were grown for 27 months on soils previously dominated by C3 plants, allowing us to use the 27 natural difference in 13C isotopic signatures between C3 soils and C4 plants to quantify 28 switchgrass-derived C accumulation. The soil was fractionated into coarse particulate organic 29 matter (CPOM), fine particulate organic matter (FPOM), silt, and clay-sized fractions. We 30 measured total C and plant-derived C in all soil fractions across all depths. The study led to two main results: (1) bulk soil C concentrations beneath switchgrass cultivars varied by 40% in the 0-32 10 cm soil depth and by 70% in the 10-20 cm soil depth, and cultivars with high bulk soil C 33 concentrations tended to have relatively high C concentrations in the mineral soil fractions and 34 relatively low C concentrations in the POM fractions; (2) there were significant differences in 35 switchgrass-derived soil C between cultivars at the 0-10 cm depth, where soil C inputs ranged 36 from 1.2 to 3.2 mg C g-1 dry soil. There was also evidence of a positive correlation between SRL 37 and switchgrass-derived C inputs when one outlier data point was removed. These results 38 indicate that switchgrass cultivars differentially impact mechanisms contributing to soil C accumulation.

  18. Impact of Nitrogen Application Rate on Switchgrass Yield, Production Costs, and Nitrous Oxide Emissions.

    Science.gov (United States)

    McGowan, Andrew R; Min, Doo-Hong; Williams, Jeffery R; Rice, Charles W

    2018-03-01

    Switchgrass ( L.) has been promoted as a potential feedstock for cellulosic biofuel in the United States. Switchgrass is known to respond to N fertilizer, but optimal rates remain unclear. Given the potential nonlinear response of nitrous oxide (NO) emissions to N inputs, N additions to switchgrass above optimal levels could have large impacts on the greenhouse gas balance of switchgrass-based biofuel. Additionally, N additions are likely to have large impacts on switchgrass production costs. Yield, N removal, and net returns were measured in switchgrass receiving 0 to 200 kg N ha in Manhattan, KS, from 2012 to 2014. Emissions of NO were measured in the 0- to 150-kg N ha treatments. Total emissions of NO increased from 0.2 to 3.0 kg NO-N ha as N inputs increased from 0 to 150 kg N ha. The 3-yr averages of fertilizer-induced emission factors were 0.7, 2.1, and 2.6% at 50, 100, and 150 kg N ha, respectively. Removal of N at harvest increased linearly with increasing N rate. Switchgrass yields increased with N inputs up to 100 to 150 kg N ha, but the critical N level for maximum yields decreased each year, suggesting that N was being applied in excess at higher N rates. Net returns were maximized at 100 kg N ha at both a high and low urea cost (US$394.71 and $945.91 ha, respectively). These results demonstrate that N inputs were necessary to increase switchgrass productivity, but rates exceeding optimal levels resulted in excessive NO emissions and increased costs for producers. Copyright © by the American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, and Soil Science Society of America, Inc.

  19. Plant community and white-tailed deer nutritional carrying capacity response to intercropping switchgrass in loblolly pine plantations

    Science.gov (United States)

    Greene, Ethan Jacob

    Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.) is a cellulosic feedstock for alternative energy production that could grow well between planted pines (Pinus spp.). Southeastern planted pine occupies 15.8 million hectares and thus, switchgrass intercropping could affect biodiversity if broadly implemented. Therefore, I evaluated effects of intercropping switchgrass in loblolly pine (P. taeda L.) plantations on plant community diversity, plant biomass production, and white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus Zimmerman) nutritional carrying capacity. In a randomized complete block design, I assigned three treatments (switchgrass intercropped, switchgrass monoculture, and a "control" of traditional pine management) to 4 replicates of 10-ha experimental units in Kemper County, Mississippi during 2014-2015. I detected 246 different plant species. Switchgrass intercropping reduced plant species richness and diversity but maintained evenness. I observed reduced forb and high-use deer forage biomass but only in intercropped alleys (interbeds). Soil micronutrient interactions affected forage protein of deer plants. White-tailed deer nutritional carrying capacity remained unaffected.

  20. Kinetics of methane production from the codigestion of switchgrass and Spirulina platensis algae.

    Science.gov (United States)

    El-Mashad, Hamed M

    2013-03-01

    Anaerobic batch digestion of four feedstocks was conducted at 35 and 50 °C: switchgrass; Spirulina platensis algae; and two mixtures of both switchgrass and S. platensis. Mixture 1 was composed of 87% switchgrass (based on volatile solids) and 13% S. platensis. Mixture 2 was composed of 67% switchgrass and 33% S. platensis. The kinetics of methane production from these feedstocks was studied using four first order models: exponential, Gompertz, Fitzhugh, and Cone. The methane yields after 40days of digestion at 35 °C were 355, 127, 143 and 198 ml/g VS, respectively for S. platensis, switchgrass, and Mixtures 1 and 2, while the yields at 50 °C were 358, 167, 198, and 236 ml/g VS, respectively. Based on Akaike's information criterion, the Cone model best described the experimental data. The Cone model was validated with experimental data collected from the digestion of a third mixture that was composed of 83% switchgrass and 17% S. platensis. Published by Elsevier Ltd.

  1. Switchgrass, Bermudagrass, Flaccidgrass, and Lovegrass biomass yield response to nitrogen for single and double harvest

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Aravindhakshan, Sijesh C.; Epplin, Francis M.; Taliaferro, Charles M.

    2011-01-01

    Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) has been identified as a model dedicated energy crop species. After a perennial grass is established, the major variable costs are for nitrogen (N) fertilizer and harvest. Prior to establishing switchgrass on millions of ha in a particular agro-climatic region, it would be useful to determine switchgrass yield response to N and its response to harvest frequency relative to alternative grass species. The objective of this research is to determine biomass yield response to N for four perennial grass species and to determine the species, N level, and harvest frequency that will maximize expected net returns, given the climate and soils of the U.S.A. Southern Plains. Yield data were produced in an experiment that includes four species (switchgrass, bermudagrass (Cynodon dactylon), weeping lovegrass (Eragrostis curvula), and carostan flaccidgrass (Pennisetum flaccidum)), four N levels, and two harvest levels. Linear response plateau (LRP), linear response stochastic plateau (LRSP), and quadratic response (QR) functions are estimated. For all combinations of biomass and N prices considered, the optimal species is switchgrass. For most price situations, it is economically optimal to fertilize established stands of switchgrass with 69 kg N ha -1 yr -1 and to harvest once yr -1 after senescence. (author)

  2. Rheology of transgenic switchgrass reveals practical aspects of biomass processing.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wan, Guigui; Frazier, Taylor; Jorgensen, Julianne; Zhao, Bingyu; Frazier, Charles E

    2018-01-01

    Mechanical properties of transgenic switchgrass have practical implications for biorefinery technologies. Presented are fundamentals for simple (thermo)mechanical measurements of genetically transformed switchgrass. Experimental basics are provided for the novice, where the intention is to promote collaboration between plant biologists and materials scientists. Stem sections were subjected to two stress modes: (1) torsional oscillation in the linear response region, and (2) unidirectional torsion to failure. Specimens were analyzed while submerged/saturated in ethylene glycol, simulating natural hydration and allowing experimental temperatures above 100 °C for an improved view of the lignin glass transition. Down-regulation of the 4-Coumarate:coenzyme A ligase gene (reduced lignin content and altered monomer composition) generally resulted in less stiff and weaker stems. These observations were associated with a reduction in the temperature and activation energy of the lignin glass transition, but surprisingly with no difference in the breadth and intensity of the tan  δ signal. The results showed promise in further investigations of how rheological methods relate to stem lignin content, composition, and functional properties in the field and in bioprocessing. Measurements such as these are complicated by small specimen size; however, torsional rheometers (relatively common in polymer laboratories) are well suited for this task. As opposed to the expense and complication of relative humidity control, solvent-submersion rheological methods effectively reveal fundamental structure/property relationships in plant tissues. Demonstrated are low-strain linear methods, and also nonlinear yield and failure analysis; the latter is very uncommon for typical rheological equipment.

  3. Policy incentives for switchgrass production using valuation of non-market ecosystem services

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Chamberlain, Jim F.; Miller, Shelie A.

    2012-01-01

    This study presents a linear profit model with combined economic and environmental factors for a switchgrass-for-biofuels agricultural system in the southeastern U.S. The objectives are to establish conversion-to-switchgrass thresholds for various market prices and identify policy incentives that would ensure economic profit while also maximizing environmental benefits (carbon sequestration, displacement of fossil fuels) and minimizing negative impacts (global warming potential, nitrate loss). Weighting factors are chosen to represent incentives and penalties by assigning value to the impacts. With no other incentives, switchgrass market prices of at least $51 and $58/dton would be needed in order to make a profitable switch from corn/Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) lands and cotton, respectively. At a mid-range offering of $50/dton, feasible carbon credit prices of $3/ $8/ $23 per metric tonne CO 2 e would incentivize conversion from corn, CRP, or cotton, respectively. Similarly, a water quality penalty of $0.20/ $3/ $2 per kilogram NO 3 –N leached would incentivize the same conversions with resultant watershed improvement. At a lower price of $30/dton switchgrass, incentives based on valuation of ecosystem services begin to exceed feasible ranges of these valuations. - Highlights: ► A linear effective profit model predicts conversion thresholds to switchgrass. ► Carbon and nitrogen fluxes can be valued and incorporated into producer choices. ► Farmgate prices alone of $51 and $58/dton switchgrass will entice conversion. ► Reasonable ecosystem service valuations will encourage adoption of switchgrass.

  4. Early lignin pathway enzymes and routes to chlorogenic acid in switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Escamilla-Treviño, Luis L; Shen, Hui; Hernandez, Timothy; Yin, Yanbin; Xu, Ying; Dixon, Richard A

    2014-03-01

    Studying lignin biosynthesis in Panicum virgatum (switchgrass) has provided a basis for generating plants with reduced lignin content and increased saccharification efficiency. Chlorogenic acid (CGA, caffeoyl quinate) is the major soluble phenolic compound in switchgrass, and the lignin and CGA biosynthetic pathways potentially share intermediates and enzymes. The enzyme hydroxycinnamoyl-CoA: quinate hydroxycinnamoyltransferase (HQT) is responsible for CGA biosynthesis in tobacco, tomato and globe artichoke, but there are no close orthologs of HQT in switchgrass or in other monocotyledonous plants with complete genome sequences. We examined available transcriptomic databases for genes encoding enzymes potentially involved in CGA biosynthesis in switchgrass. The protein products of two hydroxycinnamoyl-CoA shikimate/quinate hydroxycinnamoyltransferase (HCT) genes (PvHCT1a and PvHCT2a), closely related to lignin pathway HCTs from other species, were characterized biochemically and exhibited the expected HCT activity, preferring shikimic acid as acyl acceptor. We also characterized two switchgrass coumaroyl shikimate 3'-hydroxylase (C3'H) enzymes (PvC3'H1 and PvC3'H2); both of these cytochrome P450s had the capacity to hydroxylate 4-coumaroyl shikimate or 4-coumaroyl quinate to generate caffeoyl shikimate or CGA. Another switchgrass hydroxycinnamoyl transferase, PvHCT-Like1, is phylogenetically distant from HCTs or HQTs, but exhibits HQT activity, preferring quinic acid as acyl acceptor, and could therefore function in CGA biosynthesis. The biochemical features of the recombinant enzymes, the presence of the corresponding activities in plant protein extracts, and the expression patterns of the corresponding genes, suggest preferred routes to CGA in switchgrass.

  5. Comparison of the Carbon Budget, Evapotranspiration, and Albedo Effect between the Biofuel Crops Switchgrass and Corn

    Science.gov (United States)

    Eichelmann, E.; Wagner-Riddle, C.; Warland, J. S.; Deen, B.; Voroney, P.

    2015-12-01

    Switching from annual cropping systems to perennial crops like switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.) for biofuel feedstock production will have implications on carbon and water cycling as well as biophysical parameters, such as surface albedo.We conducted eddy covariance measurements of carbon dioxide and water fluxes over a mature (>5 years) switchgrass field over three years (2012 to 2014) and a continuous corn field during the year 2014. Both fields were located in Southern Ontario, Canada. Results for carbon and water cycling were compared between the two crops for the year 2014. Differences in surface albedo between the two biofuel cropping systems were compared for the years 2012, 2013, and 2014. In 2014 switchgrass was a carbon sink with a net ecosystem carbon balance (NECB) of -66±59 g C m-2, while corn was a carbon source with an NECB of 328±30 g C m-2 for a scenario where corn grain only is harvested and 634±34 g C m-2 for a scenario where both grain and stover are harvested. Annual evapotranspiration in 2014 was higher for the corn field (608.7±12 mm) than for the switchgrass field (517.0±8 mm). Albedo measurements showed an average annual negative radiative forcing effect for the switchgrass field compared to corn. Differences in albedo were largest in spring and fall when radiative forcing values of -10.2 and -5.5 W m-2 were observed, respectively.Comparing carbon cycling results from previous years, the switchgrass field was a source of carbon in 2012 (NEBC 106±45 g C m-2), but a small sink of carbon in 2013 (NEBC -59±45) and 2014. On average over the three measurement years, the switchgrass field was carbon neutral.Qualitative analysis of the carbon budget, evapotranspiration, and albedo results from this study suggest that biofuel produced from switchgrass can have more climate benefits than biofuel from continuous corn. This study provides important data for improvement of Life Cycle Analysis of switchgrass biofuel.

  6. Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L) flag leaf transcriptomes reveal molecular signatures of leaf development, senescence, and mineral dynamics

    Science.gov (United States)

    We provide the first comprehensive transcriptomic inspection of switchgrass flag leaf development. Flag leaves were collected from field grown switchgrass plants at five plant developmental stages: heading, anthesis, early and late seed development, and at physiological maturity and analyzed by RNA...

  7. Impact of harvest time and cultivar on conversion of switchgrass to bio-oils via fast pyrolysis

    Science.gov (United States)

    The study of the effects of harvest time on switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.) biomass and bioenergy production reported herein is the final part complementing two prior studies reporting on the harvest of six switchgrass cultivars grown at three northern United States locations over three years, har...

  8. Impacts of Improved Switchgrass and Big Bluestem Selections on Yield, Morphological Characteristics, and Biomass Quality

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Erik Delaquis

    2014-01-01

    Full Text Available Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L. and big bluestem (Andropogon gerardii V. are promising warm-season grasses for biomass production. Understanding the morphological and quality-related traits of these grasses can guide breeders in developing strategies to improve yield and quality for bioindustrial applications. Elite selections were made in Southern Quebec from four promising varieties of switchgrass and one of big bluestem. Biomass yield, morphological characteristics, and selected quality traits were evaluated at two sites in 2011 and 2012. Significant variation was detected for all measured characteristics, with differences varying by site and year. In some cases the selection process modified characteristics including increasing height and reducing tiller mortality. Switchgrasses reached a similar tiller equilibrium density in both years of 690 m−2 and 379 m−2 at a productive and marginal site, respectively. Differences in yield were pronounced at the marginal site, with some advanced selections having a higher yield than their parent varieties. Switchgrass yields were generally greater than those of big bluestem. A delayed spring harvest date greatly reduced yield but reduced moisture content and slightly increased cellulose concentration. Big bluestem had a higher cellulose content than switchgrass, likely due to greater stem content.

  9. Impact of harvesting time on ultimate methane yield of switchgrass grown in eastern Canada

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Gilbert, Y.; Masse, D. [Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Sherbrooke, PQ (Canada). Dairy and Swine Research and Development Centre; Savoie, P.; Belanger, G.; Parent, G. [Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Quebec City, PQ (Canada). Soils and Crops Research and Development Centre; Babineau, D.L. [Groupe EBI, Berthierville, PQ (Canada)

    2010-07-01

    European research in green energy production from crops has resulted in the development of full scale bioreactors that use energy crops as feedstock. Switchgrass has been touted as one of the most promising crops for energy production among several perennial grass species grown under moderate to hot climates. However, few studies have been conducted in colder climate conditions. This study examined the mesophilic methane yield of switchgrass grown under the cooler growing conditions that exist in northeastern North America. In 2007, switchgrass was harvested in late July, August and September and conserved as silage. The regrowth of plots harvested in late July was also harvested in late September as a two-cut strategy. A 30 L small-scale laboratory digester was used to anaerobically digest the switchgrass silage samples. Specific methane yield decreased considerably with advancing plant development, but was similar between the first harvest in late July and the regrowth in late September. Nearly 25 per cent more methane could be produced by hectare for the two-cut strategy compared to harvesting once in late August. It was concluded that additional studies are needed to determine the effect of cutting times and strategies on the long term yield of switchgrass and to establish the production cost of this renewable energy.

  10. A review of carbon and nitrogen balances in switchgrass grown for energy

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Bransby, D.I.; McLaughlin, S.B.; Parrish, D.J.

    1998-01-01

    Increased atmospheric CO 2 caused partly by burning fossil fuels, is assumed to elevate the risk of global warming, while nitrate contamination of surface runoff and groundwater from fertilizer and agricultural wastes constitutes a serious environmental hazard on a regional scale. Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.) grown as an energy crop could reduce atmospheric CO 2 accumulation by replacing fossil fuels and sequestering C. It could also improve soil productivity by C sequestration, and reduce NO 3 -1 contamination of water by absorbing N lost from fertilizer and agricultural waste if planted in filter strips on adjacent land. The objective of this study was to assess potential impacts of switchgrass on C and N balances by reviewing and synthesizing information from current literature, unpublished data and on-going research. Replacing fossil fuels with switchgrass, or any other biomass, will have a much greater effect on atmospheric CO 2 than C sequestration. This is because replacing fossil fuels provides a cumulative effect, while C sequestration offers only a one-time benefit. Furthermore, switchgrass will provide net gains in C sequestration only if it replaces annual row crops, but not if it replaces grazed pasture. Nitrogen recovery by switchgrass in an Alabama study was 65.6%, which compares favorably with the 50% recovery frequently quoted as the norm for wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) and corn (Zea mays L.). (Author)

  11. Integrating future scenario‐based crop expansion and crop conditions to map switchgrass biofuel potential in eastern Nebraska, USA

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gu, Yingxin; Wylie, Bruce K.

    2018-01-01

    Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) has been evaluated as one potential source for cellulosic biofuel feedstocks. Planting switchgrass in marginal croplands and waterway buffers can reduce soil erosion, improve water quality, and improve regional ecosystem services (i.e. it serves as a potential carbon sink). In previous studies, we mapped high risk marginal croplands and highly erodible cropland buffers that are potentially suitable for switchgrass development, which would improve ecosystem services and minimally impact food production. In this study, we advance our previous study results and integrate future crop expansion information to develop a switchgrass biofuel potential ensemble map for current and future croplands in eastern Nebraska. The switchgrass biomass productivity and carbon benefits (i.e. NEP: net ecosystem production) for the identified biofuel potential ensemble areas were quantified. The future scenario‐based (‘A1B’) land use and land cover map for 2050, the US Geological Survey crop type and Compound Topographic Index (CTI) maps, and long‐term (1981–2010) averaged annual precipitation data were used to identify future crop expansion regions that are suitable for switchgrass development. Results show that 2528 km2 of future crop expansion regions (~3.6% of the study area) are potentially suitable for switchgrass development. The total estimated biofuel potential ensemble area (including cropland buffers, marginal croplands, and future crop expansion regions) is 4232 km2 (~6% of the study area), potentially producing 3.52 million metric tons of switchgrass biomass per year. Converting biofuel ensemble regions to switchgrass leads to potential carbon sinks (the total NEP for biofuel potential areas is 0.45 million metric tons C) and is environmentally sustainable. Results from this study improve our understanding of environmental conditions and ecosystem services of current and future cropland systems in eastern Nebraska and provide

  12. Investigating the impact of biomass quality on near-infrared models for switchgrass feedstocks

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Lindsey M. Kline

    2015-12-01

    Full Text Available The aim of this study was to determine the impact of incorporating switchgrass samples that have been in long term storage on the development of near-infrared (NIR multivariate calibration models and their predictive capabilities. Stored material contains more variation in their respective spectral signatures due to chemical changes in the bales with storage time. Partial least squares (PLS regression models constructed using NIR spectra of stored switchgrass possessed an instability that interfered with the correlation between the spectral data and measured chemical composition. The models were improved using calibration sample sets of equal parts stored and fresh switchgrass to more accurately predict the chemical composition of stored switchgrass. Acceptable correlation values (rcalibration were obtained using a calibration sample set composed of 25 stored samples and 25 samples of fresh switchgrass for cellulose (0.91, hemicellulose (0.74, total carbohydrates (0.76, lignin (0.98, extractives (0.92, and ash (0.87. Increasing the calibration sample set to 100 samples of equal parts stored to senesced material resulted in statistically increased (p = 0.05 correlations for total carbohydrates (0.89 and ash (0.96. When these models were applied to a separate validation set (equal to 10% of the calibration sample set, high correlation coefficients (r for predicted versus measured constituent content were observed for cellulose (0.94, total carbohydrates (0.98, lignin (0.91, extractives (0.97, and ash (0.90. For optimization of processing economics, the impact of feedstock storage must be investigated for implementation in conversion processes. While NIR is a well-known high-throughput technique for characterization of senesced switchgrass, the selection of appropriate calibration samples and consequent multivariate models must be taken into careful consideration for NIR application in a biomass storage facility for rapid chemical compositional

  13. Analysis of environmental and economic tradeoffs in switchgrass supply chains for biofuel production

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Zhong, Jia; Yu, T. Edward; Larson, James A.; English, Burton C.; Fu, Joshua S.; Calcagno, James

    2016-01-01

    This study considered the environmental advantages of switchgrass, along with the economic challenges in its logistics, in the design of a sustainable switchgrass supply chain in Tennessee. Applying a multi-objective optimization model to high-resolution spatial data, potential tradeoffs among the objectives of minimizing feedstock costs, GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions, and soil erosion were identified for a set of conversion facilities on an efficient frontier. The tradeoff relationship was primarily driven by the type of agricultural land converted to switchgrass. Hay and pasture lands were more cost effective but resulted in higher soil carbon losses and soil erosion after being converted to switchgrass. Converting crop lands reduced GHG emissions and soil erosion but caused higher feedstock cost primarily due to the higher opportunity cost of land use. The respective average costs of abating GHG emissions and soil erosion on the efficient frontier were $2378 Mg −1 and $10 Mg −1 . The compromise solution conversion facility site generated 63% higher feedstock cost compared to the cost minimizing location, while reducing soil erosion by 70 fold and diminishing GHG emissions by 27%. Reducing soil erosion may be a more cost effective environmental criterion than reducing GHG emissions in developing a sustainable switchgrass supply chain in Tennessee. - Highlights: • Multi-objective optimization is applied to a switchgrass supply chain in Tennessee. • Tradeoffs are identified among costs, greenhouse gas, and soil erosion in supply chain. • The type of agricultural land converted to feedstock is a key factor to the tradeoffs. • Abating soil erosion rather than greenhouse gas is more cost effective in Tennessee.

  14. Allelopathic Potential of Switchgrass ( Panicum virgatum L.) on Perennial Ryegrass ( Lolium perenne L.) and Alfalfa ( Medicago sativa L.)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shui, Junfeng; An, Yu; Ma, Yongqing; Ichizen, Nobumasa

    2010-10-01

    This study investigated allelopathy and its chemical basis in nine switchgrass ( Panicum virgatum L.) accessions. Perennial ryegrass ( Lolium perenne L.) and alfalfa ( Medicago sativa L.) were used as test species. Undiluted aqueous extracts (5 g plant tissue in 50 ml water) from the shoots and roots of most of the switchgrass accessions inhibited the germination and growth of the test species. However, the allelopathic effect of switchgrass declined when extracts were diluted 5- or 50-fold. Seedling growth was more sensitive than seed germination as an indicator of allelopathic effect. Allelopathic effect was related to switchgrass ecotype but not related to ploidy level. Upland accessions displayed stronger allelopathic potential than lowland accessions. The aqueous extract from one switchgrass accession was separated into phenols, organic acids, neutral chemicals, and alkaloids, and then these fractions were bioassayed to test for allelopathic potential. Alkaloids had the strongest allelopathic effect among the four chemical fractions. In summary, the results indicated that switchgrass has allelopathic potential; however, there is not enough evidence to conclude that allelopathic advantage is the main factor that has contributed to the successful establishment of switchgrass on China’s Loess Plateau.

  15. Historical Perspective on How and Why Switchgrass was Seleced as a "Model" High-Potential Energy Crop

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Wright, Lynn [Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)

    2007-07-01

    Economic and environmental assessments by Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Biofuels Feedstock Development Program staff together with the screening project results, and funding limitations lead to making the decision to further develop only switchgrass as a “model” or “prototype” species in about 1990. This paper describes the conditions under which the herbaceous species were screened, summarizes results from those trials, discusses the various factors which influenced the selection of switchgrass, and provides a brief evaluation of switchgrass with respect to criteria that should be considered when selecting and developing a crop for biofuels and bioproducts.

  16. Water quality effects of switchgrass intercropping on pine forest in Coastal North Carolina.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Augustine Muwamba; Devendra Amatya; George M Chescheir; Jamie Nettles; Timothy Appelboom; Herbert Ssegane; Ernest Tollner; Mohamed Youssef; Francois Birgand; R. Wayne Skaggs; Shiying Tian

    2017-01-01

    Interplanting a cellulosic bioenergy crop (switchgrass, Panicum virgatum L.) between loblolly pine (Pinus taeda L.) rows could potentially provide a sustainable source of bio-feedstock without competing for land currently in food production. The objectives of this study were to: (1) quantify the concentrations and loads of drainage water nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (...

  17. Karyotype variation is indicative of subgenomic and ecotypic differentiation in switchgrass

    Science.gov (United States)

    A cytogenetic study was conducted on a dihaploid individual (2n'='2X'='18) of switchgrass to establish a chromosome karyotype. Size differences, condensation patterns, and arm-length ratios were used as identifying features and fluorescence in-situ hybridization (FISH) assigned 5S and 45S rDNA loci...

  18. RNA-seq analysis of overexpressing ovine AANAT gene of melatonin biosynthesis in switchgrass

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Shan Yuan

    2016-08-01

    Full Text Available Melatonin serves important functions in the promotion of growth and anti-stress regulation by efficient radical scavenging and regulation of antioxidant enzyme activity in various plants. To investigate its regulatory roles and metabolism pathways, the transcriptomic profile of overexpressing the ovine arylalkylamine N-acetyltransferase (oAANAT gene, encoding the penultimate enzyme in melatonin biosynthesis, was compared with empty vector (EV control using RNA-seq in switchgrass, a model plant of cellulosic ethanol conversion. The 85.22 million high quality reads that were assembled into 135,684 unigenes were generated by Illumina sequencing for transgenic oAANAT switchgrass with an average sequence length of 716 bp. A total of 946 differential expression genes (DEGs in transgenic line comparing to control switchgrass, including 737 up-regulated and 209 down-regulated genes, were mainly enriched with two main functional patterns of melatonin identifying by gene ontology analysis: the growth regulator and stress tolerance. Furthermore, KEGG maps indicated that the biosynthetic pathways of secondary metabolite (phenylpropanoids, flavonoids, steroids, stilbenoid, diarylheptanoid and gingerol and signaling pathways (MAPK signaling pathway, estrogen signaling pathway were involved in melatonin metabolism. This study substantially expands the transcriptome information for switchgrass and provides valuable clues for identifying candidate genes involved in melatonin biosynthesis and elucidating the mechanism of melatonin metabolism.

  19. Targeted discovery of glycoside hydrolases from a switchgrass-adapted compost community

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Allgaier, M.; Reddy, A.; Park, J. I.; Ivanova, N.; D' haeseleer, P.; Lowry, S.; Sapra, R.; Hazen, T.C.; Simmons, B.A.; VanderGheynst, J. S.; Hugenholtz, P.

    2009-11-15

    Development of cellulosic biofuels from non-food crops is currently an area of intense research interest. Tailoring depolymerizing enzymes to particular feedstocks and pretreatment conditions is one promising avenue of research in this area. Here we added a green-waste compost inoculum to switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) and simulated thermophilic composting in a bioreactor to select for a switchgrass-adapted community and to facilitate targeted discovery of glycoside hydrolases. Small-subunit (SSU) rRNA-based community profiles revealed that the microbial community changed dramatically between the initial and switchgrass-adapted compost (SAC) with some bacterial populations being enriched over 20-fold. We obtained 225 Mbp of 454-titanium pyrosequence data from the SAC community and conservatively identified 800 genes encoding glycoside hydrolase domains that were biased toward depolymerizing grass cell wall components. Of these, {approx}10% were putative cellulases mostly belonging to families GH5 and GH9. We synthesized two SAC GH9 genes with codon optimization for heterologous expression in Escherichia coli and observed activity for one on carboxymethyl cellulose. The active GH9 enzyme has a temperature optimum of 50 C and pH range of 5.5 to 8 consistent with the composting conditions applied. We demonstrate that microbial communities adapt to switchgrass decomposition using simulated composting condition and that full-length genes can be identified from complex metagenomic sequence data, synthesized and expressed resulting in active enzyme.

  20. Accuracy of Genomic Prediction in Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L. Improved by Accounting for Linkage Disequilibrium

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Guillaume P. Ramstein

    2016-04-01

    Full Text Available Switchgrass is a relatively high-yielding and environmentally sustainable biomass crop, but further genetic gains in biomass yield must be achieved to make it an economically viable bioenergy feedstock. Genomic selection (GS is an attractive technology to generate rapid genetic gains in switchgrass, and meet the goals of a substantial displacement of petroleum use with biofuels in the near future. In this study, we empirically assessed prediction procedures for genomic selection in two different populations, consisting of 137 and 110 half-sib families of switchgrass, tested in two locations in the United States for three agronomic traits: dry matter yield, plant height, and heading date. Marker data were produced for the families’ parents by exome capture sequencing, generating up to 141,030 polymorphic markers with available genomic-location and annotation information. We evaluated prediction procedures that varied not only by learning schemes and prediction models, but also by the way the data were preprocessed to account for redundancy in marker information. More complex genomic prediction procedures were generally not significantly more accurate than the simplest procedure, likely due to limited population sizes. Nevertheless, a highly significant gain in prediction accuracy was achieved by transforming the marker data through a marker correlation matrix. Our results suggest that marker-data transformations and, more generally, the account of linkage disequilibrium among markers, offer valuable opportunities for improving prediction procedures in GS. Some of the achieved prediction accuracies should motivate implementation of GS in switchgrass breeding programs.

  1. Quantitative trait loci mapping for flowering time in a switchgrass pseudo-F2 population

    Science.gov (United States)

    Flowering is an important developmental event in switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) because the onset of flowering causes the cessation of vegetative growth and biomass accumulation. The objective of this study was to generate a linkage map using single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) markers to identify ...

  2. Characterization of biobased polyurethane foams employing lignin fractionated from microwave liquefied switchgrass

    Science.gov (United States)

    Xingyan Huang; Cornelis F. De Hoop; Jiulong Xie; Chung-Yun Hse; Jinqiu Qi; Tingxing Hu

    2017-01-01

    Lignin samples fractionated from microwave liquefied switchgrass were applied in the preparation of semirigid polyurethane (PU) foamswithout purification.Theobjective of this study was to elucidate the influence of lignin in thePUmatrix on themorphological, chemical,mechanical, and thermal properties of thePUfoams.Thescanning electron microscopy (SEM) images revealed...

  3. Sodium hydroxide pretreatment of genetically modified switchgrass for improved enzymatic release of sugars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Overcoming biomass recalcitrance to biological conversion has been the focus of enormous research efforts in the cellulosic biofuel area in the past decades. In this study, Alamo switchgrass was genetically transformed to suppress the expression of 4-coumarate-CoA ligase (4CL). The transgenic plants...

  4. Effects of precipitation changes on switchgrass photosynthesis, growth, and biomass: A mesocosm experiment

    Science.gov (United States)

    Climate changes, including chronic changes in precipitation amounts, will influence plant physiology and growth. However, such precipitation effects on switchgrass, a major bioenergy crop, have not been well investigated. We conducted a two-year precipitation simulation experiment using large pots...

  5. Fiber length and pulping characteristics of switchgrass, alfalfa stems, hybrid poplar and willow biomasses.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ai, Jun; Tschirner, Ulrike

    2010-01-01

    Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum), alfalfa stems (Medicago sativa), second year growth hybrid poplar (Populus) and willow (Salix spp.) were examined to determine fiber characteristics, pulping behavior and paper properties. Alfalfa stems and switchgrass both showed length weighted average fiber length (LWW) of 0.78 mm, a very narrow fiber length distribution and high fines content. Willow and hybrid poplar have lower fines content but a very low average fiber length (0.42 and 0.48 mm LWW). In addition, the four biomass species showed distinctly different chemical compositions. Switchgrass was defibered successfully using Soda and Soda Anthraquinone (AQ) pulping and demonstrated good paper properties. Both fast-growing wood species pulped well using the Kraft process, and showed acceptable tensile strength, but low tear strength. Alfalfa stems reacted very poorly to Soda and Soda AQ pulping but responded well to Kraft and Kraft AQ. Pulps with tensile and tear strength considerably higher than those found for commercial aspen pulps were observed for alfalfa. All four biomass species examined demonstrated low pulp yield. The highest yields were obtained with poplar and switchgrass (around 43%). Considering the short fibers and low yields, all four biomass types will likely only be used in paper manufacturing if they offer considerable economic advantage over traditional pulp wood.

  6. Low-heat, mild alkaline pretreatment of switchgrass for anaerobic digestion.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jin, Guang; Bierma, Tom; Walker, Paul M

    2014-01-01

    This study examines the effectiveness of alkaline pretreatment under mild heat conditions (100°C or 212°F) on the anaerobic co-digestion of switchgrass. The effects of alkaline concentration, types of alkaline, heating time and rinsing were evaluated. In addition to batch studies, continuous-feed studies were performed in triplicate to identify potential digester operational problems caused by switchgrass co-digestion while accounting for uncertainty due to digester variability. Few studies have examined anaerobic digestion of switchgrass or the effects of mild heating to enhance alkaline pretreatment prior to biomass digestion. Results indicate that pretreatment can significantly enhance digestion of coarse-ground (≤ 0.78 cm particle size) switchgrass. Energy conversion efficiency as high as 63% was observed, and was comparable or superior to fine-grinding as a pretreatment method. The optimal NaOH concentration was found to be 5.5% (wt/wt alkaline/biomass) with a 91.7% moisture level. No evidence of operational problems such as solids build-up, poor mixing, or floating materials were observed. These results suggest the use of waste heat from a generator could reduce the concentration of alkaline required to adequately pretreat lignocellulosic feedstock prior to anaerobic digestion.

  7. Substrate-Specific Development of Thermophilic Bacterial Consortia by Using Chemically Pretreated Switchgrass

    OpenAIRE

    Eichorst, Stephanie A.; Joshua, Chijioke; Sathitsuksanoh, Noppadon; Singh, Seema; Simmons, Blake A.; Singer, Steven W.

    2014-01-01

    Microbial communities that deconstruct plant biomass have broad relevance in biofuel production and global carbon cycling. Biomass pretreatments reduce plant biomass recalcitrance for increased efficiency of enzymatic hydrolysis. We exploited these chemical pretreatments to study how thermophilic bacterial consortia adapt to deconstruct switchgrass (SG) biomass of various compositions. Microbial communities were adapted to untreated, ammonium fiber expansion (AFEX)-pretreated, and ionic-liqui...

  8. Comparison of Dilute Acid and Ionic Liquid Pretreatment of Switchgrass: Biomass Recalcitrance, Delignification and Enzymatic Saccharification

    Science.gov (United States)

    The efficiency of two biomass pretreatment technologies, dilute acid hydrolysis and dissolution in an ionic liquid, are compared in terms of delignification, saccharification efficiency and saccharide yields with switchgrass serving as a model bioenergy crop. When subject to ionic liquid pretreatme...

  9. Targeted Discovery of Glycoside Hydrolases from a Switchgrass-Adapted Compost Community

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Reddy, Amitha; Allgaier, Martin; Park, Joshua I.; Ivanoval, Natalia; Dhaeseleer, Patrik; Lowry, Steve; Sapra, Rajat; Hazen, Terry C.; Simmons, Blake A.; VanderGheynst, Jean S.; Hugenholtz, Philip

    2011-05-11

    Development of cellulosic biofuels from non-food crops is currently an area of intense research interest. Tailoring depolymerizing enzymes to particular feedstocks and pretreatment conditions is one promising avenue of research in this area. Here we added a green-waste compost inoculum to switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) and simulated thermophilic composting in a bioreactor to select for a switchgrass-adapted community and to facilitate targeted discovery of glycoside hydrolases. Smallsubunit (SSU) rRNA-based community profiles revealed that the microbial community changed dramatically between the initial and switchgrass-adapted compost (SAC) with some bacterial populations being enriched over 20-fold. We obtained 225 Mbp of 454-titanium pyrosequence data from the SAC community and conservatively identified 800 genes encoding glycoside hydrolase domains that were biased toward depolymerizing grass cell wall components. Of these, ,10percent were putative cellulasesmostly belonging to families GH5 and GH9. We synthesized two SAC GH9 genes with codon optimization for heterologous expression in Escherichia coli and observed activity for one on carboxymethyl cellulose. The active GH9 enzyme has a temperature optimum of 50uC and pH range of 5.5 to 8 consistent with the composting conditions applied. We demonstrate that microbial communities adapt to switchgrass decomposition using simulated composting condition and that full-length genes can be identified from complex metagenomic sequence data, synthesized and expressed resulting in active enzyme.

  10. Identifying Differences in Abiotic Stress Gene Networks between Lowland and Upland Ecotypes of Switchgrass (DE-SC0008338)

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Childs, Kevin [Michigan State Univ., East Lansing, MI (United States); Buell, Robin [Michigan State Univ., East Lansing, MI (United States); Zhao, Bingyu [Virginia Polytechnic Inst. and State Univ. (Virginia Tech), Blacksburg, VA (United States); Zhang, Xunzhong [Virginia Polytechnic Inst. and State Univ. (Virginia Tech), Blacksburg, VA (United States)

    2016-11-10

    Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) is a warm-season C4 grass that is a target lignocellulosic biofuel species for use in the United States due to its local adaption capabilities and high biomass accumulation. Two ecotypes of switchgrass have been described. Members of the lowland ecotype are taller, have narrower leaf blades and generate more biomass compared to individuals from the upland ecotype. Additionally, lowland plants are generally found in the southern United States while upland switchgrass is more typically present in the northern United States. These differences are important as it is envisioned that switchgrass for biofuel production will typically be grown on marginal lands in the northern United States to supplement and diversify farmers' traditional crop incomes. While lowland switchgrass is more productive, it has poor winter survivability in northern latitudes where upland switchgrass is expected to be grown for biofuel use. Abiotic stresses likely to be encountered by switchgrass include drought and salinity. Despite initially being described as preferring wetter environments, members of the lowland ecotype have been characterized as being more drought tolerant than plants of the upland ecotype. Nonetheless, direct trials have indicated that variation for drought tolerance exists in both ecotypes, but prior to this project, only a relatively small number of switchgrass lines had been tested for drought responses. Similarly, switchgrass cultivars have not been widely tested for salt tolerance, but a few studies have shown that even mild salt stress can inhibit growth. The effects of drought and salt stress on plant growth are complex. Both drought and salinity affect the osmotic potential of plant cells and negatively affect plant growth due to reduced water potential and reduced photosynthesis that results from lower stomatal conductance of CO2. Plants respond to drought and salt stress by activating genes that directly attempt to

  11. Economics of switchgrass and miscanthus relative to coal as feedstock for generating electricity

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Aravindhakshan, Sijesh C.; Epplin, Francis M.; Taliaferro, Charles M.

    2010-01-01

    Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) serves as a model dedicated energy crop in the U.S.A. Miscanthus (Miscanthus x giganteus) has served a similar role in Europe. This study was conducted to determine the most economical species, harvest frequency, and carbon tax required for either of the two candidate feedstocks to be an economically viable alternative for cofiring with coal for electricity generation. Biomass yield and energy content data were obtained from a field experiment conducted near Stillwater, Oklahoma, U.S.A., in which both grasses were established in 2002. Plots were split to enable two harvest treatments (once and twice yr -1 ). The switchgrass variety 'Alamo', with a single annual post-senescence harvest, produced more biomass (15.87 Mg ha -1 yr -1 ) than miscanthus (12.39 Mg ha -1 yr -1 ) and more energy (249.6 million kJ ha -1 yr -1 versus 199.7 million kJ ha -1 yr -1 for miscanthus). For the average yields obtained, the estimated cost to produce and deliver biomass an average distance of 50 km was $43.9 Mg -1 for switchgrass and $51.7 Mg -1 for miscanthus. Given a delivered coal price of $39.76 Mg -1 and average energy content, a carbon tax of $7 Mg -1 CO 2 would be required for switchgrass to be economically competitive. For the location and the environmental conditions that prevailed during the experiment, switchgrass with one harvest per year produced greater yields at a lower cost than miscanthus. In the absence of government intervention such as requiring biomass use or instituting a carbon tax, biomass is not an economically competitive feedstock for electricity generation in the region studied. (author)

  12. Physiological Evaluation of Alkali-Salt Tolerance of Thirty Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum Lines.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Guofu Hu

    Full Text Available Soil salt-alkalization is a major limiting factor for crop production in many regions. Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L. is a warm-season C4 perennial rhizomatous bunchgrass and a target lignocellulosic biofuel species. The objective of this study was to evaluate relative alkali-salt tolerance among 30 switchgrass lines. Tillers of each switchgrass line were transplanted into pots filled with fine sand. Two months after transplanting, plants at E5 developmental stage were grown in either half strength Hoagland's nutrient solution with 0 mM Na+ (control or half strength Hoagland's nutrient solution with 150 mM Na+ and pH of 9.5 (alkali-salt stress treatment for 20 d. Alkali-salt stress damaged cell membranes [higher electrolyte leakage (EL], reduced leaf relative water content (RWC, net photosynthetic rate (Pn, stomatal conductance (gs, and transpiration rate (Tr. An alkali-salt stress tolerance trait index (ASTTI for each parameter was calculated based on the ratio of the value under alkali-salt stress and the value under non-stress conditions for each parameter of each line. Relative alkali-salt tolerance was determined based on principal components analysis and cluster analysis of the physiological parameters and their ASTTI values. Significant differences in alkali-salt stress tolerance were found among the 30 lines. Lowland lines TEM-SEC, Alamo, TEM-SLC and Kanlow were classified as alkali-salt tolerant. In contrast, three lowland lines (AM-314/MS-155, BN-13645-64 and two upland lines (Caddo and Blackwell-1 were classified as alkali-salt sensitive. The results suggest wide variations exist in alkali-salt stress tolerance among the 30 switchgrass lines. The approach of using a combination of principal components and cluster analysis of the physiological parameters and related ASTTI is feasible for evaluating alkali-salt tolerance in switchgrass.

  13. Physiological Evaluation of Alkali-Salt Tolerance of Thirty Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) Lines.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hu, Guofu; Liu, Yiming; Zhang, Xunzhong; Yao, Fengjiao; Huang, Yan; Ervin, Erik H; Zhao, Bingyu

    2015-01-01

    Soil salt-alkalization is a major limiting factor for crop production in many regions. Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.) is a warm-season C4 perennial rhizomatous bunchgrass and a target lignocellulosic biofuel species. The objective of this study was to evaluate relative alkali-salt tolerance among 30 switchgrass lines. Tillers of each switchgrass line were transplanted into pots filled with fine sand. Two months after transplanting, plants at E5 developmental stage were grown in either half strength Hoagland's nutrient solution with 0 mM Na+ (control) or half strength Hoagland's nutrient solution with 150 mM Na+ and pH of 9.5 (alkali-salt stress treatment) for 20 d. Alkali-salt stress damaged cell membranes [higher electrolyte leakage (EL)], reduced leaf relative water content (RWC), net photosynthetic rate (Pn), stomatal conductance (gs), and transpiration rate (Tr). An alkali-salt stress tolerance trait index (ASTTI) for each parameter was calculated based on the ratio of the value under alkali-salt stress and the value under non-stress conditions for each parameter of each line. Relative alkali-salt tolerance was determined based on principal components analysis and cluster analysis of the physiological parameters and their ASTTI values. Significant differences in alkali-salt stress tolerance were found among the 30 lines. Lowland lines TEM-SEC, Alamo, TEM-SLC and Kanlow were classified as alkali-salt tolerant. In contrast, three lowland lines (AM-314/MS-155, BN-13645-64) and two upland lines (Caddo and Blackwell-1) were classified as alkali-salt sensitive. The results suggest wide variations exist in alkali-salt stress tolerance among the 30 switchgrass lines. The approach of using a combination of principal components and cluster analysis of the physiological parameters and related ASTTI is feasible for evaluating alkali-salt tolerance in switchgrass.

  14. Proteomic responses of switchgrass and prairie cordgrass to senescence

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Bimal ePaudel

    2016-03-01

    Full Text Available Senescence in biofuel grasses is a critical issue because early senescence decreases potential biomass production by limiting aerial growth and development. 2-Dimensional, differential in-gel electrophoresis (2D-DIGE followed by mass spectrometry of selected protein spots was used to evaluate differences between leaf proteomes of early (ES- and late- senescing (LS genotypes of Prairie cordgrass (ES/LS PCG and switchgrass (ES/LS SG, just before and after senescence was initiated. Analysis of the manually filtered and statistically evaluated data indicated that 69 proteins were significantly differentially abundant across all comparisons, and a majority (41 % were associated with photosynthetic processes as determined by gene ontology analysis. Ten proteins were found in common between PCG and SG, and nine and 18 proteins were unique to PCG and SG respectively. Five of the 10 differentially abundant spots common to both species were increased in abundance, and five were decreased in abundance. Leaf proteomes of the LS genotypes of both grasses analyzed before senescence contained significantly higher abundances of a 14-3-3 like protein and a glutathione-S-transferase protein when compared to the ES genotypes, suggesting differential cellular metabolism in the LS versus the ES genotypes. The higher abundance of 14-3-3 like proteins may be one factor that impacts the senescence process in both LS PCG and LS SG. Aconitase dehydratase was found in greater abundance in all four genotypes after the onset of senescence, consistent with literature reports from genetic and transcriptomic studies. A Rab protein of the Ras family of G proteins and an s-adenosylmethionine synthase were more abundant in ES PCG when compared with the LS PCG. In contrast, several proteins associated with photosynthesis and carbon assimilation were detected in greater abundance in LS PCG when compared to ES PCG, suggesting that a loss of these proteins potentially contributed to

  15. New genomic resources for switchgrass: a BAC library and comparative analysis of homoeologous genomic regions harboring bioenergy traits

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Feltus Frank A

    2011-07-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background Switchgrass, a C4 species and a warm-season grass native to the prairies of North America, has been targeted for development into an herbaceous biomass fuel crop. Genetic improvement of switchgrass feedstock traits through marker-assisted breeding and biotechnology approaches calls for genomic tools development. Establishment of integrated physical and genetic maps for switchgrass will accelerate mapping of value added traits useful to breeding programs and to isolate important target genes using map based cloning. The reported polyploidy series in switchgrass ranges from diploid (2X = 18 to duodecaploid (12X = 108. Like in other large, repeat-rich plant genomes, this genomic complexity will hinder whole genome sequencing efforts. An extensive physical map providing enough information to resolve the homoeologous genomes would provide the necessary framework for accurate assembly of the switchgrass genome. Results A switchgrass BAC library constructed by partial digestion of nuclear DNA with EcoRI contains 147,456 clones covering the effective genome approximately 10 times based on a genome size of 3.2 Gigabases (~1.6 Gb effective. Restriction digestion and PFGE analysis of 234 randomly chosen BACs indicated that 95% of the clones contained inserts, ranging from 60 to 180 kb with an average of 120 kb. Comparative sequence analysis of two homoeologous genomic regions harboring orthologs of the rice OsBRI1 locus, a low-copy gene encoding a putative protein kinase and associated with biomass, revealed that orthologous clones from homoeologous chromosomes can be unambiguously distinguished from each other and correctly assembled to respective fingerprint contigs. Thus, the data obtained not only provide genomic resources for further analysis of switchgrass genome, but also improve efforts for an accurate genome sequencing strategy. Conclusions The construction of the first switchgrass BAC library and comparative analysis of

  16. Comparison of Chemical Composition and Energy Property of Torrefied Switchgrass and Corn Stover

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Tumuluru, Jaya Shankar

    2015-01-01

    In the present study, 6-mm ground corn stover and switchgrass were torrefied in temperatures ranging from 180 to 270°C for 15- to 120-min residence time. Thermogravimetric analyzer was used to do the torrefaction studies. At a torrefaction temperature of 270°C and a 30-min residence time, the weight loss increased to >45%. At 180°C and 120 min, there was about 56 and 73% of moisture loss in the corn stover and switchgrass; further increasing the temperature to 270°C and 120 min resulted in about 78.8–88.18% moisture loss in both the feedstock. Additionally, at these temperatures, there was a significant decrease in the volatile content and increase in the fixed carbon content, and the ash content for both the biomasses tested. The ultimate composition like carbon content increased and hydrogen content decreased with increase in the torrefaction temperature and time. At 270°C and 120-min residence time, the carbon content observed was 56.63 and 58.04% and hydrogen content observed was 2.74 and 3.14%. Nitrogen and sulfur content measured at 270°C and 120 min were 0.98, 0.8, 0.076, and 0.07% for both the corn stover and switchgrass. The hydrogen/carbon and oxygen/carbon ratios calculated decreased to the lowest values of 0.59 and 0.64, and 0.71 and 0.76 for both biomasses. The van Krevelen diagram drawn for corn stover and switchgrass torrefied at 270°C indicated that H/C and O/C values are closer to coals like Illinois Basis and Powder River Basin. In the present study, the maximum higher heating value that was observed by corn stover and switchgrass was 21.51 and 21.53 MJ/kg at 270°C and a 120-min residence time. From these results, it can be concluded that corn stover and switchgrass, after torrefaction, shows consistent proximate, ultimate, and energy properties.

  17. Transcriptional analysis of defense mechanisms in upland tetraploid switchgrass to greenbugs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Donze-Reiner, Teresa; Palmer, Nathan A; Scully, Erin D; Prochaska, Travis J; Koch, Kyle G; Heng-Moss, Tiffany; Bradshaw, Jeffrey D; Twigg, Paul; Amundsen, Keenan; Sattler, Scott E; Sarath, Gautam

    2017-02-16

    Aphid infestation of switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) has the potential to reduce yields and biomass quality. Although switchgrass-greenbug (Schizaphis graminum; GB) interactions have been studied at the whole plant level, little information is available on plant defense responses at the molecular level. The global transcriptomic response of switchgrass cv Summer to GB was monitored by RNA-Seq in infested and control (uninfested) plants harvested at 5, 10, and 15 days after infestation (DAI). Differentially expressed genes (DEGs) in infested plants were analyzed relative to control uninfested plants at each time point. DEGs in GB-infested plants induced by 5-DAI included an upregulation of reactive burst oxidases and several cell wall receptors. Expression changes in genes linked to redox metabolism, cell wall structure, and hormone biosynthesis were also observed by 5-DAI. At 10-DAI, network analysis indicated a massive upregulation of defense-associated genes, including NAC, WRKY, and MYB classes of transcription factors and potential ancillary signaling molecules such as leucine aminopeptidases. Molecular evidence for loss of chloroplastic functions was also detected at this time point. Supporting these molecular changes, chlorophyll content was significantly decreased, and ROS levels were elevated in infested plants 10-DAI. Total peroxidase and laccase activities were elevated in infested plants at 10-DAI relative to control uninfested plants. The net result appeared to be a broad scale defensive response that led to an apparent reduction in C and N assimilation and a potential redirection of nutrients away from GB and towards the production of defensive compounds, such as pipecolic acid, chlorogenic acid, and trehalose by 10-DAI. By 15-DAI, evidence of recovery in primary metabolism was noted based on transcript abundances for genes associated with carbon, nitrogen, and nutrient assimilation. Extensive remodeling of the plant transcriptome and the production of

  18. Simulated biomass, environmental impacts and best management practices for long-term switchgrass systems in a semi-arid region

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Wang, Limei; Qian, Yaling; Brummer, Joe E.; Zheng, Jiyong; Wilhelm, Sarah; Parton, William J.

    2015-01-01

    Long-term information on switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.) as a biomass energy crop grown on marginally saline soil and the associated impacts on soil carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) dynamics, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and best management practices (BMPs) are limited. In this study, we employed the DAYCENT model, based on a 4-year switchgrass field experiment, to evaluate the long-term biomass yield potential and environmental impacts, and further to develop BMPs for switchgrass in a semi-arid region. The model showed that long-term (14-year) annual mean biomass yields were 9.6 and 5.2 Mg ha −1 for irrigated and rainfed switchgrass systems, respectively. The simulated biomass yields correlated well with field-measured biomass with r 2 values of 0.99 and 0.89 for irrigated and rainfed systems, respectively. Soil organic carbon (SOC) and soil total nitrogen (STN) accumulated rapidly after switchgrass establishment, with mean accrual rates of 0.99–1.13 Mg C ha −1  yr −1 and 0.04–0.08 Mg N ha −1  yr −1 , respectively. Based on the outputs of numerous long-term model simulations with variable irrigation water supplies and N rates, the irrigation regime and N rate with the highest yield to input ratio were chosen as BMPs. The DAYCENT model predicted-BMP was irrigating every 14 days at 70% potential evapotranspiration combined with an N rate of 67 kg ha −1  yr −1 . Switchgrass established and produced biomass reasonably well in this semi-arid region; however, appropriate irrigation and N fertilization were needed for optimal biomass yield. Switchgrass had a great potential to sequester C into soils with low N 2 O emissions while supplying significant quantities of biomass for biofuel synthesis. - Highlights: • The DAYCENT model reliably simulated the growth of switchgrass on marginal land. • Long-term biomass and environmental impacts were simulated using the DAYCENT model. • Switchgrass produced biomass well on marginal land, but

  19. Agricultural Worker Injury Comparative Risk Assessment Methodology: Assessing Corn and Biofuel Switchgrass Production Systems.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schwab, Charles V; Mosher, Gretchen A; Ryan, Saxon J

    2017-07-31

    Keeping workers safe is a continuing challenge in agricultural production. Risk assessment methodologies have been used widely in other industries to better understand systems and enhance decision making, yet their use in production agriculture has been limited. This article describes the considerations and the approach taken to measure the difference in worker injury risks between two agricultural production systems. A model was developed specifically for the comparison of worker injury risk between corn and biofuel switchgrass production systems. The model is composed of injury and exposure values that were used in a Monte Carlo simulation. The output of this risk assessment shows that approximately 99% of the values from the Monte Carlo simulation rank corn production as a greater worker injury risk than biofuel switchgrass production. Furthermore, the greatest contributing factors for each production system were identified as harvest, and that finding aligns with current literature. Copyright© by the American Society of Agricultural Engineers.

  20. Switchgrass storage effects on the recovery of carbohydrates after liquid hot water pretreatment and enzymatic hydrolysis

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Danielle Julie Carrier

    2016-08-01

    Full Text Available Perennial grasses that would be used for bioenergy and bioproducts production will need to be stored for various periods of time to ensure a continual feedstock supply to a bioprocessing facility. The effects of storage practices on grass composition and the response of grasses to subsequent bioprocesses such as pretreatment and enzymatic hydrolysis needs to be understood to develop the most efficient storage protocols. This study examined the effect of outdoor storage of round switchgrass bales on composition before and after liquid hot water pretreatment (LHW and enzymatic hydrolysis. This study also examined the effect of washing LHW pretreated biomass prior to enzymatic hydrolysis. It was determined that switchgrass composition after baling was stable. As expected, glucan and lignin contents increased after LHW due to decreases in xylan and galactan. Washing biomass prior to enzymatic hydrolysis reduced saccharification, especially in samples from the interior of the bale, by at least 5%.

  1. Five nuclear loci resolve the polyploid history of switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.) and relatives.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Triplett, Jimmy K; Wang, Yunjing; Zhong, Jinshun; Kellogg, Elizabeth A

    2012-01-01

    Polyploidy poses challenges for phylogenetic reconstruction because of the need to identify and distinguish between homoeologous loci. This can be addressed by use of low copy nuclear markers. Panicum s.s. is a genus of about 100 species in the grass tribe Paniceae, subfamily Panicoideae, and is divided into five sections. Many of the species are known to be polyploids. The most well-known of the Panicum polyploids are switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) and common or Proso millet (P. miliaceum). Switchgrass is in section Virgata, along with P. tricholaenoides, P. amarum, and P. amarulum, whereas P. miliaceum is in sect. Panicum. We have generated sequence data from five low copy nuclear loci and two chloroplast loci and have clarified the origin of P. virgatum. We find that all members of sects. Virgata and Urvilleana are the result of diversification after a single allopolyploidy event. The closest diploid relatives of switchgrass are in sect. Rudgeana, native to Central and South America. Within sections Virgata and Urvilleana, P. tricholaenoides is sister to the remaining species. Panicum racemosum and P. urvilleanum form a clade, which may be sister to P. chloroleucum. Panicum amarum, P. amarulum, and the lowland and upland ecotypes of P. virgatum together form a clade, within which relationships are complex. Hexaploid and octoploid plants are likely allopolyploids, with P. amarum and P. amarulum sharing genomes with P. virgatum. Octoploid P. virgatum plants are formed via hybridization between disparate tetraploids. We show that polyploidy precedes diversification in a complex set of polyploids; our data thus suggest that polyploidy could provide the raw material for diversification. In addition, we show two rounds of allopolyploidization in the ancestry of switchgrass, and identify additional species that may be part of its broader gene pool. This may be relevant for development of the crop for biofuels.

  2. Five nuclear loci resolve the polyploid history of switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L. and relatives.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jimmy K Triplett

    Full Text Available Polyploidy poses challenges for phylogenetic reconstruction because of the need to identify and distinguish between homoeologous loci. This can be addressed by use of low copy nuclear markers. Panicum s.s. is a genus of about 100 species in the grass tribe Paniceae, subfamily Panicoideae, and is divided into five sections. Many of the species are known to be polyploids. The most well-known of the Panicum polyploids are switchgrass (Panicum virgatum and common or Proso millet (P. miliaceum. Switchgrass is in section Virgata, along with P. tricholaenoides, P. amarum, and P. amarulum, whereas P. miliaceum is in sect. Panicum. We have generated sequence data from five low copy nuclear loci and two chloroplast loci and have clarified the origin of P. virgatum. We find that all members of sects. Virgata and Urvilleana are the result of diversification after a single allopolyploidy event. The closest diploid relatives of switchgrass are in sect. Rudgeana, native to Central and South America. Within sections Virgata and Urvilleana, P. tricholaenoides is sister to the remaining species. Panicum racemosum and P. urvilleanum form a clade, which may be sister to P. chloroleucum. Panicum amarum, P. amarulum, and the lowland and upland ecotypes of P. virgatum together form a clade, within which relationships are complex. Hexaploid and octoploid plants are likely allopolyploids, with P. amarum and P. amarulum sharing genomes with P. virgatum. Octoploid P. virgatum plants are formed via hybridization between disparate tetraploids. We show that polyploidy precedes diversification in a complex set of polyploids; our data thus suggest that polyploidy could provide the raw material for diversification. In addition, we show two rounds of allopolyploidization in the ancestry of switchgrass, and identify additional species that may be part of its broader gene pool. This may be relevant for development of the crop for biofuels.

  3. Association Mapping of Cell Wall Synthesis Regulatory Genes and Cell Wall Quality in Switchgrass

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Bartley, Laura [Univ. of Oklahoma, Norman, OK (United States). Dept. of Microbiology and Plant Biology; Wu, Y. [Oklahoma State Univ., Stillwater, OK (United States); Zhu, L. [Oklahoma State Univ., Stillwater, OK (United States); Brummer, E. C. [Noble Foundation, Ardmore, OK (United States); Saha, M. [Noble Foundation, Ardmore, OK (United States)

    2016-05-31

    Inefficient conversion of biomass to biofuels is one of the main barriers for biofuel production from such materials. Approximately half of polysaccharides in biomass remain unused by typical biochemical conversion methods. Conversion efficiency is influenced by the composition and structure of cell walls of biomass. Grasses such as wheat, maize, and rice, as well as dedicated perennial bioenergy crops, like switchgrass, make up ~55% of biomass that can be produced in the United States. Grass cell walls have a different composition and patterning compared with dicotyledonous plants, including the well-studied model plant, Arabidopsis. This project identified genetic determinants of cell wall composition in grasses using both naturally occurring genetic variation of switchgrass and gene network reconstruction and functional assays in rice. In addition, the project linked functional data in rice and other species to switchgrass improvement efforts through curation of the most abundant class of regulators in the switchgrass genome. Characterizing natural diversity of switchgrass for variation in cell wall composition and properties, also known as quality, provides an unbiased avenue for identifying biologically viable diversity in switchgrass cell walls. To characterizing natural diversity, this project generated cell wall composition and enzymatic deconstruction data for ~450 genotypes of the Switchgrass Southern Association Collection (SSAC), a diverse collection composed of 36 switchgrass accessions from the southern U.S. distribution of switchgrass. Comparing these data with other measures of cell wall quality for the same samples demonstrated the complementary nature of the diverse characterization platforms now being used for biomass characterization. Association of the composition data with ~3.2K single nucleotide variant markers identified six significant single nucleotide variant markers co-associated with digestibility and another compositional trait. These

  4. Switchgrass-Based Bioethanol Productivity and Potential Environmental Impact from Marginal Lands in China

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Xun Zhang

    2017-02-01

    Full Text Available Switchgrass displays an excellent potential to serve as a non-food bioenergy feedstock for bioethanol production in China due to its high potential yield on marginal lands. However, few studies have been conducted on the spatial distribution of switchgrass-based bioethanol production potential in China. This study created a land surface process model (Environmental Policy Integrated Climate GIS (Geographic Information System-based (GEPIC model coupled with a life cycle analysis (LCA to explore the spatial distribution of potential bioethanol production and present a comprehensive analysis of energy efficiency and environmental impacts throughout its whole life cycle. It provides a new approach to study the bioethanol productivity and potential environmental impact from marginal lands based on the high spatial resolution GIS data, and this applies not only to China, but also to other regions and to other types of energy plant. The results indicate that approximately 59 million ha of marginal land in China are suitable for planting switchgrass, and 22 million tons of ethanol can be produced from this land. Additionally, a potential net energy gain (NEG of 1.75 x 106 million MJ will be achieved if all of the marginal land can be used in China, and Yunnan Province offers the most significant one that accounts for 35% of the total. Finally, this study obtained that the total environmental effect index of switchgrass-based bioethanol is the equivalent of a population of approximately 20,300, and a reduction in the global warming potential (GWP is the most significant environmental impact.

  5. Volatile organic compound emissions from switchgrass cultivars used as biofuel crops

    Science.gov (United States)

    Eller, A. S. D.; Sekimoto, K.; Gilman, J. B.; Kuster, W. C.; de Gouw, J. A.; Monson, R. K.; Graus, M.; Crespo, E.; Warneke, C.; Fall, R.

    2011-06-01

    Volatile organic compound (VOC) emission rates during the growth and simulated harvest phases were determined for switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) using laboratory chamber measurements. Switchgrass is a candidate for use in second-generation (cellulosic) biofuel production and the acreage dedicated to its growth in the USA has already increased during the past decade. We estimate that the yearly emissions from switchgrass plantations, including both the growth and harvest phases will be on the order of 3 kg C ha-1 methanol, 1 kg C ha-1 acetaldehyde, 1 kg C ha-1 acetone, 0.9 kg C ha-1 monoterpenes, 0.5 kg C ha-1 isoprene + another compound, most likely 1-penten-3-ol, 0.2 kg C ha-1 hexenals, and 0.1 kg C ha-1 hexenols. These emission rates are much lower than those expected from Eucalyptus or poplar plantations, which are other potential biofuel crops and have significantly higher VOC emissions, suggesting that the choice of species in the production of biofuels could have serious implications for regional air quality.

  6. Switchgrass Cultivar/Ecotype Selection and Management for Biofuels in the Upper Southeast USA

    Science.gov (United States)

    Parrish, David J.; Wolf, Dale D.

    2014-01-01

    Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.), a perennial warm-season grass indigenous to the eastern USA, has potential as a biofuels feedstock. The objective of this study was to investigate the performance of upland and lowland switchgrass cultivars under different environments and management treatments. Four cultivars of switchgrass were evaluated from 2000 to 2001 under two management regimes in plots established in 1992 at eight locations in the upper southeastern USA. Two management treatments included 1) a single annual harvest (in late October to early November) and a single application of 50 kg N/ha/yr and 2) two annual harvests (in midsummer and November) and a split application of 100 kg N/ha/yr. Biomass yields averaged 15 Mg/ha/yr and ranged from 10 to 22 Mg/ha/yr across cultivars, managements, locations, and years. There was no yield advantage in taking two harvests of the lowland cultivars (Alamo and Kanlow). When harvested twice, upland cultivars (Cave-in-Rock and Shelter) provided yields equivalent to the lowland ecotypes. Tiller density was 36% lower in stands cutting only once per year, but the stands appeared vigorous after nine years of such management. Lowland cultivars and a one-cutting management (after the tops have senesced) using low rates of applied N (50 kg/ha) are recommended. PMID:25105170

  7. Impact of an innovated storage technology on the quality of preprocessed switchgrass bales

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Christopher N. Boyer

    2016-03-01

    Full Text Available The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of three particle sizes of feedstock and two types of novel bale wraps on the quality of switchgrass by monitoring the chemical changes in cellulose, hemicellulose, lignin, extractives, and ash over a 225-day period. Using NIR (Near-infrared modeling to predict the chemical composition of the treated biomass, differences were found in cellulose, lignin, and ash content across switchgrass bales with different particle sizes. Enclosing bales in a net and film impacted the cellulose, lignin, and ash content. Cellulose, hemicellulose, lignin, extractives, and ash were different across the 225-day storage period. A quadratic response function made better prediction about cellulose, lignin, and ash response to storage, and a linear response function best described hemicellulose and extractives response to storage. This study yields valuable information regarding the quality of switchgrass at different intervals between the start and end date of storage, which is important to conversion facilities when determining optimal storage strategies to improve quality of the biomass feedstock, based on potential output yield of a bale over time.

  8. Effects of precipitation changes on switchgrass photosynthesis, growth, and biomass: A mesocosm experiment.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hui, Dafeng; Yu, Chih-Li; Deng, Qi; Dzantor, E Kudjo; Zhou, Suping; Dennis, Sam; Sauve, Roger; Johnson, Terrance L; Fay, Philip A; Shen, Weijun; Luo, Yiqi

    2018-01-01

    Climate changes, including chronic changes in precipitation amounts, will influence plant physiology and growth. However, such precipitation effects on switchgrass, a major bioenergy crop, have not been well investigated. We conducted a two-year precipitation simulation experiment using large pots (95 L) in an environmentally controlled greenhouse in Nashville, TN. Five precipitation treatments (ambient precipitation, and -50%, -33%, +33%, and +50% of ambient) were applied in a randomized complete block design with lowland "Alamo" switchgrass plants one year after they were established from tillers. The growing season progression of leaf physiology, tiller number, height, and aboveground biomass were determined each growing season. Precipitation treatments significantly affected leaf physiology, growth, and aboveground biomass. The photosynthetic rates in the wet (+50% and +33%) treatments were significantly enhanced by 15.9% and 8.1%, respectively, than the ambient treatment. Both leaf biomass and plant height were largely increased, resulting in dramatically increases in aboveground biomass by 56.5% and 49.6% in the +50% and +33% treatments, respectively. Compared to the ambient treatment, the drought (-33% and -50%) treatments did not influence leaf physiology, but the -50% treatment significantly reduced leaf biomass by 37.8%, plant height by 16.3%, and aboveground biomass by 38.9%. This study demonstrated that while switchgrass in general is a drought tolerant grass, severe drought significantly reduces Alamo's growth and biomass, and that high precipitation stimulates its photosynthesis and growth.

  9. Global changes in mineral transporters in tetraploid switchgrasses (Panicum virgatum L.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Nathan A. Palmer

    2014-01-01

    Full Text Available Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L is perennial, C4 grass with great potential as a biofuel crop. An in-depth understanding of the mechanisms that control mineral uptake, distribution and remobilization will benefit sustainable production. Nutrients are mobilized from aerial portions to below-ground crowns and rhizomes as a natural accompaniment to above-ground senescence post seed-set. Mineral uptake and remobilization is dependent on transporters, however, little if any information is available about the specific transporters that are needed and how their relative expression changes over a growing season. Using well-defined classes of mineral transporters, we identified 520 genes belonging to 40 different transporter classes in the tetraploid switchgrass genome. Expression patterns were determined for many of these genes using publically available transcriptomic datasets obtained from both greenhouse and field grown plants. Certain transporters showed strong temporal patterns of expression in distinct developmental stages of the plant. Gene-expression was verified for selected transporters using qRT-PCR. By and large these analyses confirmed the developmental stage-specific expression of these genes. Mineral analyses indicated that K, Fe, Mg, Co and As had a similar pattern of accumulation with apparent limited remobilization at the end of the growing season. These initial analyses will serve as a foundation for more detailed examination of the nutrient biology of switchgrass.

  10. Electron beam pretreatment of switchgrass to enhance enzymatic hydrolysis to produce sugars for biofuels.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sundar, Smith; Bergey, N Scott; Salamanca-Cardona, Lucia; Stipanovic, Arthur; Driscoll, Mark

    2014-01-16

    Conversion of lignocellulosic biomass to value added products such as ethanol and other platform chemicals is enhanced by pretreatment, which reduces the crystallinity and molecular weight of cell wall polymers, thus increasing the available reaction sites. In this study, switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.) was pretreated with high energy electron beam (EB) irradiation to reduce its recalcitrance and achieve higher sugar conversion rates during treatment with cellulases and β-glucosidase. Conversion rates to sugars were compared before and after hot water (HW) extraction of EB-treated and control samples of switchgrass. Thermogravimetric analysis (TGA) was employed to determine peak degradation temperature of these EB-treated biomass samples before and after HW extraction, and near infrared spectroscopy (NIR) was used as a rapid technique to determine cellulose, hemicellulose, and lignin contents in the samples. TGA data confirm previously reported results that EB pretreatment reduces the molecular weight and crystallinity of cellulose and hemicellulose. This leaves hemicellulose more amenable to HW extraction and creates more cellulase-accessible sites, as shown by NIR and glucose yield data, respectively. Hemicellulose content was reduced from 30.2 to 16.9% after HW extraction and 1000 kGy EB treatment, and ultimate glucose yield after cellulase hydrolysis increased more than 4-fold. This study provides evidence that when EB pretreatment is utilized in combination with HW extraction, higher conversion rates and yields of glucose can be obtained from the cellulosic fraction of switchgrass. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  11. Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) Intercropping within Managed Loblolly Pine (Pinus taeda) Does Not Affect Wild Bee Communities.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Campbell, Joshua W; Miller, Darren A; Martin, James A

    2016-11-04

    Intensively-managed pine ( Pinus spp.) have been shown to support diverse vertebrate communities, but their ability to support invertebrate communities, such as wild bees, has not been well-studied. Recently, researchers have examined intercropping switchgrass ( Panicum virgatum ), a native perennial, within intensively managed loblolly pine ( P. taeda ) plantations as a potential source for cellulosic biofuels. To better understand potential effects of intercropping on bee communities, we investigated visitation of bees within three replicates of four treatments of loblolly pine in Mississippi, U.S.A.: 3-4 year old pine plantations and 9-10 year old pine plantations with and without intercropped switchgrass. We used colored pan traps to capture bees during the growing seasons of 2013 and 2014. We captured 2507 bees comprised of 18 different genera during the two-year study, with Lasioglossum and Ceratina being the most common genera captured. Overall, bee abundances were dependent on plantation age and not presence of intercropping. Our data suggests that switchgrass does not negatively impact or promote bee communities within intensively-managed loblolly pine plantations.

  12. Development of a Low Input and sustainable Switchgrass Feedstock Production System Utilizing Beneficial Bacterial Endophytes

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Mei, Chuansheng [IALR; Nowak, Jerzy [VPISU; Seiler, John [VPISU

    2014-10-24

    Switchgrass represents a promising feedstock crop for US energy sustainability. However, its broad utilization for bioenergy requires improvements of biomass yields and stress tolerance. In this DOE funded project, we have been working on harnessing beneficial bacterial endophytes to enhance switchgrass performance and to develop a low input feedstock production system for marginal lands that do not compete with the production of food crops. We have demonstrated that one of most promising plant growth-promoting bacterial endophytes, Burkholderia phytofirmans strain PsJN, is able to colonize roots and significantly promote growth of switchgrass cv. Alamo under in vitro, growth chamber, greenhouse, as well as field conditions. Furthermore, PsJN bacterization improved growth and development of switchgrass seedlings, significantly stimulated plant root and shoot growth, and tiller number in the field, and enhanced biomass accumulation on both poor (p<0.001) and rich (p<0.05) soils, with more effective stimulation of plant growth in low fertility soil. Plant physiology measurements showed that PsJN inoculated Alamo had consistently lower transpiration, lower stomatal conductance, and higher water use efficiency in greenhouse conditions. These physiological changes may significantly contribute to the recorded growth enhancement. PsJN inoculation rapidly results in an increase in photosynthetic rates which contributes to the advanced growth and development. Some evidence suggests that this initial growth advantage decreases with time when resources are not limited such as in greenhouse studies. Additionally, better drought resistance and drought hardening were observed in PsJN inoculated switchgrass. Using the DOE-funded switchgrass EST microarray, in a collaboration with the Genomics Core Facility at the Noble Foundation, we have determined gene expression profile changes in both responsive switchgrass cv. Alamo and non-responsive cv. Cave-in-Rock (CR) following Ps

  13. Microbial community analysis of switchgrass planted and unplanted soil microcosms displaying PCB dechlorination.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Liang, Yi; Meggo, Richard; Hu, Dingfei; Schnoor, Jerald L; Mattes, Timothy E

    2015-08-01

    Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) pose potential risks to human and environmental health because they are carcinogenic, persistent, and bioaccumulative. In this study, we investigated bacterial communities in soil microcosms spiked with PCB 52, 77, and 153. Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) was employed to improve overall PCB removal, and redox cycling (i.e., sequential periods of flooding followed by periods of no flooding) was performed in an effort to promote PCB dechlorination. Lesser chlorinated PCB transformation products were detected in all microcosms, indicating the occurrence of PCB dechlorination. Terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism (T-RFLP) and clone library analysis showed that PCB spiking, switchgrass planting, and redox cycling affected the microbial community structure. Putative organohalide-respiring Chloroflexi populations, which were not found in unflooded microcosms, were enriched after 2 weeks of flooding in the redox-cycled microcosms. Sequences classified as Geobacter sp. were detected in all microcosms and were most abundant in the switchgrass-planted microcosm spiked with PCB congeners. The presence of possible organohalide-respiring bacteria in these soil microcosms suggests that they play a role in PCB dechlorination therein.

  14. Biomass logistics analysis for large scale biofuel production: case study of loblolly pine and switchgrass.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lu, Xiaoming; Withers, Mitch R; Seifkar, Navid; Field, Randall P; Barrett, Steven R H; Herzog, Howard J

    2015-05-01

    The objective of this study was to assess the costs, energy consumption and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions throughout the biomass supply chain for large scale biofuel production. Two types of energy crop were considered, switchgrass and loblolly pine, as representative of herbaceous and woody biomass. A biomass logistics model has been developed to estimate the feedstock supply system from biomass production through transportation. Biomass in the form of woodchip, bale and pellet was investigated with road, railway and waterway transportation options. Our analysis indicated that the farm or forest gate cost is lowest for loblolly pine whole tree woodchip at $39.7/dry tonne and highest for switchgrass round bale at $72.3/dry tonne. Switchgrass farm gate GHG emissions is approximately 146kgCO2e/dry tonne, about 4 times higher than loblolly pine. The optimum biomass transportation mode and delivered form are determined by the tradeoff between fixed and variable costs for feedstock shipment. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  15. Community dynamics and glycoside hydrolase activities of thermophilic bacterial consortia adapted to switchgrass

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Gladden, J.M.; Allgaier, M.; Miller, C.S.; Hazen, T.C.; VanderGheynst, J.S.; Hugenholtz, P.; Simmons, B.A.; Singer, S.W.

    2011-05-01

    Industrial-scale biofuel production requires robust enzymatic cocktails to produce fermentable sugars from lignocellulosic biomass. Thermophilic bacterial consortia are a potential source of cellulases and hemicellulases adapted to harsher reaction conditions than commercial fungal enzymes. Compost-derived microbial consortia were adapted to switchgrass at 60 C to develop thermophilic biomass-degrading consortia for detailed studies. Microbial community analysis using small-subunit rRNA gene amplicon pyrosequencing and short-read metagenomic sequencing demonstrated that thermophilic adaptation to switchgrass resulted in low-diversity bacterial consortia with a high abundance of bacteria related to thermophilic paenibacilli, Rhodothermus marinus, and Thermus thermophilus. At lower abundance, thermophilic Chloroflexi and an uncultivated lineage of the Gemmatimonadetes phylum were observed. Supernatants isolated from these consortia had high levels of xylanase and endoglucanase activities. Compared to commercial enzyme preparations, the endoglucanase enzymes had a higher thermotolerance and were more stable in the presence of 1-ethyl-3-methylimidazolium acetate ([C2mim][OAc]), an ionic liquid used for biomass pretreatment. The supernatants were used to saccharify [C2mim][OAc]-pretreated switchgrass at elevated temperatures (up to 80 C), demonstrating that these consortia are an excellent source of enzymes for the development of enzymatic cocktails tailored to more extreme reaction conditions.

  16. Accumulation and partitioning of biomass, nutrients, and trace elements in switchgrass for phytoremediation of municipal biosolids.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jeke, Nicholson N; Zvomuya, Francis; Ross, Lisette

    2016-09-01

    In situ phytoremediation of municipal biosolids is a promising alternative to the land spreading and landfilling of biosolids from end-of-life municipal lagoons. Accumulation and partitioning of dry matter, nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and trace elements were determined in aboveground biomass (AGB) and belowground biomass (BGB) of switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.) to determine the harvest stage that maximizes phytoextraction of contaminants from municipal biosolids. Seedlings were transplanted into 15-L plastic pails containing 3.9 kg (dry wt.) biosolids. Biomass yield components and contaminant concentrations were assessed every 14 days for up to 161 days. Logistic model fits to biomass yield data indicated no significant differences in asymptotic yield between AGB and BGB. Switchgrass partitioned significantly more N and P to AGB than to BGB. Maximum uptake occurred 86 days after transplanting (DAT) for N and 102 DAT for P. Harvesting at peak aboveground element accumulation removed 5% of N, 1.6% of P, 0.2% of Zn, 0.05% of Cd, and 0.1% of Cr initially present in the biosolids. These results will contribute toward identification of the harvest stage that will optimize contaminant uptake and enhance in situ phytoremediation of biosolids using switchgrass.

  17. Effects of precipitation changes on switchgrass photosynthesis, growth, and biomass: A mesocosm experiment.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Dafeng Hui

    Full Text Available Climate changes, including chronic changes in precipitation amounts, will influence plant physiology and growth. However, such precipitation effects on switchgrass, a major bioenergy crop, have not been well investigated. We conducted a two-year precipitation simulation experiment using large pots (95 L in an environmentally controlled greenhouse in Nashville, TN. Five precipitation treatments (ambient precipitation, and -50%, -33%, +33%, and +50% of ambient were applied in a randomized complete block design with lowland "Alamo" switchgrass plants one year after they were established from tillers. The growing season progression of leaf physiology, tiller number, height, and aboveground biomass were determined each growing season. Precipitation treatments significantly affected leaf physiology, growth, and aboveground biomass. The photosynthetic rates in the wet (+50% and +33% treatments were significantly enhanced by 15.9% and 8.1%, respectively, than the ambient treatment. Both leaf biomass and plant height were largely increased, resulting in dramatically increases in aboveground biomass by 56.5% and 49.6% in the +50% and +33% treatments, respectively. Compared to the ambient treatment, the drought (-33% and -50% treatments did not influence leaf physiology, but the -50% treatment significantly reduced leaf biomass by 37.8%, plant height by 16.3%, and aboveground biomass by 38.9%. This study demonstrated that while switchgrass in general is a drought tolerant grass, severe drought significantly reduces Alamo's growth and biomass, and that high precipitation stimulates its photosynthesis and growth.

  18. Accelerating the Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.) Breeding Cycle Using Genomic Selection Approaches

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lipka, Alexander E.; Lu, Fei; Cherney, Jerome H.; Buckler, Edward S.; Casler, Michael D.; Costich, Denise E.

    2014-01-01

    Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.) is a perennial grass undergoing development as a biofuel feedstock. One of the most important factors hindering breeding efforts in this species is the need for accurate measurement of biomass yield on a per-hectare basis. Genomic selection on simple-to-measure traits that approximate biomass yield has the potential to significantly speed up the breeding cycle. Recent advances in switchgrass genomic and phenotypic resources are now making it possible to evaluate the potential of genomic selection of such traits. We leveraged these resources to study the ability of three widely-used genomic selection models to predict phenotypic values of morphological and biomass quality traits in an association panel consisting of predominantly northern adapted upland germplasm. High prediction accuracies were obtained for most of the traits, with standability having the highest ten-fold cross validation prediction accuracy (0.52). Moreover, the morphological traits generally had higher prediction accuracies than the biomass quality traits. Nevertheless, our results suggest that the quality of current genomic and phenotypic resources available for switchgrass is sufficiently high for genomic selection to significantly impact breeding efforts for biomass yield. PMID:25390940

  19. Towards the Development of a Molecular Map in Switchgrass: I. Microsatellite Marker Development; ANNUAL

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Gunter, L.E.

    2001-01-01

    The long-term goal of the switchgrass breeding program is to improve regionally adapted varieties and increase biomass yield and feedstock quality. Although, to some extent, biomass yields are dependent on environmental constraints, increased yield can be achieved through the development of genotypes with improved seasonal adaptation, tolerance to unfavorable environmental conditions, and improved resistance to pest and disease. To date, improvement in switchgrass has relied on recurrent breeding strategies based on phenotypic or genotypic selection. Yield improvements have been modest by this method. If we expect to make significant increase in yields, we need tools that will allow us to map complex traits and uncover the genes that influence them. A genetic linkage map could be a powerful tool for accelerating switchgrass development through marker-assisted selection, breeding and recombination. This type of mapping requires the development of markers that can be associated with phenotypic traits in a population of known pedigree. The most commonly used markers for mapping include restriction fragment length polymorphisms (RFLP) and simple sequence repeats (SSR). At ORNL, we have been concentrating on the development of SSR markers, while our colleagues at the University of Georgia are developing RFLP markers in order to select parents to produce a mapping population and from there to create a framework map from(approx)100 F1 progeny

  20. Exogenous GR24 Alleviates Cadmium Toxicity by Reducing Cadmium Uptake in Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) Seedlings.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tai, Zhenglan; Yin, Xinqiang; Fang, Zhigang; Shi, Gaoling; Lou, Laiqing; Cai, Qingsheng

    2017-07-29

    Strigolactones (SLs) are classified into plant hormones, playing a key role as a mediator of plant growth in response to several abiotic stresses, including drought and salinity. However, the role of SLs in cadmium (Cd)-induced stress to plants is still unknown. The physiological responses of switchgrass ( Panicum virgatum ) stressed in 10 μmol L -1 Cd to exogenous synthetic SLs analog, GR24 were studied in hydroponics. The Cd stress significantly caused the adverse effects on plant growth and root morphology, inhibited photosynthesis, but boosted lipid peroxidation of Switchgrass seedlings. After treatment of 1 μmol L -1 GR24, the above adverse effects caused by Cd stress were significantly alleviated, mainly reflects in improvement of shoot biomass, relative water content, root development, chlorophyll contents, activities of typical antioxidant enzymes, nutrient uptake. The reason for exogenous GR24 alleviating cadmium toxicity might be owing to that exogenous GR24 promoted the content of endogenous SLs, increased some essential element Fe (iron), Zn (zinc), Mn (manganese) and Cu (copper) uptake and reduced cadmium uptake, accumulation and partition in shoot of switchgrass seedlings.

  1. Gas exchange and stand-level estimates of water use and gross primary productivity in an experimental pine and switchgrass intercrop forestry system on the Lower Coastal Plain of North Carolina, U.S.A

    Science.gov (United States)

    Janine M. Albaugha; Jean-Christophe Domeca; Chris A. Maier; Eric B. Sucre; Zakiya H. Leggett; John S. King

    2014-01-01

    Despite growing interest in using switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.) as a biofuel, there are limiteddata on the physiology of this species and its effect on stand water use and carbon (C) assimilationwhen grown as a forest intercrop for bioenergy. Therefore, we quantified gas exchange rates of switch-grass within intercropped plots and in pure switchgrass plots during...

  2. Extended light exposure increases stem digestibility and biomass production of switchgrass.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Chunqiao Zhao

    Full Text Available Switchgrass is a photoperiod-sensitive energy grass suitable for growing in the marginal lands of China. We explored the effects of extended photoperiods of low-irradiance light (7 μmol·m-2·s-1, no effective photosynthesis on the growth, the biomass dry weight, the biomass allocation, and, especially, the stem digestibility and cell wall characteristics of switchgrass. Two extended photoperiods (i.e., 18 and 24 h were applied over Alamo. Extended light exposure (18 and 24 h resulted in delayed heading and higher dry weights of vegetative organs (by 32.87 and 35.94%, respectively at the expense of reducing the amount of sexual organs (by 40.05 and 50.87%, respectively. Compared to the control group (i.e., natural photoperiod, the yield of hexoses (% dry matter in the stems after a direct enzymatic hydrolysis (DEH treatment significantly increased (by 44.02 and 46.10% for those groups irradiated during 18 and 24 h, respectively. Moreover, the yield of hexoses obtained via enzymatic hydrolysis increased after both basic (1% NaOH and acid (1% H2SO4 pretreatments for the groups irradiated during 18 and 24 h. Additionally, low-irradiance light extension (LILE significantly increased the content of non-structural carbohydrates (NSCs while notably reducing the lignin content and the syringyl to guaiacyl (S/G ratio. These structural changes were in part responsible for the observed improved stem digestibility. Remarkably, LILE significantly decreased the cellulose crystallinity index (CrI of switchgrass by significantly increasing both the arabinose substitution degree in xylan and the content of ammonium oxalate-extractable uronic acids, both favoring cellulose digestibility. Despite this LILE technology is not applied to the cultivation of switchgrass on a large scale yet, we believe that the present work is important in that it reveals important relationships between extended day length irradiations and biomass production and quality. Additionally

  3. Impact of mechanical, chemical and enzymatic pre-treatments on the methane yield from the anaerobic digestion of switchgrass

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Frigon, Jean-Claude; Mehta, Punita; Guiot, Serge R.

    2012-01-01

    The conversion of cellulosic crops into biofuels, including methane, is receiving a lot of attention lately. Panicum vergatum, or switchgrass, is a warm season perennial grass well adapted to grow in North America. Different pre-treatments were tested in 0.5 l batch reactors, at 35 °C, in order to enhance the methane production from switchgrass, including temperature, sonication, alkalinization and autoclaving. The methane production on the basis of volatile solids (VS) added to the fermentation were 112.4 ± 8.4, 132.5 ± 9.7 and 139.8 ml g −1 after 38 days of incubation for winter harvested switchgrass (WHS) after grinding, grinding with alkalinization, and grinding with alkalinization and autoclaving, respectively. The methane production was higher for fresh summer harvested switchgrass (SHS), with a production of 256.6 ± 8.2 ml g −1 VS after mulching, alkalinization and autoclaving. The methane production from SHS was improved by 29 and 42% when applying lignin (LiP) or manganese peroxidase (MnP), at 202.1 ± 9.8 and 222.9 ± 22.5 ml g −1 VS, respectively. The combination of an alkali pre-treatment with the MnP increased the methane production furthermore at 297.7 ml g −1 VS. The use of pectinases without chemical pre-treatment showed promising yields at 287.4 and 239.5 ml g −1 VS for pectate-lyase and poly-galacturonase, respectively. An estimation of the methane yield per hectare of crop harvested resulted in net energy production of 29.8, 49.7 and 78.1 GJ for winter harvested switchgrass, mulched and pretreated summer harvested switchgrass, respectively. Switchgrass represents an interesting candidate as a lignocellulosic crop for methane production. -- Highlights: ► Switchgrass is a model energy crops for biofuels production. ► This study evaluated different pre-treatments to enhance methane production. ► Pre-treatments increase significantly the methane produced from switchgrass. ► Enzymatic pre-treatments were superior to physical and

  4. Growth promotion and colonization of switchgrass (Panicum virgatum cv. Alamo by bacterial endophyte Burkholderia phytofirmans strain PsJN

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Kim Seonhwa

    2012-05-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background Switchgrass is one of the most promising bioenergy crop candidates for the US. It gives relatively high biomass yield and can grow on marginal lands. However, its yields vary from year to year and from location to location. Thus it is imperative to develop a low input and sustainable switchgrass feedstock production system. One of the most feasible ways to increase biomass yields is to harness benefits of microbial endophytes. Results We demonstrate that one of the most studied plant growth promoting bacterial endophytes, Burkholderia phytofirmans strain PsJN, is able to colonize and significantly promote growth of switchgrass cv. Alamo under in vitro, growth chamber, and greenhouse conditions. In several in vitro experiments, the average fresh weight of PsJN-inoculated plants was approximately 50% higher than non-inoculated plants. When one-month-old seedlings were grown in a growth chamber for 30 days, the PsJN-inoculated Alamo plants had significantly higher shoot and root biomass compared to controls. Biomass yield (dry weight averaged from five experiments was 54.1% higher in the inoculated treatment compared to non-inoculated control. Similar results were obtained in greenhouse experiments with transplants grown in 4-gallon pots for two months. The inoculated plants exhibited more early tillers and persistent growth vigor with 48.6% higher biomass than controls. We also found that PsJN could significantly promote growth of switchgrass cv. Alamo under sub-optimal conditions. However, PsJN-mediated growth promotion in switchgrass is genotype specific. Conclusions Our results show B. phytofirmans strain PsJN significantly promotes growth of switchgrass cv. Alamo under different conditions, especially in the early growth stages leading to enhanced production of tillers. This phenomenon may benefit switchgrass establishment in the first year. Moreover, PsJN significantly stimulated growth of switchgrass cv. Alamo under sub

  5. Utility of remote sensing-based surface energy balance models to track water stress in rain-fed switchgrass under dry and wet conditions

    Science.gov (United States)

    The ability of remote sensing-based surface energy balance (SEB) models to track water stress in rain-fed switchgrass has not been explored yet. In this paper, the theoretical framework of crop water stress index (CWSI) was utilized to estimate CWSI in rain-fed switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.) usin...

  6. Bioclimatic predictions of habitat suitability for the biofuel switchgrass in North America under current and future climate scenarios

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Barney, Jacob N.; DiTomaso, Joseph M.

    2010-01-01

    Dedicated biofuel crops, while providing economic and other benefits, may adversely impact biodiversity directly via land use conversion, or indirectly via creation of novel invasive species. To mitigate negative impacts bioclimatic envelope models (BEM) can be used to estimate the potential distribution and suitable habitat based on the climate and distribution in the native range. We used CLIMEX to evaluate the regions of North America suitable for agronomic production, as well as regions potentially susceptible to an invasion of switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) under both current and future climate scenarios. Model results show that >8.7 million km 2 of North America has suitable to very favorable habitat, most of which occurs east of the Rocky Mountains. The non-native range of western North America is largely unsuitable to switchgrass as a crop or potential weed unless irrigation or permanent water is available. Under both the CGCM2 and HadCM3 climate models and A2 and B2 emissions scenarios, an overall increase in suitable habitat is predicted over the coming century, although the western US remains unsuitable. Our results suggest that much of North America is suitable for switchgrass cultivation, although this is likely to shift north in the coming century. Our results also agree with field collections of switchgrass outside its native range, which indicate that switchgrass is unlikely to establish unless it has access to water throughout the year (e.g., along a stream). Thus, it is the potential invasion of switchgrass into riparian habitats in the West that requires further investigation. (author)

  7. Historical Perspective on How and Why Switchgrass was Selected as a "Model" High-Potential Energy Crop

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Wright, Lynn L [ORNL

    2007-11-01

    A review of several publications of the Biofuels Feedstock Development Program, and final reports from the herbaceous crop screening trials suggests that there were several technical and non-technical factors that influenced the decision to focus on one herbaceous "model" crop species. The screening trials funded by the U.S. Department of Energy in the late 1980's to early 1990's assessed a wide range of about 34 species with trials being conducted on a wide range of soil types in 31 different sites spread over seven states in crop producing regions of the U.S. While several species, including sorghums, reed canarygrass and other crops, were identified as having merit for further development, the majority of institutions involved in the herbaceous species screening studies identified switchgrass as having high priority for further development. Six of the seven institutions included switchgrass among the species recommended for further development in their region and all institutions recommended that perennial grasses be given high research priority. Reasons for the selection of switchgrass included the demonstration of relatively high, reliable productivity across a wide geographical range, suitability for marginal quality land, low water and nutrient requirements, and positive environmental attributes. Economic and environmental assessments by Oak Ridge National Laboratory's Biofuels Feedstock Development Program staff together with the screening project results, and funding limitations lead to making the decision to further develop only switchgrass as a "model" or "prototype" species in about 1990. This paper describes the conditions under which the herbaceous species were screened, summarizes results from those trials, discusses the various factors which influenced the selection of switchgrass, and provides a brief evaluation of switchgrass with respect to criteria that should be considered when selecting and developing a crop for biofuels and

  8. Nitrogen fertilization of switchgrass increases biomass yield and improves net greenhouse gas balance in northern Michigan, U.S.A

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Nikiema, Paligwende; Rothstein, David E.; Min, Doo-Hong; Kapp, Christian J.

    2011-01-01

    Nitrogen (N) fertilization can increase bioenergy crop production; however, fertilizer production and application can contribute to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, potentially undermining the GHG benefits of bioenergy crops. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effects of N fertilization on GHG emissions and biomass production of switchgrass bioenergy crop, in northern Michigan. Nitrogen fertilization treatments included 0 kg ha -1 (control), 56 kg ha -1 (low) and 112 kg ha -1 (high) of N applied as urea. Soil fluxes of CO 2 , N 2 O and CH 4 were measured every two weeks using static chambers. Indirect GHG emissions associated with field activities, manufacturing and transport of fertilizer and pesticides were derived from the literature. Switchgrass aboveground biomass yield was evaluated at the end of the growing season. Nitrogen fertilization contributed little to soil GHG emissions; relative to the control, there were additional global warming potential of 0.7 Mg ha -1 y -1 and 1.5 Mg ha -1 y -1 as CO 2 equivalents (CO 2 eq), calculated using the IPCC values, in the low and high N fertilization treatments, respectively. However, N fertilization greatly stimulated CO 2 uptake by switchgrass, resulting in 1.5- and 2.5-fold increases in biomass yield in the low and high N fertilization treatments, respectively. Nitrogen amendments improved the net GHG benefits by 2.6 Mg ha -1 y -1 and 9.4 Mg ha -1 y -1 as CO 2 eq relative to the control. Results suggest that N fertilization of switchgrass in this region could reduce (15-50%) the land base needed for bioenergy production and decrease pressure on land for food and forage crop production. -- Highlights: → We examine the effects of N fertilization of switchgrass on GHG emissions. → Effects of N fertilization on biomass production of switchgrass bioenergy crop. → N fertilization contributed little to greenhouse gas emissions. → N fertilization greatly stimulated CO 2 uptake by the switchgrass. → N

  9. Targeted mutagenesis in tetraploid switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.) using CRISPR/Cas9.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Liu, Yang; Merrick, Paul; Zhang, Zhengzhi; Ji, Chonghui; Yang, Bing; Fei, Shui-Zhang

    2018-02-01

    The CRISPR/Cas9 system has become a powerful tool for targeted mutagenesis. Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.) is a high yielding perennial grass species that has been designated as a model biomass crop by the U.S. Department of Energy. The self-infertility and high ploidy level make it difficult to study gene function or improve germplasm. To overcome these constraints, we explored the feasibility of using CRISPR/Cas9 for targeted mutagenesis in a tetraploid cultivar 'Alamo' switchgrass. We first developed a transient assay by which a non-functional green-fluorescent protein gene containing a 1-bp frameshift insertion in its 5' coding region was successfully mutated by a Cas9/sgRNA complex resulting in its restored function. Agrobacterium-mediated stable transformation of embryogenic calli derived from mature caryopses averaged a 3.0% transformation efficiency targeting the genes of teosinte branched 1(tb1)a and b and phosphoglycerate mutase (PGM). With a single construct containing two sgRNAs targeting different regions of tb1a and tb1b genes, primary transformants (T0) containing CRISPR/Cas9-induced mutations were obtained at frequencies of 95.5% (tb1a) and 11% (tb1b), respectively, with T0 mutants exhibiting increased tiller production. Meanwhile, a mutation frequency of 13.7% was obtained for the PGM gene with a CRISPR/Cas9 construct containing a single sgRNA. Among the PGM T0 mutants, six are heterozygous and one is homozygous for a 1-bp deletion in the target region with no apparent phenotypical alterations. We show that CRISPR/Cas9 system can generate targeted mutagenesis effectively and obtain targeted homozygous mutants in T0 generation in switchgrass, circumventing the need of inbreeding. © 2017 The Authors. Plant Biotechnology Journal published by Society for Experimental Biology and The Association of Applied Biologists and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  10. Changes in Lignin Chemistry of Switchgrass due to Delignification by Sodium Hydroxide Pretreatment

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Woochul Jung

    2018-02-01

    Full Text Available Switchgrass was pretreated with sodium hydroxide (NaOH at various concentrations and pretreatment times to investigate how delignification caused by NaOH affects its lignin chemistry. NaOH resulted in significant delignification ranging from 44.0 to 84.6% depending on pretreatment intensity. While there was no significant glucan loss due to NaOH pretreatment, higher NaOH concentrations removed xylan by up to 28.3%. Nitrobenzene oxidation (NBO was used to study changes in lignin chemistry, and indicated that at higher NaOH concentrations, the amount of 4-hydroxygenzaldehyde (Hy degraded from p-hydroxyphenyl propanol (H lignin units was significantly reduced (p < 0.05. However, amounts of syringic (SA and vanillic (VA acids generated from syringyl (S and guaiacyl (G degradation were greater at higher NaOH concentration. S/G ratio (=0.62 raw switchgrass did not significantly (p > 0.05 change with 15 min pretreatment, but it increased to 0.75 and 0.72, respectively, with 30 and 60 min pretreatments (p < 0.05. Increase in NaOH concentration did not significantly (p > 0.05 change S/G ratio, but H/G ratio (=0.48 raw switchgrass decreased significantly to 0.14 regardless of pretreatment times. Overall, the H unit was found to be more susceptible to NaOH than S and G unit monolignols. Though changes in lignin chemistry due to NaOH concentration were observed, their impact on cellulolytic enzyme action during hydrolysis could not be fully understood. Further studies on lignin isolation may help to determine how these changes in lignin chemistry by NaOH impact cellulolytic enzymes.

  11. Effect of Removal of Woody Biomass after Clearcutting and Intercropping Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum with Loblolly Pine (Pinus taeda on Rodent Diversity and Populations

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Matthew M. Marshall

    2012-01-01

    Full Text Available Plant-based feedstocks have long been considered viable, potential sources for biofuels. However, concerns regarding production effects may outweigh gains like carbon savings. Additional information is needed to understand environmental effects of growing feedstocks, including effects on wildlife communities and populations. We used a randomized and replicated experimental design to examine initial effects of biofuel feedstock treatment options, including removal of woody biomass after clearcutting and intercropping switchgrass (Panicum virgatum, on rodents to 2 years post-treatment in regenerating pine plantations in North Carolina, USA. Rodent community composition did not change with switchgrass production or residual biomass removal treatments. Further, residual biomass removal had no influence on rodent population abundances. However, Peromyscus leucopus was found in the greatest abundance and had the greatest survival in treatments without switchgrass. In contrast, abundance of invasive Mus musculus was greatest in switchgrass treatments. Other native species, such as Sigmodon hispidus, were not influenced by the presence of switchgrass. Our results suggest that planting of switchgrass, but not biomass removal, had species-specific effects on rodents at least 2 years post-planting in an intensively managed southern pine system. Determining ecological mechanisms underlying our observed species associations with switchgrass will be integral for understanding long-term sustainability of biofuels production in southern pine forest.

  12. Alfalfa (Medicago sativa L. overseeding on mature switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L. stand: biomass yield and nutritive value after the establishment year

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Alberto Mantino

    2016-08-01

    Full Text Available Perennial crops can positively act on the environment providing a better inter-annual protection of soil cover from water erosion, limiting soil fertility degradation, the risk of nutrient leaching and the exploitation of water for irrigation. Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L., a warm-season grass native from North America, has been cultivated for decades as forage crop and only recently as bioenergy crop. Even if several studies reported a positive effect of nitrogen (N supply on switchgrass yield and quality, potential indirect and direct environmental risks (e.g., eutrophication and greenhouse gas emission are related to this practice. For this reason grass-legume intercropping can represent a sustainable practice able to increase biomass yield and quality, and at the same time to improve N use efficiency, soil structure and fertility. Based on this, the aim of this study was to evaluate the suitability of switchgrass to Mediterranean environment as forage crop and to improve biomass yield and its nutritional value by intercropping with alfalfa (Medicago sativa L. During spring 2013, in two switchgrass pure stands (varieties Alamo and Blackwell, respectively, alfalfa was established through direct seeding implementing a split-plot experimental design. Our first year results report a positive effect of the intercropping in increasing the total annual yield of the stand, of about 20% with respect to the pure switchgrass stand. However, the presence of alfalfa negatively affected switchgrass yield in the mixture. In both varieties, the crude protein content was higher in the mixture than in the pure switchgrass stands. Conversely, the neutral detergent fibre content in the mixture was lower than in pure switchgrass. Then, our results show that switchgrass-alfalfa intercropping leads to increase the profitability of grassland-based livestock production.

  13. Evaluation of biogas production potential by dry anaerobic digestion of switchgrass--animal manure mixtures.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ahn, H K; Smith, M C; Kondrad, S L; White, J W

    2010-02-01

    Anaerobic digestion is a biological method used to convert organic wastes into a stable product for land application with reduced environmental impacts. The biogas produced can be used as an alternative renewable energy source. Dry anaerobic digestion [>15% total solid (TS)] has an advantage over wet digestion (produces a fertilizer that is easier to transport. Performance of anaerobic digestion of animal manure-switchgrass mixture was evaluated under dry (15% TS) and thermophilic conditions (55 degrees C). Three different mixtures of animal manure (swine, poultry, and dairy) and switchgrass were digested using batch-operated 1-L reactors. The swine manure test units showed 52.9% volatile solids (VS) removal during the 62-day trial, while dairy and poultry manure test units showed 9.3% and 20.2%, respectively. Over the 62 day digestion, the swine manure test units yielded the highest amount of methane 0.337 L CH4/g VS, while the dairy and poultry manure test units showed very poor methane yield 0.028 L CH4/g VS and 0.002 L CH4/g VS, respectively. Although dairy and poultry manure performed poorly, they may still have high potential as biomass for dry anaerobic digestion if appropriate designs are developed to prevent significant volatile fatty acid (VFA) accumulation and pH drop.

  14. Biomass production by fescue and switchgrass alone and in mixed swards with legumes. Final project report

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Collins, M. [Univ. of Kentucky, Lexington, KY (United States). Univ. of Agronomy

    1994-06-01

    In assessing the role of biomass in alleviating potential global warming, the absence of information on the sustainability of biomass production on soils of limited agricultural potential is cited as a major constraint to the assessment of the role of biomass. Research on the sustainability of yields, recycling of nutrients, and emphasis on reduced inputs of agricultural chemicals in the production of biomass are among the critical research needs to clarify optimum cropping practice in biomass production. Two field experiments were conducted between 1989 and 1993. One study evaluated biomass production and composition of switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.) grown alone and with bigflower vetch (Vicia grandiflora L.) and the other assessed biomass productivity and composition of tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea Schreb.) grown alone and with perennial legumes. Switchgrass received 0, 75 or 150 kg ha{sup {minus}1} of N annually as NH{sub 4}NO{sub 3} or was interseeded with vetch. Tall fescue received 0, 75, 150 or 225 kg ha{sup {minus}1} of N annually or was interseeded with alfalfa (Medicago L.) or birdsfoot trefoil (Lotus corniculatus L.). It is hoped that production systems can be designed to produce high yields of biomass with minimal inputs of fertilizer N. Achievement of this goal would reduce the potential for movement of NO{sub 3} and other undesirable N forms outside the biomass production system into the environment. In addition, management systems involving legumes could reduce the cost of biomass production.

  15. Life Cycle Assessment of Switchgrass Cellulosic Ethanol Production in the Wisconsin and Michigan Agricultural Contexts

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Sinistore, Julie C.; Reinemann, D. J.; Izaurralde, Roberto C.; Cronin, Keith R.; Meier, Paul J.; Runge, Troy M.; Zhang, Xuesong

    2015-04-25

    Spatial variability in yields and greenhouse gas emissions from soils has been identified as a key source of variability in life cycle assessments (LCAs) of agricultural products such as cellulosic ethanol. This study aims to conduct an LCA of cellulosic ethanol production from switchgrass in a way that captures this spatial variability and tests results for sensitivity to using spatially averaged results. The Environment Policy Integrated Climate (EPIC) model was used to calculate switchgrass yields, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and nitrogen and phosphorus emissions from crop production in southern Wisconsin and Michigan at the watershed scale. These data were combined with cellulosic ethanol production data via ammonia fiber expansion and dilute acid pretreatment methods and region-specific electricity production data into an LCA model of eight ethanol production scenarios. Standard deviations from the spatial mean yields and soil emissions were used to test the sensitivity of net energy ratio, global warming potential intensity, and eutrophication and acidification potential metrics to spatial variability. Substantial variation in the eutrophication potential was also observed when nitrogen and phosphorus emissions from soils were varied. This work illustrates the need for spatially explicit agricultural production data in the LCA of biofuels and other agricultural products.

  16. Genome-size Variation in Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum: Flow Cytometry and Cytology Reveal Rampant Aneuploidy

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Denise E. Costich

    2010-11-01

    Full Text Available Switchgrass ( L., a native perennial dominant of the prairies of North America, has been targeted as a model herbaceous species for biofeedstock development. A flow-cytometric survey of a core set of 11 primarily upland polyploid switchgrass accessions indicated that there was considerable variation in genome size within each accession, particularly at the octoploid (2 = 8 = 72 chromosome ploidy level. Highly variable chromosome counts in mitotic cell preparations indicated that aneuploidy was more common in octoploids (86.3% than tetraploids (23.2%. Furthermore, the incidence of hyper- versus hypoaneuploidy is equivalent in tetraploids. This is clearly not the case in octoploids, where close to 90% of the aneuploid counts are lower than the euploid number. Cytogenetic investigation using fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH revealed an unexpected degree of variation in chromosome structure underlying the apparent genomic instability of this species. These results indicate that rapid advances in the breeding of polyploid biofuel feedstocks, based on the molecular-genetic dissection of biomass characteristics and yield, will be predicated on the continual improvement of our understanding of the cytogenetics of these species.

  17. The Genetic Basis of Upland/Lowland Ecotype Divergence in Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Elizabeth R. Milano

    2016-11-01

    Full Text Available The evolution of locally adapted ecotypes is a common phenomenon that generates diversity within plant species. However, we know surprisingly little about the genetic mechanisms underlying the locally adapted traits involved in ecotype formation. The genetic architecture underlying locally adapted traits dictates how an organism will respond to environmental selection pressures, and has major implications for evolutionary ecology, conservation, and crop breeding. To understand the genetic architecture underlying the divergence of switchgrass (Panicum virgatum ecotypes, we constructed a genetic mapping population through a four-way outbred cross between two northern upland and two southern lowland accessions. Trait segregation in this mapping population was largely consistent with multiple independent loci controlling the suite of traits that characterizes ecotype divergence. We assembled a joint linkage map using ddRADseq, and mapped quantitative trait loci (QTL for traits that are divergent between ecotypes, including flowering time, plant size, physiological processes, and disease resistance. Overall, we found that most QTL had small to intermediate effects. While we identified colocalizing QTL for multiple traits, we did not find any large-effect QTL that clearly controlled multiple traits through pleiotropy or tight physical linkage. These results indicate that ecologically important traits in switchgrass have a complex genetic basis, and that similar loci may underlie divergence across the geographic range of the ecotypes.

  18. The Genetic Basis of Upland/Lowland Ecotype Divergence in Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Milano, Elizabeth R.; Lowry, David B.; Juenger, Thomas E.

    2016-01-01

    The evolution of locally adapted ecotypes is a common phenomenon that generates diversity within plant species. However, we know surprisingly little about the genetic mechanisms underlying the locally adapted traits involved in ecotype formation. The genetic architecture underlying locally adapted traits dictates how an organism will respond to environmental selection pressures, and has major implications for evolutionary ecology, conservation, and crop breeding. To understand the genetic architecture underlying the divergence of switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) ecotypes, we constructed a genetic mapping population through a four-way outbred cross between two northern upland and two southern lowland accessions. Trait segregation in this mapping population was largely consistent with multiple independent loci controlling the suite of traits that characterizes ecotype divergence. We assembled a joint linkage map using ddRADseq, and mapped quantitative trait loci (QTL) for traits that are divergent between ecotypes, including flowering time, plant size, physiological processes, and disease resistance. Overall, we found that most QTL had small to intermediate effects. While we identified colocalizing QTL for multiple traits, we did not find any large-effect QTL that clearly controlled multiple traits through pleiotropy or tight physical linkage. These results indicate that ecologically important traits in switchgrass have a complex genetic basis, and that similar loci may underlie divergence across the geographic range of the ecotypes. PMID:27613751

  19. Reversal of dormancy in switchgrass with low-light photoperiod extension.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Van Esbroeck, G A; Hussey, M A; Sanderson, M A

    2004-01-01

    Some switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.) cultivars originating in the northern USA show limited late-summer and fall growth when grown in more southerly locations despite adequate temperature and moisture. Our objective was to determine the effects of low-light photoperiod extension on the dry matter yield of switchgrass cultivars originating from contrasting latitudes. Seedlings of the four cultivars (Cave-in-Rock, 'Caddo', 'Kanlow', and 'Alamo') were grown for 100 d in a greenhouse in winter under ambient (11.2-12.2 h) and extended (18 h) photoperiods. Photoperiod extension was with 7 micromol m(-2) s(-1) photosynthetic photon flux density. Cultivars responded differently to photoperiod extension (Pphotoperiods were observed in Cave-in-Rock (+98%) and Caddo (+129%). The dry matter yield of Kanlow increased by 31%, whereas dry matter yield of the southernmost cultivar Alamo was not affected by photoperiod extension. Yield increases for Cave-in-Rock and Caddo were associated with increased tiller number and weight. A reversal of dormancy for some cultivars with a photoperiodic signal verified that dormancy was not simply a result of a low radiant input.

  20. Industrial hemp as a potential bioenergy crop in comparison with kenaf, switchgrass and biomass sorghum.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Das, Lalitendu; Liu, Enshi; Saeed, Areej; Williams, David W; Hu, Hongqiang; Li, Chenlin; Ray, Allison E; Shi, Jian

    2017-11-01

    This study takes combined field trial, lab experiment, and economic analysis approaches to evaluate the potential of industrial hemp in comparison with kenaf, switchgrass and biomass sorghum. Agronomy data suggest that the per hectare yield (5437kg) of industrial hemp stem alone was at a similar level with switchgrass and sorghum; while the hemp plants require reduced inputs. Field trial also showed that ∼1230kg/ha hemp grain can be harvested in addition to stems. Results show a predicted ethanol yield of ∼82gallons/dry ton hemp stems, which is comparable to the other three tested feedstocks. A comparative cost analysis indicates that industrial hemp could generate higher per hectare gross profit than the other crops if both hemp grains and biofuels from hemp stem were counted. These combined evaluation results demonstrate that industrial hemp has great potential to become a promising regional commodity crop for producing both biofuels and value-added products. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  1. Bio-remediation of Pb and Cd polluted soils by switchgrass: A case study in India.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Arora, Kalpana; Sharma, Satyawati; Monti, Andrea

    2016-01-01

    In the present study bioremediation potential of a high biomass yielding grass, Panicum virgatum (switchgrass), along with plant associated microbes (AM fungi and Azospirillum), was tested against lead and cadmium in pot trials. A pot trial was set up in order to evaluate bioremediation efficiency of P. virgatum in association with PAMs (Plant Associated Microbes). Growth parameters and bioremediation potential of endomycorrhizal fungi (AMF) and Azospirillum against different concentrations of Pb and Cd were compared. AM fungi and Azospirillum increased the root length, branches, surface area, and root and shoot biomass. The soil pH was found towards neutral with AMF and Azospirillum inoculations. The bioconcentration factor (BCF) for Pb (12 mg kg(-1)) and Cd (10 mg kg(-1)) were found to be 0.25 and 0.23 respectively and translocation index (Ti) was 17.8 and 16.7 respectively (approx 45% higher than control). The lower values of BCF and Ti, even at highest concentration of Pb and Cd, revealed the capability of switchgrass of accumulating high concentration of Pb and Cd in the roots, while preventing the translocation of Pb and Cd to aerial biomass.

  2. Induced Phytoextraction of Lead Through Chemical Manipulation of Switchgrass and Corn; Role of Iron Supplement.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Johnson, Deayne M; Deocampo, Daniel M; El-Mayas, Hanan; Greipsson, Sigurdur

    2015-01-01

    The effects of combined chemical application of benomyl, ethylenedianinetetraacetate (EDTA), and iron (Fe) (foliar and root) on lead (Pb) phytoextraction by switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) and corn (Zea mays) was examined. Switchgrass was grown in Pb-contaminated urban topsoil with the following treatments: (C) Control, (B) benomyl, (E) EDTA, (F) foliar-Fe, (BE) benomyl + EDTA, (BF) benomyl + foliar-Fe, (FE) foliar-Fe + EDTA, (BFE) benomyl + foliar-Fe + EDTA. Corn was grown in sand-culture supplemented with Pb (500 mg kg(-1)) with the following treatments: (C) control, (B) benomyl, (E) EDTA, (F) root-Fe, (BE) benomyl + EDTA, (BF) benomyl + root-Fe, (FE) root-iron + EDTA, and, (BFE) benomyl + root-Fe + EDTA. All treatments were replicated three times and pots were arranged in a completely randomized design. Plants were analyzed for element concentration (Fe, Zn, P, and Pb) using either inductively coupled plasma (argon) atomic emission spectroscopy (ICP-AES) or graphite furnace atomic absorption spectrometer. Iron supplementation (foliar and root) affected Pb-translocation in plants. Foliar-Fe treatment increased translocation ratio of Pb (TF-Pb) significantly compared to other treatments with the exception of plants treated with benomyl and BF. Root-Fe treatment in combination with EDTA (FE) increased TF-Pb significantly compared to other treatments. Phytoextraction was improved by the combined chemical application; plants treated with BFE treatment increased Pb-total-phytoextraction by 424% compared to Control plants.

  3. Factors affecting polyhydroxybutyrate accumulation in mesophyll cells of sugarcane and switchgrass

    Science.gov (United States)

    2014-01-01

    Background Polyhydroxyalkanoates are linear biodegradable polyesters produced by bacteria as a carbon store and used to produce a range of bioplastics. Widespread polyhydroxyalkanoate production in C4 crops would decrease petroleum dependency by producing a renewable supply of biodegradable plastics along with residual biomass that could be converted into biofuels or energy. Increasing yields to commercial levels in biomass crops however remains a challenge. Previously, lower accumulation levels of the short side chain polyhydroxyalkanoate, polyhydroxybutyrate (PHB), were observed in the chloroplasts of mesophyll (M) cells compared to bundle sheath (BS) cells in transgenic maize (Zea mays), sugarcane (Saccharum sp.), and switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.) leading to a significant decrease in the theoretical yield potential. Here we explore various factors which might affect polymer accumulation in mesophyll cells, including targeting of the PHB pathway enzymes to the mesophyll plastid and their access to substrate. Results The small subunit of Rubisco from pea effectively targeted the PHB biosynthesis enzymes to both M and BS chloroplasts of sugarcane and switchgrass. PHB enzyme activity was retained following targeting to M plastids and was equivalent to that found in the BS plastids. Leaf total fatty acid content was not affected by PHB production. However, when fatty acid synthesis was chemically inhibited, polymer accumulated in M cells. Conclusions In this study, we provide evidence that access to substrate and neither poor targeting nor insufficient activity of the PHB biosynthetic enzymes may be the limiting factor for polymer production in mesophyll chloroplasts of C4 plants. PMID:25209261

  4. Inside out: high-efficiency plant regeneration and Agrobacterium-mediated transformation of upland and lowland switchgrass cultivars.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Liu, Yan-Rong; Cen, Hui-Fang; Yan, Jian-Ping; Zhang, Yun-Wei; Zhang, Wan-Jun

    2015-07-01

    Selection of pre-embryogenic callus from a core structure from mature seed-derived callus is the key for high-efficiency plant regeneration and transformation of switchgrass different cultivars. Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.) has been identified as a dedicated biofuel crop. For its trait improvement through biotechnological approaches, we have developed a highly efficient plant regeneration and genetic transformation protocol for both lowland and upland cultivars. We identified and separated a pre-embryogenic "core" structure from the seed-derived callus, which often leads to development of highly regenerative type II calluses. From the type II callus, plant regeneration rate of lowland cultivars Alamo and Performer reaches 95%, and upland cultivars Blackwell and Dacotah, 50 and 76%, respectively. The type II callus was also amenable for Agrobacterium-mediated transformation. Transformation efficiency of 72.8% was achieved for lowland cultivar Alamo, and 8.0% for upland cultivar Dacotah. PCR, Southern blot and GUS staining assays were performed to verify the transgenic events. High regenerative callus lines could be established in 3 months, and transgenic plants could be obtained in 2 months after Agrobacterium infection. To our knowledge, this is the first report on successful plant regeneration and recovery of transgenic plants from upland switchgrass cultivars by Agrobacterium-mediated transformation. The method presented here could be helpful in breaking through the bottleneck of regeneration and transformation of lowland and upland switchgrass cultivars and probably other recalcitrant grass crops.

  5. The economical and environmental performance of miscanthus and switchgrass production and supply chains in a European setting

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Smeets, E.M.W.|info:eu-repo/dai/nl/311445217; Lewandowski, I.M.; Faaij, A.P.C.|info:eu-repo/dai/nl/10685903X

    2009-01-01

    The purpose of this study is to analyse the economical and environmental performance of switchgrass and miscanthus production and supply chains in the European Union (EU25), for the years 2004 and 2030. The environmental performance refers to the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, the primary fossil

  6. Greenhouse gas fluxes and root productivity in a switchgrass and loblolly pine intercropping system for bioenergy production

    Science.gov (United States)

    Paliza Shrestha; John R. Seiler; Brian D. Strahm; Eric B. Sucre; Zakiya H. Leggett

    2015-01-01

    This study is part of a larger collaborative effort to determine the overall environmental sustainability of intercropping pine (Pinus taeda L.) and switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.), both of which are promising feedstock for bioenergy production in the Lower Coastal Plain in North Carolina.

  7. Economic potential for switchgrass production in the U.S. Northern Plains: A minimum-data analysis

    Science.gov (United States)

    There is a demand for timely information to support policy decision making. There is also interest in the potential for alternative crops such as switchgrass to be used for ethanol production and which would have a positive impact on net greenhouse gas emission. This paper uses a new minimum-data mo...

  8. Identification and overexpression of a Knotted1-like transcription factor in switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L. for lignocellulosic feedstock improvement

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Wegi eWuddineh

    2016-04-01

    Full Text Available High biomass production and wide adaptation has made switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L. an important candidate lignocellulosic bioenergy crop. One major limitation of this and other lignocellulosic feedstocks is the recalcitrance of complex carbohydrates to hydrolysis for conversion to biofuels. Lignin is the major contributor to recalcitrance as it limits the accessibility of cell wall carbohydrates to enzymatic breakdown into fermentable sugars. Therefore, genetic manipulation of the lignin biosynthesis pathway is one strategy to reduce recalcitrance. Here, we identified a switchgrass Knotted1 transcription factor, PvKN1, with the aim of genetically engineering switchgrass for reduced biomass recalcitrance for biofuel production. Gene expression of the endogenous PvKN1 gene was observed to be highest in young inflorescences and stems. Ectopic overexpression of PvKN1 in switchgrass altered growth, especially in early developmental stages. Transgenic lines had reduced expression of most lignin biosynthetic genes accompanied by a reduction in lignin content suggesting the involvement of PvKN1 in the broad regulation of the lignin biosynthesis pathway. Moreover, the reduced expression of the Gibberellin 20-oxidase (GA20ox gene in tandem with the increased expression of Gibberellin 2-oxidase (GA2ox genes in transgenic PvKN1 lines suggest that PvKN1 may exert regulatory effects via modulation of GA signalling. Furthermore, overexpression of PvKN1 altered the expression of cellulose and hemicellulose biosynthetic genes and increased sugar release efficiency in transgenic lines. Our results demonstrated that switchgrass PvKN1 is a putative ortholog of maize KN1 that is linked to plant lignification and cell wall and development traits as a major regulatory gene. Therefore, targeted overexpression of PvKN1 in bioenergy feedstocks may provide one feasible strategy for reducing biomass recalcitrance and simultaneously improving plant growth characteristics.

  9. Functional Characterization of NAC and MYB Transcription Factors Involved in Regulation of Biomass Production in Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ruiqin Zhong

    Full Text Available Switchgrass is a promising biofuel feedstock due to its high biomass production and low agronomic input requirements. Because the bulk of switchgrass biomass used for biofuel production is lignocellulosic secondary walls, studies on secondary wall biosynthesis and its transcriptional regulation are imperative for designing strategies for genetic improvement of biomass production in switchgrass. Here, we report the identification and functional characterization of a group of switchgrass transcription factors, including several NACs (PvSWNs and a MYB (PvMYB46A, for their involvement in regulating secondary wall biosynthesis. PvSWNs and PvMYB46A were found to be highly expressed in stems and their expression was closely associated with sclerenchyma cells. Overexpression of PvSWNs and PvMYB46A in Arabidopsis was shown to result in activation of the biosynthetic genes for cellulose, xylan and lignin and ectopic deposition of secondary walls in normally parenchymatous cells. Transactivation and complementation studies demonstrated that PvSWNs were able to activate the SNBE-driven GUS reporter gene and effectively rescue the secondary wall defects in the Arabidopsis snd1 nst1 double mutant, indicating that they are functional orthologs of Arabidopsis SWNs. Furthermore, we showed that PvMYB46A could activate the SMRE-driven GUS reporter gene and complement the Arabidopsis myb46 myb83 double mutant, suggesting that it is a functional ortholog of Arabidopsis MYB46/MYB83. Together, these results indicate that PvSWNs and PvMYB46A are transcriptional switches involved in regulating secondary wall biosynthesis, which provides molecular tools for genetic manipulation of biomass production in switchgrass.

  10. Functional Characterization of NAC and MYB Transcription Factors Involved in Regulation of Biomass Production in Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhong, Ruiqin; Yuan, Youxi; Spiekerman, John J; Guley, Joshua T; Egbosiuba, Janefrances C; Ye, Zheng-Hua

    2015-01-01

    Switchgrass is a promising biofuel feedstock due to its high biomass production and low agronomic input requirements. Because the bulk of switchgrass biomass used for biofuel production is lignocellulosic secondary walls, studies on secondary wall biosynthesis and its transcriptional regulation are imperative for designing strategies for genetic improvement of biomass production in switchgrass. Here, we report the identification and functional characterization of a group of switchgrass transcription factors, including several NACs (PvSWNs) and a MYB (PvMYB46A), for their involvement in regulating secondary wall biosynthesis. PvSWNs and PvMYB46A were found to be highly expressed in stems and their expression was closely associated with sclerenchyma cells. Overexpression of PvSWNs and PvMYB46A in Arabidopsis was shown to result in activation of the biosynthetic genes for cellulose, xylan and lignin and ectopic deposition of secondary walls in normally parenchymatous cells. Transactivation and complementation studies demonstrated that PvSWNs were able to activate the SNBE-driven GUS reporter gene and effectively rescue the secondary wall defects in the Arabidopsis snd1 nst1 double mutant, indicating that they are functional orthologs of Arabidopsis SWNs. Furthermore, we showed that PvMYB46A could activate the SMRE-driven GUS reporter gene and complement the Arabidopsis myb46 myb83 double mutant, suggesting that it is a functional ortholog of Arabidopsis MYB46/MYB83. Together, these results indicate that PvSWNs and PvMYB46A are transcriptional switches involved in regulating secondary wall biosynthesis, which provides molecular tools for genetic manipulation of biomass production in switchgrass.

  11. Soil respiration, microbial biomass and exoenzyme activity in switchgrass stands under nitrogen fertilization management and climate warming.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jian, S.; Li, J.; de Koff, J.; Celada, S.; Mayes, M. A.; Wang, G.; Guo, C.

    2016-12-01

    Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.), as a model bioenergy crop, received nitrogen fertilizers for increasing its biomass yields. Studies rarely investigate the interactive effects of nitrogen fertilization and climate warming on soil microbial activity and carbon cycling in switchgrass cropping systems. Enhanced nitrogen availability under fertilization can alter rates of soil organic matter decomposition and soil carbon emissions to the atmosphere and thus have an effect on climate change. Here, we assess soil CO2 emission, microbial biomass and exoenzyme activities in two switchgrass stands with no fertilizer and 60 lbs N / acre. Soils were incubated at 15 ºC and 20 ºC for 180-day. Dry switchgrass plant materials were added to incubation jars and the 13C stable isotopic probing technique was used to monitor soil CO2 respiration derived from relatively labile litter and indigenous soil. Measurements of respiration, δ13C of respiration, microbial biomass carbon and exoenzyme activity were performed on days 1, 5, 10, 15, 30, 60, 90, 120, 150 and 180. Soil respiration rate was greater in the samples incubated at 20 ºC as compared to those incubated at 15 ºC. Exoenzyme activities were significantly altered by warming, litter addition and nitrogen fertilization. There was a significant interactive effect of nitrogen fertilization and warming on the proportion of CO2 respired from soils such that nitrogen fertilization enhanced warming-induced increase by 12.0% (Pmineralization. Fertilization increased soil microbial biomass carbon at both temperatures (9.0% at 15 ºC and 14.5% at 20 ºC). Our preliminary analysis suggested that warming effects on enhanced soil respiration can be further increased with elevated fertilizer input via greater microbial biomass and exoenzyme activity. In addition to greater biomass yield under N fertilization, this study informs potential soil carbon loss from stimulated soil respiration under nitrogen fertilization and warming in

  12. Anaerobic decomposition of switchgrass by tropical soil-derived feedstock-adapted consortia.

    Science.gov (United States)

    DeAngelis, Kristen M; Fortney, Julian L; Borglin, Sharon; Silver, Whendee L; Simmons, Blake A; Hazen, Terry C

    2012-01-01

    Tropical forest soils decompose litter rapidly with frequent episodes of anoxic conditions, making it likely that bacteria using alternate terminal electron acceptors (TEAs) play a large role in decomposition. This makes these soils useful templates for improving biofuel production. To investigate how TEAs affect decomposition, we cultivated feedstock-adapted consortia (FACs) derived from two tropical forest soils collected from the ends of a rainfall gradient: organic matter-rich tropical cloud forest (CF) soils, which experience sustained low redox, and iron-rich tropical rain forest (RF) soils, which experience rapidly fluctuating redox. Communities were anaerobically passed through three transfers of 10 weeks each with switchgrass as a sole carbon (C) source; FACs were then amended with nitrate, sulfate, or iron oxide. C mineralization and cellulase activities were higher in CF-FACs than in RF-FACs. Pyrosequencing of the small-subunit rRNA revealed members of the Firmicutes, Bacteroidetes, and Alphaproteobacteria as dominant. RF- and CF-FAC communities were not different in microbial diversity or biomass. The RF-FACs, derived from fluctuating redox soils, were the most responsive to the addition of TEAs, while the CF-FACs were overall more efficient and productive, both on a per-gram switchgrass and a per-cell biomass basis. These results suggest that decomposing microbial communities in fluctuating redox environments are adapted to the presence of a diversity of TEAs and ready to take advantage of them. More importantly, these data highlight the role of local environmental conditions in shaping microbial community function that may be separate from phylogenetic structure. After multiple transfers, we established microbial consortia derived from two tropical forest soils with different native redox conditions. Communities derived from the rapidly fluctuating redox environment maintained a capacity to use added terminal electron acceptors (TEAs) after multiple

  13. Economic assessment of short-rotation forestry and switchgrass plantations for energy production in central Canada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Girouard, P.; Samson, R.; Henning, J. C.

    1996-01-01

    A joint research program between Resource Efficient Agricultural Production (REAP)-Canada and McGill University to determine which factors are limiting biomass productivity and cost-effectiveness for various biomass crops was described, focusing on the two main crops investigated, namely willow trees (Salix spp>) and switchgrass (Panicum virgatum), a perennial grass. Estimates of the cost of growing both crops in Central Canada, based on quasi-commercial size plots, were given. The advantages and disadvantages of each crop as an energy source were discussed. It was suggested that in addition to the energy sector, other markets, such as papermaking, should be investigated to achieve the full potential of these new crops. 6 refs., 2 tabs., 5 figs

  14. Evaluation of the bioconversion of genetically modified switchgrass using simultaneous saccharification and fermentation and a consolidated bioprocessing approach

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Yee Kelsey L

    2012-11-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background The inherent recalcitrance of lignocellulosic biomass is one of the major economic hurdles for the production of fuels and chemicals from biomass. Additionally, lignin is recognized as having a negative impact on enzymatic hydrolysis of biomass, and as a result much interest has been placed on modifying the lignin pathway to improve bioconversion of lignocellulosic feedstocks. Results Down-regulation of the caffeic acid 3-O-methyltransferase (COMT gene in the lignin pathway yielded switchgrass (Panicum virgatum that was more susceptible to bioconversion after dilute acid pretreatment. Here we examined the response of these plant lines to milder pretreatment conditions with yeast-based simultaneous saccharification and fermentation and a consolidated bioprocessing approach using Clostridium thermocellum, Caldicellulosiruptor bescii and Caldicellulosiruptor obsidiansis. Unlike the S. cerevisiae SSF conversions, fermentations of pretreated transgenic switchgrass with C. thermocellum showed an apparent inhibition of fermentation not observed in the wild-type switchgrass. This inhibition can be eliminated by hot water extraction of the pretreated biomass, which resulted in superior conversion yield with transgenic versus wild-type switchgrass for C. thermocellum, exceeding the yeast-based SSF yield. Further fermentation evaluation of the transgenic switchgrass indicated differential inhibition for the Caldicellulosiruptor sp. strains, which could not be rectified by additional processing conditions. Gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (GC-MS metabolite profiling was used to examine the fermentation broth to elucidate the relative abundance of lignin derived aromatic compounds. The types and abundance of fermentation-derived-lignin constituents varied between C. thermocellum and each of the Caldicellulosiruptor sp. strains. Conclusions The down-regulation of the COMT gene improves the bioconversion of switchgrass relative to the

  15. Comparative Genomics in Switchgrass Using 61,585 High-Quality Expressed Sequence Tags

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Christian M. Tobias

    2008-11-01

    Full Text Available The development of genomic resources for switchgrass ( L., a perennial NAD-malic enzyme type C grass, is required to enable molecular breeding and biotechnological approaches for improving its value as a forage and bioenergy crop. Expressed sequence tag (EST sequencing is one method that can quickly sample gene inventories and produce data suitable for marker development or analysis of tissue-specific patterns of expression. Toward this goal, three cDNA libraries from callus, crown, and seedling tissues of ‘Kanlow’ switchgrass were end-sequenced to generate a total of 61,585 high-quality ESTs from 36,565 separate clones. Seventy-three percent of the assembled consensus sequences could be aligned with the sorghum [ (L. Moench] genome at a -value of <1 × 10, indicating a high degree of similarity. Sixty-five percent of the ESTs matched with gene ontology molecular terms, and 3.3% of the sequences were matched with genes that play potential roles in cell-wall biogenesis. The representation in the three libraries of gene families known to be associated with C photosynthesis, cellulose and β-glucan synthesis, phenylpropanoid biosynthesis, and peroxidase activity indicated likely roles for individual family members. Pairwise comparisons of synonymous codon substitutions were used to assess genome sequence diversity and indicated an overall similarity between the two genome copies present in the tetraploid. Identification of EST–simple sequence repeat markers and amplification on two individual parents of a mapping population yielded an average of 2.18 amplicons per individual, and 35% of the markers produced fragment length polymorphisms.

  16. The Hunt for Green Every April: Factors Affecting Fitness in Switchgrass

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Sarath, Gautam [US Dept. of Agriculture (USDA), Lincoln, NE (United States). Agricultural Research Service (ARS). Wheat, Sorghum and Forage Research

    2014-12-10

    This grant funded work was undertaken to develop fundamental biological knowledge of the factors affecting the complex plant trait “fitness” in switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.), a plant being developed as a biomass crop. Using a diverse range of latitudinally-adapted switchgrass plants, genomic, molecular and physiological studies were performed to track a number of different aspects of plant genetics and physiology over the course of the growing season. Work was performed on both genetically unrelated and genetically related plants. Plants were established in the field from seedlings raised in a greenhouse, or from clones present in other field nurseries. Field grown plants were used as the source of all tissues. The three objectives of this proposal were:(1) Transcript Profiling, Metabolomics, and C and N Partitioning and Recycling in Crowns and Rhizomes of Switchgrass over two growing seasons; (2) Gene Profiling During Regreening and Dormancy of Bulked Segregants; (3) Extent of Linkage Disequilibrium in Populations for Adaptation and Fitness Traits Being Developed for Central and Northern USA, that Show Significant Heterosis. Objective 1 results: Plants were labeled using 13CO2 (a stable isotope) using an acrylic chamber constructed specifically for this purpose. Plants became labeled with 13C and label decayed in aerial tissues over the course of the growing season. Varying amounts of 13C were recovered in the rhizomes. These data are being analyzed. Plants were also labeled with 15N-urea. Plants absorbed significant amounts of label that was remobilized to the growing shoots. N-dynamics would suggest that a portion of the 15N absorbed into the crowns and rhizomes is sequestered below ground. Variable amounts of 15N were translocated from the shoots to the roots over the course of the growing season. Polar metabolites extracted from a diverse array of rhizomes were analyzed using GCMS. Data

  17. Non-targeted Colonization by the Endomycorrhizal Fungus, Serendipita vermifera, in Three Weeds Typically Co-occurring with Switchgrass

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Prasun Ray

    2018-01-01

    Full Text Available Serendipita vermifera (=Sebacina vermifera; isolate MAFF305830 is a mycorrhizal fungus originally isolated from the roots of an Australian orchid that we have previously shown to be beneficial in enhancing biomass yield and drought tolerance in switchgrass, an important bioenergy crop for cellulosic ethanol production in the United States. However, almost nothing is known about how this root-associated fungus proliferates and grows through the soil matrix. Such information is critical to evaluate the possibility of non-target effects, such as unintended spread to weedy plants growing near a colonized switchgrass plant in a field environment. A microcosm experiment was conducted to study movement of vegetative mycelia of S. vermifera between intentionally inoculated switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L. and nearby weeds. We constructed size-exclusion microcosms to test three different common weeds, large crabgrass (Digitaria sanguinalis L., Texas panicum (Panicum texanum L., and Broadleaf signalgrass (Brachiaria platyphylla L., all species that typically co-occur in Southern Oklahoma and potentially compete with switchgrass. We report that such colonization of non-target plants by S. vermifera can indeed occur, seemingly via co-mingled root systems. As a consequence of colonization, significant enhancement of growth was noted in signalgrass, while a mild increase (albeit not significant was evident in crabgrass. Migration of the fungus seems unlikely in root-free bulk soil, as we failed to see transmission when the roots were kept separate. This research is the first documentation of non-targeted colonization of this unique root symbiotic fungus and highlights the need for such assessments prior to deployment of biological organisms in the field.

  18. Life Cycle Costs and Life Cycle Assessment for the Harvesting, Conversion, and the Use of Switchgrass to Produce Electricity

    OpenAIRE

    Lerkkasemsan, Nuttapol; Achenie, Luke E. K.

    2013-01-01

    This paper considers both LCA and LCC of the pyrolysis of switchgrass to use as an energy source in a conventional power plant. The process consists of cultivation, harvesting, transportation, storage, pyrolysis, transportation, and power generation. Here pyrolysis oil is converted to electric power through cocombustion in conventional fossil fuel power plants. Several scenarios are conducted to determine the effect of selected design variables on the production of pyrolysis oil and type of c...

  19. Soil and variety effects on energy use and carbon emissions associated with switchgrass-based ethanol production in Mississippi

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Woli, Prem; Paz, Joel O.; Baldwin, Brian S.; Lang, David J.; Kiniry, James R.

    2012-06-29

    High biomass production potential, wide adaptability, low input requirement, and low environmental risk make switchgrass an economically and ecologically viable energy crop.The inherent variablity in switchgrass productivity due to variations in soil and variety could affect the sustainability and eco-friendliness of switchgrass-based ethanol production. This study examined the soil and variety effects on these variables. Three locations in Mississippi were selected based on latitude and potential acreage. Using ALMANAC, switchgrass biomass yields were simulated for several scenarios of soils and varities. The simulated yields were fed to IBSAL to compute energy use and CO2 emissions in various operations in the biomass supply From the energy and emissions values, the sustainability and eco-friendliness of ethanol production were determined using net energy value (NEV) and carbon credit balance (CCB) as indicators, respectively. Soil and variety effects on NEV and CCB were analyzed using the Kruskal-Wallis test. Results showed significant differences in NEV and CCB across soils and varieties. Both NEV and CCB increased in the direction of heavier to lighter soils and on the order of north-upland , south-upland, north-lowland, and south-lowland varieties. Only north-upland and south-lowland varieties were significantly significantly different because they were different in both cytotype and ecotype. Gaps between lowland and upland varieties were smaller in a dry year than in a wet year. The NEV and CCB increased in the direction of dry to wet year. From south to north, they decreased for lowland cytotypes but increased for upland cytotypes. Thus, the differences among varieties decreased northwards.

  20. Non-targeted Colonization by the Endomycorrhizal Fungus, Serendipita vermifera, in Three Weeds Typically Co-occurring with Switchgrass

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ray, Prasun; Guo, Yingqing; Kolape, Jaydeep; Craven, Kelly D.

    2018-01-01

    Serendipita vermifera (=Sebacina vermifera; isolate MAFF305830) is a mycorrhizal fungus originally isolated from the roots of an Australian orchid that we have previously shown to be beneficial in enhancing biomass yield and drought tolerance in switchgrass, an important bioenergy crop for cellulosic ethanol production in the United States. However, almost nothing is known about how this root-associated fungus proliferates and grows through the soil matrix. Such information is critical to evaluate the possibility of non-target effects, such as unintended spread to weedy plants growing near a colonized switchgrass plant in a field environment. A microcosm experiment was conducted to study movement of vegetative mycelia of S. vermifera between intentionally inoculated switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.) and nearby weeds. We constructed size-exclusion microcosms to test three different common weeds, large crabgrass (Digitaria sanguinalis L.), Texas panicum (Panicum texanum L.), and Broadleaf signalgrass (Brachiaria platyphylla L.), all species that typically co-occur in Southern Oklahoma and potentially compete with switchgrass. We report that such colonization of non-target plants by S. vermifera can indeed occur, seemingly via co-mingled root systems. As a consequence of colonization, significant enhancement of growth was noted in signalgrass, while a mild increase (albeit not significant) was evident in crabgrass. Migration of the fungus seems unlikely in root-free bulk soil, as we failed to see transmission when the roots were kept separate. This research is the first documentation of non-targeted colonization of this unique root symbiotic fungus and highlights the need for such assessments prior to deployment of biological organisms in the field. PMID:29375607

  1. Toxicity of coal fly ash (CFA) and toxicological response of switchgrass in mycorrhiza-mediated CFA-soil admixtures.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Awoyemi, Olushola M; Dzantor, E Kudjo

    2017-10-01

    Increasing support for the use of Coal fly ash (CFA) in agriculture has necessitated a better understanding of the effects of the CFA in various cropping schemes. Experiments were conducted to assess mutagenic response of a mutant strain of Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium (TA100) to varying concentrations of CFA-water extracts, determine oxidative stress in switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.) at varying levels of CFA-soil admixtures, and evaluate mycorrhiza-mediated modulation of oxidative stress responses of CFA-grown switchgrass. The TA100 exposed to 0%, 5%, 10%, 15%, 20% and 25% (w/v) CFA-water extracts elicited significant (p < 0.05) mutagenic responses at 20% and 25% extract levels but not below the 15% level. In greenhouse pot experiment, CFA-soil admixtures at 7.5% and 15% (w/w) significantly (p < 0.05) decreased the activities of superoxide dismutase (SOD) by 19.1% and 28.3% respectively, compared to control soil (0% w/w CFA/soil). Under the same conditions, activities of glutathione peroxidase (GPx) decreased by 75.9% and 66.9%. In contrast to the antioxidant enzyme activities, levels of malondialdehyde (MDA) an indicator of lipid peroxidation increased significantly (p < 0.05) by 30.49% and 38.38%. Inoculation of 7.5% and 15% CFA-soil admixtures with arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF), Rhizophaga clarus enhanced the activities of both SOD and GPx in the switchgrass, while it significantly (p < 0.05) reduced the levels of MDA. The study demonstrated that incorporation of CFA (at concentrations considered to be non-mutagenic against TA100) as soil amendment produced concentration-dependent oxidative stress responses in switchgrass; however, inoculation of the CFA-soil admixtures with AMF significantly modulated the oxidative stress responses. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  2. Identification and characterization of microRNAs and their targets in the bioenergy plant switchgrass (Panicum virgatum).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Xie, Fuliang; Frazier, Taylor P; Zhang, Baohong

    2010-07-01

    MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are a class of non-coding small endogenous RNAs with lengths of approximately 22 nucleotides (nt) that have been shown to regulate gene expression at the post-transcriptional levels by targeting mRNAs for degradation or by inhibiting protein translation. Although thousands of miRNAs have been identified in many species, miRNAs have not yet been identified in switchgrass (Panicum virgatum), one of the most important bioenergy crops in the United States and around the world. In this study, we identified 121 potential switchgrass miRNAs, belonging to 44 families, using a well-defined comparative genome-based computational approach. We also identified miRNA clusters and antisense miRNAs in switchgrass expressed sequences tags. These identified miRNAs potentially target 839 protein-coding genes, which can act as transcription factors, and take part in multiple biological and metabolic processes including sucrose and fat metabolism, signal transduction, stress response, and plant development. Gene ontology (GO) analysis, based on these targets, showed that 527 biological processes were involved. Twenty-five of these processes were demonstrated to participate in the metabolism of carbon, glucose, starch, fatty acid, and lignin and in xylem formation. According to pathway enrichment analysis based on Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG), 118 metabolism networks were found. These networks are involved in sucrose metabolism, fat metabolism, carbon fixation, hormone regulation, oxidative stress response, and the processing of other secondary metabolites.

  3. Model optimization of cadmium and accumulation in switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.): potential use for ecological phytoremediation in Cd-contaminated soils.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wang, Quanzhen; Gu, Muyu; Ma, Xiaomin; Zhang, Hongjuan; Wang, Yafang; Cui, Jian; Gao, Wei; Gui, Jing

    2015-11-01

    Soil pollution with heavy metals is an increasingly serious threat to the environment, food security, and human health. Therefore, it is urgent to develop economic and highly efficient soil restoration technology for environmental improvement; phytoremediation is an option that is safe, has low cost, and is environmentally friendly. However, in selecting hyperaccumulators or tolerant plants, theories and operation technologies for optimal restoration should be satisfied. In this study, the switchgrass growth response and performance of phytoextraction under the coupling effect of Cd and pH were investigated by evaluating seed germination, seedling growth, and the Cd content in the plant to evaluate the potential use of switchgrass as a phytoremediation plant in cadmium contaminated soil. This study conducted three sets of independent experiments with five levels of Cd concentrations, including two orthogonal matrix designs of combining Cd with pH values. The results showed that switchgrass was germinated well under all treatments (Cd concentration of 0-500 μM), but the seedling growth was significantly affected by Cd and pH, as shown by multivariate regression analyses. Hormesis was found during the growth of switchgrass plants exposed to low Cd concentrations under hydroponic conditions, and switchgrass plants were capable of developing with a Cd concentration of 100-175 μM and pH of 4.1-5.9. Mild acidic conditions can enhance the ability of Cd to accumulate in switchgrass. Switchgrass was moderately tolerant to Cd and may be used as a phytoremediation plant for Cd-contaminated soils in the future. Our results also suggest that hormetic effects should be taken into consideration in the phytoremediation of Cd-contaminated soils. We discuss the physiological and biochemical mechanisms contributing to the effective application of the plant for the phytoremediation of Cd-contaminated soils.

  4. Deciphering Natural Allelic Variation in Switchgrass for Biomass Yield and Quality Using a Nested Association Mapping Population

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Saha, Malay C. [The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation, Inc., Ardmore, OK (United States). Forage Improvement Division (FID); Brummer, E. Charles [The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation, Inc., Ardmore, OK (United States); Kaeppler, Shawn [Univ. of Wisconsin, Madison, WI (United States); Bhandari, Hem S. [Univ. of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN (United States)

    2016-10-28

    Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.) is a C4 grass with high biomass yield potential and a model species for bioenergy feedstock development. Understanding the genetic basis of quantitative traits is essential to facilitate genome-enabled breeding programs. The nested association mapping (NAM) analysis combines the best features of both bi-parental and association analyses and can provide high power and high resolution in QTL detection and will ensure significant improvements in biomass yield and quality. To develop a NAM population of switchgrass, 15 highly diverse genotypes with specific characteristics were selected from a diversity panel and crossed to a recurrent parent, AP13, a genotype selected for whole genome sequencing and parent of a mapping population. Ten genotypes from each of the 15 F1 families were then chain crossed. Progenies form each family were randomly selected to develop the NAM population. The switchgrass NAM population consists of a total of 2000 genotypes from 15 families. All the progenies, founder parents, F1 parents (n=2350) were evaluated in replicated field trials at Ardmore, OK and Knoxville, TN. Phenotypic data on plant height, tillering ability, regrowth, flowering time, and biomass yield were collected. Dried biomass samples were also analyzed using prediction equations of NIRS at the Noble Foundation and for lignin content, S/G ratio, and sugar release characteristics at the NREL. Genomic shotgun sequencing of 15 switchgrass NAM founder parental genomes at JGI produced 28-66 Gb high-quality sequence data. Alignment of these sequences with the reference genome, AP13 (v3.0), revealed that up to 99% of the genomic sequences mapped to the reference genome. A total of 2,149 individuals from NAM populations were sequenced by exome capture and two sets of 15 SNP matrices (one for each family) were generated. QTL associated with important traits have been identified and verified in breeding populations. The QTL detected and their associated

  5. Down-regulation of the caffeic acid O-methyltransferase gene in switchgrass reveals a novel monolignol analog

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Tschaplinski Timothy J

    2012-09-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background Down-regulation of the caffeic acid 3-O-methyltransferase EC 2.1.1.68 (COMT gene in the lignin biosynthetic pathway of switchgrass (Panicum virgatum resulted in cell walls of transgenic plants releasing more constituent sugars after pretreatment by dilute acid and treatment with glycosyl hydrolases from an added enzyme preparation and from Clostridium thermocellum. Fermentation of both wild-type and transgenic switchgrass after milder hot water pretreatment with no water washing showed that only the transgenic switchgrass inhibited C. thermocellum. Gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (GCMS-based metabolomics were undertaken on cell wall aqueous extracts to determine the nature of the microbial inhibitors. Results GCMS confirmed the increased concentration of a number of phenolic acids and aldehydes that are known inhibitors of microbial fermentation. Metabolomic analyses of the transgenic biomass additionally revealed the presence of a novel monolignol-like metabolite, identified as trans-3, 4-dimethoxy-5-hydroxycinnamyl alcohol (iso-sinapyl alcohol in both non-pretreated, as well as hot water pretreated samples. iso-Sinapyl alcohol and its glucoside were subsequently generated by organic synthesis and the identity of natural and synthetic materials were confirmed by mass spectrometric and NMR analyses. The additional novel presence of iso-sinapic acid, iso-sinapyl aldehyde, and iso-syringin suggest the increased activity of a para-methyltransferase, concomitant with the reduced COMT activity, a strict meta-methyltransferase. Quantum chemical calculations were used to predict the most likely homodimeric lignans generated from dehydration reactions, but these products were not evident in plant samples. Conclusions Down-regulation of COMT activity in switchgrass resulted in the accumulation of previously undetected metabolites resembling sinapyl alcohol and its related metabolites, but that are derived from para

  6. Genetic Improvement of Switchgrass and Other Herbaceous Plants for Use as Biomass Fuel Feedstock

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Vogel, K.P.

    2001-01-11

    It should be highly feasible to genetically modify the feedstock quality of switchgrass and other herbaceous plants using both conventional and molecular breeding techniques. Effectiveness of breeding to modify herbages of switchgrass and other perennial and annual herbaceous species has already been demonstrated. The use of molecular markers and transformation technology will greatly enhance the capability of breeders to modify the plant structure and cell walls of herbaceous plants. It will be necessary to monitor gene flow to remnant wild populations of plants and have strategies available to curtail gene flow if it becomes a potential problem. It also will be necessary to monitor plant survival and long-term productivity as affected by genetic changes that improve forage quality. Information on the conversion processes that will be used and the biomass characteristics that affect conversion efficiency and rate is absolutely essential as well as information on the relative economic value of specific traits. Because most forage or biomass quality characteristics are highly affected by plant maturity, it is suggested that plant material of specific maturity stages be used in research to determining desirable feedstock quality characteristics. Plant material could be collected at various stages of development from an array of environments and storage conditions that could be used in conversion research. The same plant material could be used to develop NIRS calibrations that could be used by breeders in their selection programs and also to develop criteria for a feedstock quality assessment program. Breeding for improved feedstock quality will likely affect the rate of improvement of biomass production per acre. If the same level of resources are used, multi-trait breeding simply reduces the selection pressure and hence the breeding progress that can be made for a single trait unless all the traits are highly correlated. Since desirable feedstock traits are likely

  7. Evaluation of intercropped switchgrass establishment under a range of experimental site preparation treatments in a forested setting on the Lower Coastal Plain of North Carolina, U.S.A

    Science.gov (United States)

    Janine M. Albaugh; Eric B. Sucre; Zakiya H. Leggett; Jean-Christophe Domec; John S. King

    2012-01-01

    There is growing interest in using switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.) as a biofuel crop and for its potential to sequester carbon. However, there are limited data on the establishment success of this species when grown as a forest intercrop in coastal plain settings of the U.S. Southeast. Therefore, we studied establishment success of switchgrass...

  8. Survival of Salmonella, Escherichia coli 0157:H7, non-0157 shiga toxin producing E.coli, and potential surrogate bacteria in crop soil as affected by the addition of fast pyrolysis-generated switchgrass biochar

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fast pyrolysis of switchgrass (and resultant biochar) can be used for bio-fuel production, soil amendments for fertilizing crops, binding heavy metals, and sequestering environmental biocarbon. To determine the influence of fast pyrolysis-generated switchgrass biochar on survival of foodborne path...

  9. Hydrogen production from switchgrass via an integrated pyrolysis-microbial electrolysis process.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lewis, A J; Ren, S; Ye, X; Kim, P; Labbe, N; Borole, A P

    2015-11-01

    A new approach to hydrogen production using an integrated pyrolysis-microbial electrolysis process is described. The aqueous stream generated during pyrolysis of switchgrass was used as a substrate for hydrogen production in a microbial electrolysis cell, achieving a maximum hydrogen production rate of 4.3 L H2/L anode-day at a loading of 10 g COD/L-anode-day. Hydrogen yields ranged from 50±3.2% to 76±0.5% while anode Coulombic efficiency ranged from 54±6.5% to 96±0.21%, respectively. Significant conversion of furfural, organic acids and phenolic molecules was observed under both batch and continuous conditions. The electrical and overall energy efficiency ranged from 149-175% and 48-63%, respectively. The results demonstrate the potential of the pyrolysis-microbial electrolysis process as a sustainable and efficient route for production of renewable hydrogen with significant implications for hydrocarbon production from biomass. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  10. Synthesis of three advanced biofuels from ionic liquid-pretreated switchgrass using engineered Escherichia coli

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bokinsky, Gregory; Peralta-Yahya, Pamela P.; George, Anthe; Holmes, Bradley M.; Steen, Eric J.; Dietrich, Jeffrey; Soon Lee, Taek; Tullman-Ercek, Danielle; Voigt, Christopher A.; Simmons, Blake A.; Keasling, Jay D.

    2011-01-01

    One approach to reducing the costs of advanced biofuel production from cellulosic biomass is to engineer a single microorganism to both digest plant biomass and produce hydrocarbons that have the properties of petrochemical fuels. Such an organism would require pathways for hydrocarbon production and the capacity to secrete sufficient enzymes to efficiently hydrolyze cellulose and hemicellulose. To demonstrate how one might engineer and coordinate all of the necessary components for a biomass-degrading, hydrocarbon-producing microorganism, we engineered a microorganism naïve to both processes, Escherichia coli, to grow using both the cellulose and hemicellulose fractions of several types of plant biomass pretreated with ionic liquids. Our engineered strains express cellulase, xylanase, beta-glucosidase, and xylobiosidase enzymes under control of native E. coli promoters selected to optimize growth on model cellulosic and hemicellulosic substrates. Furthermore, our strains grow using either the cellulose or hemicellulose components of ionic liquid-pretreated biomass or on both components when combined as a coculture. Both cellulolytic and hemicellulolytic strains were further engineered with three biofuel synthesis pathways to demonstrate the production of fuel substitutes or precursors suitable for gasoline, diesel, and jet engines directly from ionic liquid-treated switchgrass without externally supplied hydrolase enzymes. This demonstration represents a major advance toward realizing a consolidated bioprocess. With improvements in both biofuel synthesis pathways and biomass digestion capabilities, our approach could provide an economical route to production of advanced biofuels. PMID:22123987

  11. Potential of potassium hydroxide pretreatment of switchgrass for fermentable sugar production.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sharma, Rajat; Palled, Vijaykumar; Sharma-Shivappa, Ratna R; Osborne, Jason

    2013-02-01

    Chemical pretreatment of lignocellulosic biomass has been extensively investigated for sugar generation and subsequent fuel production. Alkaline pretreatment has emerged as one of the popular chemical pretreatment methods, but most attempts thus far have utilized NaOH for the pretreatment process. This study aimed at investigating the potential of potassium hydroxide (KOH) as a viable alternative alkaline reagent for lignocellulosic pretreatment based on its different reactivity patterns compared to NaOH. Performer switchgrass was pretreated at KOH concentrations of 0.5-2% for varying treatment times of 6-48 h, 6-24 h, and 0.25-1 h at 21, 50, and 121 °C, respectively. The pretreatments resulted in the highest percent sugar retention of 99.26% at 0.5%, 21 °C, 12 h while delignification up to 55.4% was observed with 2% KOH, 121 °C, 1 h. Six pretreatment conditions were selected for subsequent enzymatic hydrolysis with Cellic CTec2® for sugar generation. The pretreatment condition of 0.5% KOH, 24 h, 21 °C was determined to be the most effective as it utilized the least amount of KOH while generating 582.4 mg sugar/g raw biomass for a corresponding percent carbohydrate conversion of 91.8%.

  12. Switchgrass biomass energy storage project. Final report, September 23, 1996--December 31, 1996

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Miller, G.A.; Teel, A.; Brown, S.S. [Iowa State Univ., Ames, IA (United States)

    1996-07-01

    The Chariton Valley Biomass Power Project, sponsored by the Chariton Valley RC&D Inc., a USDA-sponsored rural development organization, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources Energy Bureau (IDNR-EB), and IES Utilities, a major Iowa energy company, is directed at the development of markets for energy crops in southern Iowa. This effort is part of a statewide coalition of public and private interests cooperating to merge Iowa`s agricultural potential and its long-term energy requirements to develop locally sustainable sources of biomass fuel. The four-county Chariton Valley RC&D area (Lucas, Wayne, Appanoose and Monroe counties) is the site of one of eleven NREL/EPRI feasibility studies directed at the potential of biomass power. The focus of renewable energy development in the region has centered around the use of swithgrass (Panicum virgatum, L.). This native Iowa grass is one of the most promising sustainable biomass fuel crops. According to investigations by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), switchgrass has the most potential of all the perennial grasses and legumes evaluated for biomass production.

  13. Substrate-Specific Development of Thermophilic Bacterial Consortia by Using Chemically Pretreated Switchgrass.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Eichorst, Stephanie A; Joshua, Chijioke; Sathitsuksanoh, Noppadon; Singh, Seema; Simmons, Blake A; Singer, Steven W

    2014-12-01

    Microbial communities that deconstruct plant biomass have broad relevance in biofuel production and global carbon cycling. Biomass pretreatments reduce plant biomass recalcitrance for increased efficiency of enzymatic hydrolysis. We exploited these chemical pretreatments to study how thermophilic bacterial consortia adapt to deconstruct switchgrass (SG) biomass of various compositions. Microbial communities were adapted to untreated, ammonium fiber expansion (AFEX)-pretreated, and ionic-liquid (IL)-pretreated SG under aerobic, thermophilic conditions using green waste compost as the inoculum to study biomass deconstruction by microbial consortia. After microbial cultivation, gravimetric analysis of the residual biomass demonstrated that both AFEX and IL pretreatment enhanced the deconstruction of the SG biomass approximately 2-fold. Two-dimensional nuclear magnetic resonance (2D-NMR) experiments and acetyl bromide-reactive-lignin analysis indicated that polysaccharide hydrolysis was the dominant process occurring during microbial biomass deconstruction, and lignin remaining in the residual biomass was largely unmodified. Small-subunit (SSU) rRNA gene amplicon libraries revealed that although the dominant taxa across these chemical pretreatments were consistently represented by members of the Firmicutes, the Bacteroidetes, and Deinococcus-Thermus, the abundance of selected operational taxonomic units (OTUs) varied, suggesting adaptations to the different substrates. Combining the observations of differences in the community structure and the chemical and physical structure of the biomass, we hypothesize specific roles for individual community members in biomass deconstruction. Copyright © 2014, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.

  14. Economic analysis of ethanol production from switchgrass using hybrid thermal/biological processing

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    So, K.S.; Brown, R.C. [Iowa State Univ., Ames, IA (United States). Center for Coal and the Environment; Scott, D.S. [Univ. of Waterloo, Ontario (Canada). Dept. of Chemical Engineering

    1998-12-31

    The economics of ethanol production from switchgrass using Waterloo fast pyrolysis with a fermentation step is investigated. Standard chemical engineering methods are used to estimate capital investment and operating costs. Order of magnitude method is employed for preliminary approximation of capital investment. The azeotropic ethanol production capacity used in this case study is 189 million liters/year (50 million gallons/year). All cost figures are updated to 1997 US $. Total capital investment is estimated to be $142 million, while the annual operating cost is about $118 million with an ethanol selling price of $0.62/l ($2.35/gal). This compares to $0.58/l ($2.20/gal) for ethanol from popular wood as determined in a previous study of the Waterloo fast pyrolysis process. Conservation of energy, especially, in the separation and purification steps, and generation of steam from lignin to meet energy requirements are evaluated in terms of energy saving costs. Additional steam has to be purchased, at $0.30 million/year, in order to meet the heat energy requirement of the process. Sensitivity analyses of feedstock cost and yield of sugar fermentation on the selling price of ethanol show that feedstock cost is positively related to ethanol selling price, while the yield has a negative relationship with selling price.

  15. Characterization of Biobased Polyurethane Foams Employing Lignin Fractionated from Microwave Liquefied Switchgrass

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Xingyan Huang

    2017-01-01

    Full Text Available Lignin samples fractionated from microwave liquefied switchgrass were applied in the preparation of semirigid polyurethane (PU foams without purification. The objective of this study was to elucidate the influence of lignin in the PU matrix on the morphological, chemical, mechanical, and thermal properties of the PU foams. The scanning electron microscopy (SEM images revealed that lignin with 5 and 10% content in the PU foams did not influence the cell shape and size. The foam cell size became larger by increasing the lignin content to 15%. Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR indicated that chemical interactions occurred between the lignin hydroxyl and isocyanate revealing that lignin was well dispersed in the matrix materials. The apparent density of the foam with 10% lignin increased by 14.2% compared to the control, while the foam with 15% lignin had a decreased apparent density. The effect of lignin content on the mechanical properties was similar to that on apparent density. The lignin containing foams were much more thermally stable than the control foam as evidenced by having higher initial decomposition temperature and maximum decomposition rate temperature from the thermogravimetric analysis (TGA profiles.

  16. Comparison of different pretreatments for the production of bioethanol and biomethane from corn stover and switchgrass.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Papa, G; Rodriguez, S; George, A; Schievano, A; Orzi, V; Sale, K L; Singh, S; Adani, F; Simmons, B A

    2015-05-01

    In this study the efficiency of mild ionic liquid (IL) pretreatment and pressurized hot water (PHW) is evaluated and compared in terms of bioethanol and biomethane yields, with corn stover (CS) and switchgrass (SG) as model bioenergy crops. Both feedstocks pretreated with the IL 1-ethyl-3-methylimidazolium acetate [C2C1Im][OAc] at 100°C for 3h exhibited lower glucose yield that those treated with harsher pretreatment conditions previously used. Compared to PHW, IL pretreatment demonstrated higher bioethanol yields; moreover IL pretreatment enhanced biomethane production. Taking into consideration both bioethanol and biomethane productions, results indicated that when using IL pretreatment, the total energy produced per kg of total solids was higher compared to untreated biomasses. Specifically energy produced from CS and SG was +18.6% and +34.5% respectively, as compared to those obtained by hot water treatment, i.e. +2.3% and +23.4% for CS and SG, respectively. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  17. Switchgrass SBP-box transcription factors PvSPL1 and 2 function redundantly to initiate side tillers and affect biomass yield of energy crop.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wu, Zhenying; Cao, Yingping; Yang, Ruijuan; Qi, Tianxiong; Hang, Yuqing; Lin, Hao; Zhou, Gongke; Wang, Zeng-Yu; Fu, Chunxiang

    2016-01-01

    Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.) is a dedicated lignocellulosic feedstock for bioenergy production. The SQUAMOSA PROMOTER-BINDING PROTEIN (SBP-box)-LIKE transcription factors (SPLs) change plant architecture and vegetative-to-reproductive phase transition significantly, and as such, they are promising candidates for genetic improvement of switchgrass biomass yield. However, the genome-wide identification and functional characterization of SPL genes have yet to be investigated in herbaceous energy crops. We identified 35 full-length SPL genes in the switchgrass genome. The phylogenetic relationship and expression pattern of PvSPLs provided baseline information for their function characterization. Based on the global overview of PvSPLs, we explored the biological function of miR156-targeted PvSPL1 and PvSPL2, which are closely related members of SPL family in switchgrass. Our results showed that PvSPL1 and PvSPL2 acted redundantly to modulate side tiller initiation, whereas they did not affect phase transition and internode initiation. Consistently, overexpression of the miR156-resistant rPvSPL2 in the miR156-overexpressing transgenic plants greatly reduced tiller initiation, but did not rescue the delayed flowering and increased internode numbers. Furthermore, suppression of PvSPL2 activity in switchgrass increased biomass yield and reduced lignin accumulation, which thereby elevated the total amount of solubilized sugars. Our results indicate that different miR156-targeted PvSPL subfamily genes function predominantly in certain biological processes in switchgrass. We suggest that PvSPL2 and its paralogs can be utilized as the valuable targets in molecular breeding of energy crops for developing novel germplasms with high biofuel production.

  18. Development of In Vitro Systems for Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) - Final Report for 1992 to 2002

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Conger, B.V.

    2003-01-16

    Our project began on July 1, 1992, with the objective of developing systems that could be used in biotechnological approaches to switchgrass improvement. Within six months after initiation of the project, we had worked out protocols in which plants could be regenerated from callus cultures through both organogenesis and somatic embryogenesis. Documentation for both modes of regeneration was provided in our progress reports and in publications. One thousand regenerated plants were established in the field during the first year. We found that Alamo (lowland type) was much more amenable to in vitro culture, and plants could be regenerated much more easily than from Cave-in-Rock (upland type). During the first three years of the project, we studied the influence of genotype, culture medium components, explant type, etc., on regeneration. As mentioned, we found that the lowland cultivars Alamo and Kanlow were much easier to regenerate than upland cultivars, such as Trailblazer, Blackwell, and Cave-in-Rock. For callus induction, we initially used mature caryopses, young leaf tissue, and portions of seedlings. We were successful in inducing callus and regenerating plants from all explants. Two other systems developed during the 4th to 6th year period of the project included multiple shoot formation initiated from germinated seedlings and regenerable suspension cultures. The latter were initiated from embryogenic calluses produced from in vitro developed inflorescences. An important factor for producing multiple shoots was the presence of thidiazuron in the medium. The shoots could be easily rooted and numerous plantlets produced. The last 3 to 4 years of the project focused on anther and microspore culture experiments to produce haploid plants and on genetic transformation. Although thousands of putative haploid plants were produced from a few anthers, they were very weak and difficult to keep alive. Chromosome counts revealed the gametic number in cells where it was

  19. Production of butanol (a biofuel) from agricultural residues: Part II - Use of corn stover and switchgrass hydrolysates

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Qureshi, Nasib; Saha, Badal C.; Hector, Ronald E.; Dien, Bruce; Iten, Loren; Bowman, Michael J.; Cotta, Michael A. [United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Agricultural Research Service (ARS), National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research (NCAUR), Bioenergy Research, 1815 N. University Street, Peoria, IL 61604 (United States); Hughes, Stephen; Liu, Siqing [USDA-ARS-NCAUR, Renewable Product Technology, 1815 N. University Street, Peoria, IL 61604 (United States); Sarath, Gautam [USDA-ARS, Grain, Forage, and Bioenergy Research Unit, University of Nebraska, 314 Biochemistry Hall, East Campus, Lincoln, NE 68583 (United States)

    2010-04-15

    Acetone butanol ethanol (ABE) was produced from hydrolysed corn stover and switchgrass using Clostridium beijerinckii P260. A control experiment using glucose resulted in the production of 21.06 g L{sup -1} total ABE. In this experiment an ABE yield and productivity of 0.41 and 0.31 g L{sup -1} h{sup -1} was achieved, respectively. Fermentation of untreated corn stover hydrolysate (CSH) exhibited no growth and no ABE production; however, upon dilution with water (two fold) and wheat straw hydrolysate (WSH, ratio 1:1), 16.00 and 18.04 g L{sup -1} ABE was produced, respectively. These experiments resulted in ABE productivity of 0.17-0.21 g L{sup -1} h{sup -1}. Inhibitors present in CSH were removed by treating the hydrolysate with Ca(OH){sub 2} (overliming). The culture was able to produce 26.27 g L{sup -1} ABE after inhibitor removal. Untreated switchgrass hydrolysate (SGH) was poorly fermented and the culture did not produce more than 1.48 g L{sup -1} ABE which was improved to 14.61 g L{sup -1}. It is suggested that biomass pretreatment methods that do not generate inhibitors be investigated. Alternately, cultures resistant to inhibitors and able to produce butanol at high concentrations may be another approach to improve the current process. (author)

  20. Characteristics of Lignin Fractions from Dilute Acid Pretreated Switchgrass and Their Effect on Cellobiohydrolase from Trichoderma longibrachiatum

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Lan Yao

    2018-02-01

    Full Text Available To investigate the interactions between acid pretreated switchgrass lignin and cellobiohydrolase (CBH, three different lignin fractions were isolated from dilute acid pretreated switchgrass by (i ethanol extraction, followed by (ii dioxane/H2O extraction, and (iii cellulase treatment, respectively. Structural properties of each lignin fraction were elucidated by GPC, 13C-NMR, and 2D-HSQC NMR analyses. The adsorptions of CBH to the isolated lignin fractions were also studied by Langmuir adsorption isotherms. Ethanol-extractable lignin fraction, mainly composed of syringyl (S and guaiacyl (G units, had the lowest molecular weight, while dioxane/H2O-extracted lignin fraction had the lowest S/G ratio with higher content of p-coumaric acid (pCA unit. The residual lignin fraction after enzymatic treatment had the highest S/G ratio without hydroxyphenyl (H unit. Strong associations were found between lignin properties such as lignin composition and S/G ratio and its non-productive enzyme adsorption factors including the maximum adsorption capacity and binding strength.

  1. Simultaneous Downregulation of MTHFR and COMT in Switchgrass Affects Plant Performance and Induces Lesion-Mimic Cell Death

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Sijia Liu

    2017-06-01

    Full Text Available Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum has been developed into a model lignocellulosic bioenergy crop. Downregulation of caffeic acid O-methyltransferase (COMT, a key enzyme in lignin biosynthesis, has been shown to alter lignification and increase biofuel yield in switchgrass. Methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR mediates C1 metabolism and provides methyl units consumed by COMT. It was predicted that co-silencing of MTHFR and COMT would impact lignification even more than either of the single genes. However, our results showed that strong downregulation of MTHFR in a COMT-deficient background led to altered plant growth and development, but no significant change in lignin content or composition was found when compared with COMT plants. Another unexpected finding was that the double MTHFR/COMT downregulated plants showed a novel lesion-mimic leaf phenotype. Molecular analyses revealed that the lesion-mimic phenotype was caused by the synergistic effect of MTHFR and COMT genes, with MTHFR playing a predominant role. Microarray analysis showed significant induction of genes related to oxidative and defense responses. The results demonstrated the lack of additive effects of MTHFR and COMT on lignification. Furthermore, this research revealed an unexpected role of the two genes in the modulation of lesion-mimic cell death as well as their synergistic effects on agronomic performance.

  2. Natural binders and solid bridge type binding mechanisms in briquettes and pellets made from corn stover and switchgrass.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kaliyan, Nalladurai; Morey, R Vance

    2010-02-01

    Corn stover and switchgrass are two important feedstocks considered for producing renewable fuels and energy in the US. Densification of these biomass feedstocks into briquettes/pellets would help reduce the problems and costs of bulk transportation, handling, and storage of biomass feedstocks. In this study, the role of the natural binders in corn stover and switchgrass to make durable particle-particle bonding in briquettes/pellets was investigated by micro-structural analyses. Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) images of briquettes made by using a uniaxial piston-cylinder densification apparatus in the laboratory, briquettes made by using a pilot-scale roll-press briquetting machine, and pellets made by using a pilot-scale conventional ring-die pelleting machine were analysed. The SEM images showed that the bonding between particles was created mainly through solid bridges. The solid bridges between particles were made by natural binders in the biomass expressed during the densification process. UV auto-fluorescence images of briquettes and pellets further confirmed that the solid bridges were made mainly by natural binders such as lignin and protein. It was found that activating (softening) the natural binders using moisture and temperature in the range of glass transition is important to make durable particle-particle bonding.

  3. Evaluation of ammonia fibre expansion (AFEX) pretreatment for enzymatic hydrolysis of switchgrass harvested in different seasons and locations.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bals, Bryan; Rogers, Chad; Jin, Mingjie; Balan, Venkatesh; Dale, Bruce

    2010-01-04

    When producing biofuels from dedicated feedstock, agronomic factors such as harvest time and location can impact the downstream production. Thus, this paper studies the effectiveness of ammonia fibre expansion (AFEX) pretreatment on two harvest times (July and October) and ecotypes/locations (Cave-in-Rock (CIR) harvested in Michigan and Alamo harvested in Alabama) for switchgrass (Panicum virgatum). Both harvest date and ecotype/location determine the pretreatment conditions that produce maximum sugar yields. There was a high degree of correlation between glucose and xylose released regardless of the harvest, pretreatment conditions, or enzyme formulation. Enzyme formulation that produced maximum sugar yields was the same across all harvests except for the CIR October harvest. The least mature sample, the July harvest of CIR switchgrass, released the most sugars (520 g/kg biomass) during enzymatic hydrolysis while requiring the least severe pretreatment conditions. In contrast, the most mature harvest released the least amount of sugars (410 g/kg biomass). All hydrolysates were highly fermentable, although xylose utilisation in the July CIR hydrolysate was poor. Each harvest type and location responded differently to AFEX pretreatment, although all harvests successfully produced fermentable sugars. Thus, it is necessary to consider an integrated approach between agricultural production and biochemical processing in order to insure optimal productivity.

  4. Evaluation of ammonia fibre expansion (AFEX pretreatment for enzymatic hydrolysis of switchgrass harvested in different seasons and locations

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Balan Venkatesh

    2010-01-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background When producing biofuels from dedicated feedstock, agronomic factors such as harvest time and location can impact the downstream production. Thus, this paper studies the effectiveness of ammonia fibre expansion (AFEX pretreatment on two harvest times (July and October and ecotypes/locations (Cave-in-Rock (CIR harvested in Michigan and Alamo harvested in Alabama for switchgrass (Panicum virgatum. Results Both harvest date and ecotype/location determine the pretreatment conditions that produce maximum sugar yields. There was a high degree of correlation between glucose and xylose released regardless of the harvest, pretreatment conditions, or enzyme formulation. Enzyme formulation that produced maximum sugar yields was the same across all harvests except for the CIR October harvest. The least mature sample, the July harvest of CIR switchgrass, released the most sugars (520 g/kg biomass during enzymatic hydrolysis while requiring the least severe pretreatment conditions. In contrast, the most mature harvest released the least amount of sugars (410 g/kg biomass. All hydrolysates were highly fermentable, although xylose utilisation in the July CIR hydrolysate was poor. Conclusions Each harvest type and location responded differently to AFEX pretreatment, although all harvests successfully produced fermentable sugars. Thus, it is necessary to consider an integrated approach between agricultural production and biochemical processing in order to insure optimal productivity.

  5. Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum fermentation by Clostridium thermocellum and Clostridium saccharoperbutylacetonicum sequential culture in a continuous flow reactor

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Noelia M. Elía

    2016-01-01

    Full Text Available The study was conducted to evaluate fermentation by Clostridium thermocellum and C. saccharoperbutylacetonicum in a continuous-flow, high-solids reactor. Liquid medium was continuously flowed through switchgrass (2 mm particle size at one of three flow rates: 83.33 mL h−1 (2 L d−1, 41.66 mL h−1 (1 L d−1, and 20.833 mL h−1 (0.5 L d−1. The cellulolytic phase was initiated by culturing C. thermocellum (63 °C, 24 h. The temperature was decreased (35 and C. saccharoperbutylacetonicum was inoculated. When metabolism decreased (96 h, the temperature was increased (63 °C; 24 h to permit cellulosome production by C. thermocellum. The C. saccharoperbutylacetonicum was re-inoculated and the temperature returned to 35°C. The average gross production over 9 d was 1480 mg total acids (formic, acetic lactic butyric, 207 mg total solvents (acetone, butanol, ethanol, and average dry matter disappearance was 2.8 g from 25 g non-pretreated switchgrass. There was no effect of flow rate on the product formation. These results indicate that C. thermocellum can survive and produce cellulases with C. saccharoperbutylacetonicumin a continuous-flow, high-solids reactor temperature with temperature cycling.

  6. Comparison of woody pellets, straw pellets, and delayed harvest system herbaceous biomass (switchgrass and miscanthus): analysis of current combustion techniques determining the value of biomass

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Hui, Y.

    2011-01-01

    Since the energy consumption is growing fast, it is important to find alternative resources for the future generation energy supply. This study is going to compare the woody pellets, straw pellets and delayed harvest system biomass (switchgrass and miscanthus) from the combustion technique

  7. Large-scale bioenergy production from soybeans and switchgrass in Argentina: Part A: Potential and economic feasibility for national and international markets

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    van Dam, J.; Faaij, A.P.C.; Hilbert, J.; Petruzzi, H.; Turkenburg, W.C.

    2009-01-01

    This study focuses on the economic feasibility for large-scale biomass production from soybeans or switchgrass from a region in Argentina. This is determined, firstly, by estimating whether the potential supply of biomass, when food and feed demand are met, is sufficient under different scenarios to

  8. Temporal dynamics of fibrolytic and methanogenic rumen microorganisms during in situ incubation of switchgrass determined by 16S rRNA gene profiling

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Hailan ePiao

    2014-07-01

    Full Text Available The rumen is known for its biomass-degrading and methane-producing phenotype. Fermentation of recalcitrant plant material necessitates the synergistic activity of diverse microbial taxonomic groups that inhabit this anaerobic environment. Although interspecies hydrogen (H2 transfer, a process during which bacterially generated H2 is transferred to methanogenic Archaea, has obtained significant attention over the last decades, the temporal variation of the different taxa involved in in situ biomass-degradation, H2 transfer and methanogenesis process remains to be established. We investigated the temporal succession of microbial taxa and its effect on fiber composition during rumen incubation using 16S rRNA amplicon sequencing. Switchgrass filled nylon bags were placed in the rumen of a cannulated cow and collected at nine time points for DNA extraction and 16S pyrotag profiling. The microbial community colonizing the air-dried and non-incubated switchgrass was dominated by members of the Bacilli. During in situ incubation of the switchgrass, two major shifts in the community composition were observed: Bacilli were replaced within 30 min by members belonging to the Bacteroidia and Clostridia. A second significant shift was observed after 16 h of rumen incubation, when members of the Spirochaetes and Fibrobacteria classes became more abundant in the fiber-adherent community. During the first 30 min of rumen incubation ~13% of the switchgrass dry matter was degraded, whereas little biomass degradation appeared to have occurred between 30 min and 4 h after the switchgrass was placed in the rumen. Interestingly, methanogenic members of the Euryarchaeota increased up to 3-fold during this period of reduced biomass-degradation, with peak abundance just before rates of dry matter degradation increased again. We hypothesize that during this period microbial-mediated fibrolysis was temporarily inhibited until H2 was metabolized into CH4 by methanogens.

  9. Overexpression of miR156 in switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.) results in various morphological alterations and leads to improved biomass production

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fu, Chunxiang; Sunkar, Ramanjulu; Zhou, Chuanen; Shen, Hui; Zhang, Ji-Yi; Matts, Jessica; Wolf, Jennifer; Mann, David G J; Stewart, C Neal; Tang, Yuhong; Wang, Zeng-Yu

    2012-01-01

    Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.) has been developed into a dedicated herbaceous bioenergy crop. Biomass yield is a major target trait for genetic improvement of switchgrass. microRNAs have emerged as a prominent class of gene regulatory factors that has the potential to improve complex traits such as biomass yield. A miR156b precursor was overexpressed in switchgrass. The effects of miR156 overexpression on SQUAMOSA PROMOTER BINDING PROTEIN LIKE (SPL) genes were revealed by microarray and quantitative RT-PCR analyses. Morphological alterations, biomass yield, saccharification efficiency and forage digestibility of the transgenic plants were characterized. miR156 controls apical dominance and floral transition in switchgrass by suppressing its target SPL genes. Relatively low levels of miR156 overexpression were sufficient to increase biomass yield while producing plants with normal flowering time. Moderate levels of miR156 led to improved biomass but the plants were non-flowering. These two groups of plants produced 58%–101% more biomass yield compared with the control. However, high miR156 levels resulted in severely stunted growth. The degree of morphological alterations of the transgenic switchgrass depends on miR156 level. Compared with floral transition, a lower miR156 level is required to disrupt apical dominance. The improvement in biomass yield was mainly because of the increase in tiller number. Targeted overexpression of miR156 also improved solubilized sugar yield and forage digestibility, and offered an effective approach for transgene containment. PMID:22239253

  10. Seasonality and Management Affect Land Surface Temperature Differences Between Loblolly Pine and Switchgrass Ecosystems in Central Virginia

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ahlswede, B.; Thomas, R. Q.; O'Halloran, T. L.; Rady, J.; LeMoine, J.

    2017-12-01

    Changes in land-use and land management can have biogeochemical and biophysical effects on local and global climate. While managed ecosystems provide known food and fiber benefits, their influence on climate is less well quantified. In the southeastern United States, there are numerous types of intensely managed ecosystems but pine plantations and switchgrass fields represent two biogeochemical and biophysical extremes; a tall, low albedo forest with trees harvested after multiple decades vs. a short, higher albedo C4 grass field that is harvested annually. Despite the wide spread use of these ecosystems for timber and bioenergy, a quantitative, empirical evaluation of the net influence of these ecosystems on climate is lacking because it requires measuring both the greenhouse gas and energy balance of the ecosystems while controlling for the background weather and soil environment. To address this need, we established a pair of eddy flux towers in these ecosystems that are co-located (1.5 km apart) in Central Virginia and measured the radiative energy, non-radiative energy and carbon fluxes, along with associated biometeorology variables; the paired site has run since April 2016. During the first 1.5 years (two growing seasons), we found strong seasonality in the difference in surface temperature between the two ecosystems. In the growing seasons, both sites had similar surface temperature despite higher net radiation in pine. Following harvest of the switchgrass in September, the switchgrass temperatures increased relative to pine. In the winter, the pine ecosystem was warmer. We evaluate the drivers of these intra-annual dynamics and compare the climate influence of these biophysical differences to the differences in carbon fluxes between the sites using a suite of established climate regulation services metrics. Overall, our results show tradeoffs exist between the biogeochemical and biophysical climate services in managed ecosystems in the southeastern United

  11. Impact of pretreated Switchgrass and biomass carbohydrates on Clostridium thermocellum ATCC 27405 cellulosome composition: a quantitative proteomic analysis.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Babu Raman

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: Economic feasibility and sustainability of lignocellulosic ethanol production requires the development of robust microorganisms that can efficiently degrade and convert plant biomass to ethanol. The anaerobic thermophilic bacterium Clostridium thermocellum is a candidate microorganism as it is capable of hydrolyzing cellulose and fermenting the hydrolysis products to ethanol and other metabolites. C. thermocellum achieves efficient cellulose hydrolysis using multiprotein extracellular enzymatic complexes, termed cellulosomes. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: In this study, we used quantitative proteomics (multidimensional LC-MS/MS and (15N-metabolic labeling to measure relative changes in levels of cellulosomal subunit proteins (per CipA scaffoldin basis when C. thermocellum ATCC 27405 was grown on a variety of carbon sources [dilute-acid pretreated switchgrass, cellobiose, amorphous cellulose, crystalline cellulose (Avicel and combinations of crystalline cellulose with pectin or xylan or both]. Cellulosome samples isolated from cultures grown on these carbon sources were compared to (15N labeled cellulosome samples isolated from crystalline cellulose-grown cultures. In total from all samples, proteomic analysis identified 59 dockerin- and 8 cohesin-module containing components, including 16 previously undetected cellulosomal subunits. Many cellulosomal components showed differential protein abundance in the presence of non-cellulose substrates in the growth medium. Cellulosome samples from amorphous cellulose, cellobiose and pretreated switchgrass-grown cultures displayed the most distinct differences in composition as compared to cellulosome samples from crystalline cellulose-grown cultures. While Glycoside Hydrolase Family 9 enzymes showed increased levels in the presence of crystalline cellulose, and pretreated switchgrass, in particular, GH5 enzymes showed increased levels in response to the presence of cellulose in general

  12. Anaerobic microplate assay for direct microbial conversion of switchgrass and Avicel using Clostridium thermocellum

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Oguntimein, Gbekeloluwa B. [Morgan State Univ., Baltimore, MD (United States); Rodriguez, Jr., Miguel [Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States); National Lab., Oak Ridge, TN (United States). BioEnergy Science Center; Dumitrache, Alexandru [Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States); National Lab., Oak Ridge, TN (United States). BioEnergy Science Center; Shollenberger, Todd [National Renewable Energy Lab. (NREL), Golden, CO (United States); Decker, Stephen R. [National Renewable Energy Lab. (NREL), Golden, CO (United States); Davison, Brian H. [Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States); National Lab., Oak Ridge, TN (United States). BioEnergy Science Center; Brown, Steven D. [Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States); National Lab., Oak Ridge, TN (United States). BioEnergy Science Center; LanzaTech, Inc., Skokie, IL (United States)

    2017-11-09

    Here, to develop and prototype a high-throughput microplate assay to assess anaerobic microorganisms and lignocellulosic biomasses in a rapid, cost-effective screen for consolidated bioprocessing potential. Clostridium thermocellum parent Δhpt strain deconstructed Avicel to cellobiose, glucose, and generated lactic acid, formic acid, acetic acid and ethanol as fermentation products in titers and ratios similar to larger scale fermentations confirming the suitability of a plate-based method for C. thermocellum growth studies. C. thermocellum strain LL1210, with gene deletions in the key central metabolic pathways, produced higher ethanol titers in the Consolidated Bioprocessing (CBP) plate assay for both Avicel and switchgrass fermentations when compared to the Δhpt strain. A prototype microplate assay system is developed that will facilitate high-throughput bioprospecting for new lignocellulosic biomass types, genetic variants and new microbial strains for bioethanol production.

  13. Developing County-level Water Footprints of Biofuel Produced from Switchgrass and Miscanthus x Giganteus in the United States

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Wu, May M. [Argonne National Lab. (ANL), Argonne, IL (United States); Chiu, Yi-Wen [Argonne National Lab. (ANL), Argonne, IL (United States)

    2014-09-30

    Perennial grass has been proposed as a potential candidate for producing cellulosic biofuel because of its promising productivity and benefits to water quality, and because it is a non-food feedstock. While extensive research focuses on selecting and developing species and conversion technologies, the impact of grass-based biofuel production on water resources remains less clear. As feedstock growth requires water and the type of water consumed may vary considerably from region to region, water use must be characterized with spatial resolution and on a fuel production basis. This report summarizes a study that assesses the impact of biofuel production on water resource use and water quality at county, state, and regional scales by developing a water footprint of biofuel produced from switchgrass and Miscanthus × giganteus via biochemical conversion.

  14. Understanding the Impacts of AFEX™ Pretreatment and Densification on the Fast Pyrolysis of Corn Stover, Prairie Cord Grass, and Switchgrass.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sundaram, Vijay; Muthukumarappan, Kasiviswanathan; Gent, Stephen

    2017-03-01

    Lignocellulosic feedstocks corn stover, prairie cord grass, and switchgrass were subjected to ammonia fiber expansion (AFEX™) pretreatment and densified using extrusion pelleting and ComPAKco densification technique. The effects of AFEX™ pretreatment and densification were studied on the fast pyrolysis product yields. Feedstocks were milled in a hammer mill using three different screen sizes (2, 4, and 8 mm) and were subjected to AFEX™ pretreatment. The untreated and AFEX™-pretreated feedstocks were moisture adjusted at three levels (5, 10, and 15 % wb) and were extruded using a lab-scale single screw extruder. The barrel temperature of the extruder was maintained at 75, 100, and 125 °C. Durability of the extruded pellets made from AFEX™-pretreated corn stover, prairie cord grass, and switchgrass varied from 94.5 to 99.2, 94.3 to 98.7, and 90.1 to 97.5 %, respectively. Results of the thermogravimetric analysis showed the decrease in the decomposition temperature of the all the feedstocks after AFEX™ pretreatment indicating the increase in thermal stability. Loose and densified feedstocks were subjected to fast pyrolysis in a lab-scale reactor, and the yields (bio-oil and bio-char) were measured. Bio-char obtained from the AFEX™-pretreated feedstocks exhibited increased bulk and particle density compared to the untreated feedstocks. The properties of the bio-oil were statistically similar for the untreated, AFEX™-pretreated, and AFEX™-pretreated densified feedstocks. Based on the bio-char and bio-oil yields, the AFEX™-pretreated feedstocks and the densified AFEX™-pretreated feedstocks (pellets and PAKs) exhibited similar behavior. Hence, it can be concluded that densifying the AFEX™-pretreated feedstocks could be a viable option in the biomass-processing depots to reduce the transportation costs and the logistical impediments without affecting the product yields.

  15. Different Effects of Corn Ethanol and Switchgrass-Based Biofuels on Soil Erosion and Nutrients Loads in the Iowa River Basin

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wu, Y.; Liu, S.

    2010-12-01

    Biofuels have become important alternative energy resources and their use is likely to expand in the foreseeable future. The expansion of corn-based ethanol production has resulted in a tightening of the global corn supply-and-demand balance. Perennial grasses such as switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) are also being considered as candidates for biofuel feedstocks. Expansion of biofuel production will generate diverse impacts on the economy and environment. How to optimize land use activities to address the need for biofuel production while protecting the environment is still a grand challenge. Unfortunately, little is known about the effects of biofuel-oriented alternative land uses on water quality. Can we produce the same amount or more biofuels by converting some cornfields to switchgrass, for example, while reducing environmental pressure? The objective of this study was to evaluate the potential impacts of land cover change from corn to switchgrass (e.g., on marginal lands) and related management activities on water quality in the Iowa River Basin (drainage area of 32,360 km2) using the Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT). The model was calibrated and validated under baseline conditions using daily streamflow and sediment, and monthly nutrients at Wapello, Iowa (near the outlet of the watershed). The preliminary results show that both the annual average sediment yield and nitrate nitrogen load would decrease when marginal corn areas are converted to switchgrass. However, the magnitude of change depends greatly on the detailed management practices, such as techniques and amount of fertilization, harvesting practices, and residue management.

  16. Topgrass. A trial of the suitability of switchgrass and reed canary grass as biofuel crops under UK conditions. 4th interim report

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Riche, A.B.

    2004-04-01

    This report summarises the results of the Topgrass project growing miscanthus, switchgrass and reed canary grass at nine UK sites and covers a one year period between the winter harvesting of the plots in 2002/3 and 2003/4. Details are given of the rainfall, air temperature and solar radiation; crop monitoring for pests, diseases and weeds; crop measurements; and a comparison of all sites. Appendices present individual site diaries and individual site operations and costs.

  17. Conversion of ammonia-pretreated switchgrass to biofuel precursors by bacterial-fungal consortia under solid-state and submerged-state cultivation.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jain, A; Pelle, H S; Baughman, W H; Henson, J M

    2017-04-01

    The aim of this study was to develop and evaluate bacterial-fungal communities to deconstruct switchgrass to biofuel precursors. Bacterial-fungal consortia, mesophilic (25°C) and thermophilic (50°C), were enriched from switchgrass bales from which enzyme mixtures were used to deconstruct delignified switchgrass (DSG). The bacterial-fungal consortia were able to produce enzymes including endoglucanase, exoglucanase, β-glucosidase, xylanase, xylosidase and pectinase to convert DSG to soluble carbohydrates. 454 pyrosequencing revealed that Paenibacillus and Streptomyces were the dominant bacteria in the mesophilic and thermophilic consortia respectively. Penicillium and Acremonium were the dominant fungi in the mesophilic consortia, whereas Aspergillus and Penicillium were the dominant fungi present in the thermophilic consortia. The results show that the state of cultivation, solid-state or submerged-state, affects the community structure as well as enzyme activities produced by these bacterial-fungal consortia. The enzyme mixture produced by the bacterial-fungal consortia released a higher amount of xylose than glucose during saccharification of DSG. The study provides a novel approach to produce enzymes for conversion of lignocellulolytic feedstocks to soluble sugars which can be used to produce biofuel precursors. © 2016 The Society for Applied Microbiology.

  18. The PIN1 family gene PvPIN1 is involved in auxin-dependent root emergence and tillering in switchgrass

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Kaijie Xu

    2016-03-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.; family Poaceae is a warm-season C4 perennial grass. Tillering plays an important role in determining the morphology of aboveground parts and the final biomass yield of switchgrass. Auxin distribution in plants can affect a variety of important growth and developmental processes, including the regulation of shoot and root branching, plant resistance and biological yield. Auxin transport and gradients in plants are mediated by influx and efflux carriers. PvPIN1, a switchgrass PIN1-like gene that is involved in regulating polar transport, is a putative auxin efflux carrier. Neighbor-joining analysis using sequences deposited in NCBI databases showed that the PvPIN1gene belongs to the PIN1 family and is evolutionarily closer to the Oryza sativa japonica group. Tiller emergence and development was significantly promoted in plants subjected toPvPIN1 RNA interference (RNAi, which yielded a phenotype similar to that of wild-type plants treated with the auxin transport inhibitor TIBA (2,3,5-triiodobenzoic acid. A transgenic approach that inducedPvPIN1 gene overexpression or suppression altered tiller number and the shoot/root ratio. These data suggest that PvPIN1plays an important role in auxin-dependent adventitious root emergence and tillering.

  19. Response surface studies that elucidate the role of infiltration conditions on Agrobacterium tumefaciens-mediated transient transgene expression in harvested switchgrass (Panicum virgatum)

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    VanderGheynst, J.S.; Guo, H.-Y.; Simmons, C.W. [Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering, University of California, Davis, One Shields Avenue, Davis, CA 95616 (United States)

    2008-04-15

    Agrobacterium tumefaciens-mediated transient expression (agroinfiltration) experiments were performed in harvested switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) leaves to identify the effects of wounding by bead beating, surfactant concentration and vacuum application on in planta {beta}-glucuronidase expression and leaf decay. Expression was scored based on a consistent pattern of visual observations of histochemical staining over the leaf surface as might be observed in stable gene expression in switchgrass leaves. Assays on extracts from leaves were also performed to measure expression levels; however, these assays showed low expression levels, which may have been due to low recombinant protein recovery and decomposition in the leaf. Bead beating was successful for wounding the plant surface, but did not improve the consistency of expression based on histochemical staining observations. Surfactant was necessary for improving contact between the leaf surface and Agrobacterium suspension and consistently improved expression when vacuum application level was low (25 kPa). Increasing vacuum application from 25 to 5 kPa improved expression only when surfactant concentration was low. When a suspension of A. tumefaciens containing 1000 ppm Break-Thru surfactant was added to harvested leaves and 25 kPa vacuum applied, a fairly uniform expression was visualized across the leaf surface within 2-3 days of incubation, suggesting that agroinfiltration is a rapid tool for examining expression of transgenes in switchgrass leaves. (author)

  20. Global transcriptome analysis of Clostridium thermocellum ATCC 27405 during growth on dilute acid pretreated Populus and switchgrass

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Wilson, Charlotte M [ORNL; Rodriguez Jr, Miguel [ORNL; Johnson, Courtney M [ORNL; Martin, S L. [North Carolina State University; Chu, Tzu Ming [SAS Institute; Wolfinger, Russ [SAS Institute; Hauser, Loren John [ORNL; Land, Miriam L [ORNL; Klingeman, Dawn Marie [ORNL; Tschaplinski, Timothy J [ORNL; Mielenz, Jonathan R [ORNL; Brown, Steven D [ORNL

    2013-01-01

    Background The thermophilic anaerobe Clostridium thermocellum is a candidate consolidated bioprocessing (CBP) biocatalyst for cellulosic ethanol production. The aim of this study was to investigate C. thermocellum genes required to ferment biomass substrates and to conduct a robust comparison of DNA microarray and RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) analytical platforms. Results C. thermocellum ATCC 27405 fermentations were conducted with a 5 g/L solid substrate loading of either pretreated switchgrass or Populus. Quantitative saccharification and inductively coupled plasma emission spectroscopy (ICP-ES) for elemental analysis revealed composition differences between biomass substrates, which may have influenced growth and transcriptomic profiles. High quality RNA was prepared for C. thermocellum grown on solid substrates and transcriptome profiles were obtained for two time points during active growth (12 hours and 37 hours postinoculation). A comparison of two transcriptomic analytical techniques, microarray and RNA-seq, was performed and the data analyzed for statistical significance. Large expression differences for cellulosomal genes were not observed. We updated gene predictions for the strain and a small novel gene, Cthe_3383, with a putative AgrD peptide quorum sensing function was among the most highly expressed genes. RNAseq data also supported different small regulatory RNA predictions over others. The DNA microarray gave a greater number (2,351) of significant genes relative to RNA-seq (280 genes when normalized by the kernel density mean of M component (KDMM) method) in an analysis of variance (ANOVA) testing method with a 5 % false discovery rate (FDR). When a 2-fold difference in expression threshold was applied, 73 genes were significantly differentially expressed in common between the two techniques. Sulfate and phosphate uptake/utilization genes, along with genes for a putative efflux pump system were some of the most differentially regulated transcripts

  1. Downregulation of cinnamyl-alcohol dehydrogenase in switchgrass by RNA silencing results in enhanced glucose release after cellulase treatment.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Saathoff, Aaron J; Sarath, Gautam; Chow, Elaine K; Dien, Bruce S; Tobias, Christian M

    2011-01-27

    Cinnamyl alcohol dehydrogenase (CAD) catalyzes the last step in monolignol biosynthesis and genetic evidence indicates CAD deficiency in grasses both decreases overall lignin, alters lignin structure and increases enzymatic recovery of sugars. To ascertain the effect of CAD downregulation in switchgrass, RNA mediated silencing of CAD was induced through Agrobacterium mediated transformation of cv. "Alamo" with an inverted repeat construct containing a fragment derived from the coding sequence of PviCAD2. The resulting primary transformants accumulated less CAD RNA transcript and protein than control transformants and were demonstrated to be stably transformed with between 1 and 5 copies of the T-DNA. CAD activity against coniferaldehyde, and sinapaldehyde in stems of silenced lines was significantly reduced as was overall lignin and cutin. Glucose release from ground samples pretreated with ammonium hydroxide and digested with cellulases was greater than in control transformants. When stained with the lignin and cutin specific stain phloroglucinol-HCl the staining intensity of one line indicated greater incorporation of hydroxycinnamyl aldehydes in the lignin.

  2. Environmental Performance of Miscanthus, Switchgrass and Maize: Can C4 Perennials Increase the Sustainability of Biogas Production?

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Andreas Kiesel

    2016-12-01

    Full Text Available Biogas is considered a promising option for complementing the fluctuating energy supply from other renewable sources. Maize is currently the dominant biogas crop, but its environmental performance is questionable. Through its replacement with high-yielding and nutrient-efficient perennial C4 grasses, the environmental impact of biogas could be considerably improved. The objective of this paper is to assess and compare the environmental performance of the biogas production and utilization of perennial miscanthus and switchgrass and annual maize. An LCA was performed using data from field trials, assessing the impact in the five categories: climate change (CC, fossil fuel depletion (FFD, terrestrial acidification (TA, freshwater eutrophication (FE and marine eutrophication (ME. A system expansion approach was adopted to include a fossil reference. All three crops showed significantly lower CC and FFD potentials than the fossil reference, but higher TA and FE potentials, with nitrogen fertilizer production and fertilizer-induced emissions identified as hot spots. Miscanthus performed best and changing the input substrate from maize to miscanthus led to average reductions of −66% CC; −74% FFD; −63% FE; −60% ME and −21% TA. These results show that perennial C4 grasses and miscanthus in particular have the potential to improve the sustainability of the biogas sector.

  3. Direct mechanical energy measures of hammer mill comminution of switchgrass, wheat straw, and corn stover and analysis of their particle size distributions

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Bitra, V.S.P [University of Tennessee; Womac, A.R. [University of Tennessee; Chevanan, Nehru [University of Tennessee; Miu, P.I. [University of Tennessee; Smith, D.R. [University of Tennessee; Igathinathane, C. [Mississippi State University (MSU); Sokhansanj, Shahabaddine [ORNL

    2009-07-01

    Biomass particle size impacts handling, storage, conversion, and dust control systems. Size reduction mechanical energy was directly measured for switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.), wheat straw (Triticum aestivum L.), and corn stover (Zea mays L.) in an instrumented hammer mill. Direct energy inputs were determined for hammer mill operating speeds from 2000 to 3600 rpm for 3.2 mm integral classifying screen and mass input rate of 2.5 kg/min with 90 - and 30 -hammers. Overall accuracy of specific energy measurement was calculated as 0.072 MJ/Mg. Particle size distributions created by hammer mill were determined for mill operating factors using ISO sieve sizes from 4.75 to 0.02 mm in conjunction with Ro-Tap sieve analyzer. A wide range of analytical descriptors were examined to mathematically represent the range of particle sizes in the distributions. Total specific energy (MJ/Mg) was defined as size reduction energy to operate the hammer mill plus that imparted to biomass. Effective specific energy was defined as energy imparted to biomass. Total specific energy for switchgrass, wheat straw, and corn stover grinding increased by 37, 30, and 45% from 114.4, 125.1, and 103.7 MJ/Mg, respectively, with an increase in hammer mill speed from 2000 to 3600 rpm for 90 -hammers. Corresponding total specific energy per unit size reduction was 14.9, 19.7, and 13.5 MJ/Mg mm, respectively. Effective specific energy of 90 -hammers decreased marginally for switchgrass and considerably for wheat straw and it increased for corn stover with an increase in speed from 2000 to 3600 rpm. However, effective specific energy increased with speed to a certain extent and then decreased for 30 -hammers. Rosin Rammler equation fitted the size distribution data with R2 > 0.995. Mass relative span was greater than 1, which indicated a wide distribution of particle sizes. Hammer milling of switchgrass, wheat straw, and corn stover with 3.2 mm screen resulted in well-graded fine-skewed mesokurtic

  4. A trial of the suitability of switchgrass and reed canary grass as biofuel crops under UK conditions. 5th interim report March 2005

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Richie, A.B.

    2005-07-01

    The Topgrass Project, established in 2002, investigated the potential of miscanthus, switchgrass and reed canary grass as biofuel crops at various sites in the UK. This interim report covers the period from the harvesting in winter 2003/04 to the harvesting in winter 2004/05. The report gives details on (i) pest and weed control and (ii) yields and associated costs per species per unit area. It was concluded that maximum potential yield has not been reached at some sites. The study was funded by the DTI and carried out by IACR Rothamstead with ADAS Consulting, Duchy College Cornwall and SCRI Invergowrie as collaborators. The project has now terminated.

  5. NEW STRAIN PRODUCERS OF BIOBUTANOL. III. METHODS OF INCREASED BUTANOL ACCUMULATION FROM BIOMASS OF SWITCHGRASS Panicum virgatum L.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Tigunova O. O.

    2015-08-01

    Full Text Available The aim of this work was to enlarge accumulation of butanol from switchgrass Panicum virgatum L. biomass using strains-producers obtained from grounds and silts of Kyiv lakes. The objects of the study were strains of C. acetobutylicum ІМВ B-7407 (IFBG C6H, Clostridium acetobutylicum IFBG C6H 5М and Clostridium tyrobutyricum IFBG C4B from the "Collections of microbial strains and lines of plants for food and agricultural biotechnology" of the Public Institution "Institute of Food Biotechnology and Genomics" of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine. Gas chromatography was used to determine the alcohol concentration at the stage of solvent synthesis. To determine the effect of butanol precursors during cultivation, butyric, lactic and acetic acids were used. Optimization of processing parameters, which was based on the needs of cultures, allowed us to increase the yield by 20 and 50% for the initial and mutant strain respectively. Using synthetic precursors (such as lactic, butyric and acetic acid during cultivation increased total concentration of butanol by 1.7 times. To optimize the process, a study was carried out using acetone- butyl grains. Using of acetone-butyl grains in concentrations up to 60% does not affect the synthesis of butanol by C. acetobutylicum IFBG C6H 5M. Increasing the concentration of grains led to decrease in accumulation of butanol. Almost double increase in accumulation of the target product (butanol was achieved using two-stage fermentation and/or precursors of synthesis. It was shown the possibility of using acetone-butyl grains in fermentation. As a result the mass fraction of the waste was reduced.

  6. Combined inactivation of the Clostridium cellulolyticum lactate and malate dehydrogenase genes substantially increases ethanol yield from cellulose and switchgrass fermentations

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Li, Yongchao [ORNL; Tschaplinski, Timothy J [ORNL; Engle, Nancy L [ORNL; Hamilton, Choo Yieng [ORNL; Rodriguez, Jr., Miguel [ORNL; Liao, James C [ORNL; Schadt, Christopher Warren [ORNL; Guss, Adam M [ORNL; Yang, Yunfeng [ORNL; Graham, David E [ORNL

    2012-01-01

    Background: The model bacterium Clostridium cellulolyticum efficiently hydrolyzes crystalline cellulose and hemicellulose, using cellulosomes to degrade lignocellulosic biomass. Although it imports and ferments both pentose and hexose sugars to produce a mixture of ethanol, acetate, lactate, H2 and CO2, the proportion of ethanol is low, which impedes its use in consolidated bioprocessing for biofuels. Therefore genetic engineering will likely be required to improve the ethanol yield. Random mutagenesis, plasmid transformation, and heterologous expression systems have previously been developed for C. cellulolyticum, but targeted mutagenesis has not been reported for this organism. Results: The first targeted gene inactivation system was developed for C. cellulolyticum, based on a mobile group II intron originating from the Lactococcus lactis L1.LtrB intron. This markerless mutagenesis system was used to disrupt both the paralogous L-lactate dehydrogenase (Ccel_2485; ldh) and L-malate dehydrogenase (Ccel_0137; mdh) genes, distinguishing the overlapping substrate specificities of these enzymes. Both mutations were then combined in a single strain. This double mutant produced 8.5-times more ethanol than wild-type cells growing on crystalline cellulose. Ethanol constituted 93% of the major fermentation products (by molarity), corresponding to a molar ratio of ethanol to organic acids of 15, versus 0.18 in wild-type cells. During growth on acid-pretreated switchgrass, the double mutant also produced four-times as much ethanol as wild-type cells. Detailed metabolomic analyses identified increased flux through the oxidative branch of the mutant s TCA pathway. Conclusions: The efficient intron-based gene inactivation system produced the first gene-targeted mutations in C. cellulolyticum. As a key component of the genetic toolbox for this bacterium, markerless targeted mutagenesis enables functional genomic research in C. cellulolyticum and rapid genetic engineering to

  7. Bio-butanol vs. bio-ethanol: A technical and economic assessment for corn and switchgrass fermented by yeast or Clostridium acetobutylicum

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Pfromm, Peter H. [Department of Chemical Engineering, Kansas State University, 1005 Durland Hall, Manhattan, KS 66506 (United States); Amanor-Boadu, Vincent [Department of Agricultural Economics, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS 66506 (United States); Nelson, Richard [Center for Sustainable Energy, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS 66506 (United States); Vadlani, Praveen [Department of Grain Science and Industry, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS 66506 (United States); Madl, Ronald [Center for Sustainable Energy, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS 66506 (United States); Department of Grain Science and Industry, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS 66506 (United States)

    2010-04-15

    Fermentation-derived butanol is a possible alternative to ethanol as a fungible biomass-based liquid transportation fuel. We compare the fermentation-based production of n-butanol vs. ethanol from corn or switchgrass through the liquid fuel yield in terms of the lower heating value (LHV). Industrial scale data on fermentation to n-butanol (ABE fermentation) or ethanol (yeast) establishes a baseline at this time, and puts recent advances in fermentation to butanol in perspective. A dynamic simulation demonstrates the technical, economic and policy implications. The energy yield of n-butanol is about half that of ethanol from corn or switchgrass using current ABE technology. This is a serious disadvantage for n-butanol since feedstock costs are a significant portion of the fuel price. Low yield increases n-butanol's life-cycle greenhouse gas emission for the same amount of LHV compared to ethanol. A given fermenter volume can produce only about one quarter of the LHV as n-butanol per unit time compared to ethanol. This increases capital costs. The sometimes touted advantage of n-butanol being more compatible with existing pipelines is, according to our techno-economic simulations insufficient to alter the conclusion because of the capital costs to connect plants via pipeline. (author)

  8. The economical and environmental performance of miscanthus and switchgrass production and supply chains in a European setting

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Smeets, Edward M.W.; Lewandowski, Iris M.; Faaij, Andre P.C.

    2009-01-01

    The purpose of this study is to analyse the economical and environmental performance of switchgrass and miscanthus production and supply chains in the European Union (EU25), for the years 2004 and 2030. The environmental performance refers to the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, the primary fossil energy use and to the impact on fresh water reserves, soil erosion and biodiversity. Analyses are carried out for regions in five countries. The lowest costs of producing (including storing and transporting across 100 km) in the year 2004 are calculated for Poland, Hungary and Lithuania at 43-64 EUR per oven dry tonne (odt) or 2.4-3.6 EUR GJ -1 higher heating value. This cost level is roughly equivalent to the price of natural gas (3.1 EUR GJ -1 ) and lower than the price of crude oil (4.6 EUR GJ -1 ) in 2004, but higher than the price of coal (1.7 EUR GJ -1 ) in 2004. The costs of biomass in Italy and the United Kingdom are somewhat higher (65-105 EUR odt -1 or 3.6-5.8 EUR GJ -1 ). The doubling of the price of crude oil and natural gas that is projected for the period 2004-2030, combined with nearly stable biomass production costs, makes the production of perennial grasses competitive with natural gas and fossil oil. The results also show that the substitution of fossil fuels by biomass from perennial grasses is a robust strategy to reduce fossil energy use and curb GHG emissions, provided that perennial grasses are grown on agricultural land (cropland or pastures). However, in such case deep percolation and runoff of water are reduced, which can lead to overexploitation of fresh water reservoirs. This can be avoided by selecting suitable locations (away from direct accessible fresh water reservoirs) and by limiting the size of the plantations. The impacts on biodiversity are generally favourable compared to conventional crops, but the location of the plantation compared to other vegetation types and the size and harvesting regime of the plantation are important variables

  9. Downregulation of the UDP-arabinomutase gene in switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L. results in increased cell wall lignin while reducing arabinose-glycans

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jonathan Duran Willis

    2016-10-01

    Full Text Available Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L. is a C4 perennial prairie grass and a lignocellulosic biofuels feedstock. Saccharification and biofuel yields are inhibited by the plant cell wall’s natural recalcitrance against enzymatic degradation. Plant hemicellulose polysaccharides such as arabinoxylans structurally support and crosslink other cell wall polymers. Grasses have predominately Type II cell walls that are abundant in arabinoxylan, which comprise nearly 25% of aboveground biomass. A primary component of arabinoxylan synthesis is uridine diphosphate (UDP linked to arabinofuranose (Araf. A family of UDP-arabinopyranose mutase/reversible glycosylated polypeptides (UAM/RGPs catalyze the interconversion between UDP-arabinopyranose (UDP-Arap and UDP-Araf. In switchgrass we knocked down expression of the endogenous PvUAM1 gene via RNAi to investigate its role in cell wall recalcitrance in the feedstock. PvUAM1 encodes a switchgrass homolog of UDP-arabinose mutase, which converts UDP-Arap to UDP-Araf. Each transgenic line contained between one to at least seven T-DNA insertions, resulting in some cases, a 95% reduction of native PvUAM1 transcript in stem internodes. Transgenic plants had increased pigmentation in vascular tissues at nodes, but were otherwise morphologically similar to non-transgenics. There was decreased cell wall-associated arabinose in leaves and stems by over 50%, but there was an increase in cellulose in these organs. In addition, there was a commensurate change in arabinose side chain extension. Cell wall lignin composition was altered with a concurrent increase in lignin content and transcript abundance of lignin biosynthetic genes in mature tillers. Enzymatic saccharification efficiency was unchanged in the transgenic plants relative to the control, but had increased glucose in cell walls. The increased glucose detected in stems and leaves indicates that attenuation of PvUAM1 expression might have downstream effects on starch

  10. Utility of remote sensing-based surface energy balance models to track water stress in rain-fed switchgrass under dry and wet conditions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bhattarai, Nishan; Wagle, Pradeep; Gowda, Prasanna H.; Kakani, Vijaya G.

    2017-11-01

    The ability of remote sensing-based surface energy balance (SEB) models to track water stress in rain-fed switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.) has not been explored yet. In this paper, the theoretical framework of crop water stress index (CWSI; 0 = extremely wet or no water stress condition and 1 = extremely dry or no transpiration) was utilized to estimate CWSI in rain-fed switchgrass using Landsat-derived evapotranspiration (ET) from five remote sensing based single-source SEB models, namely Surface Energy Balance Algorithm for Land (SEBAL), Mapping ET with Internalized Calibration (METRIC), Surface Energy Balance System (SEBS), Simplified Surface Energy Balance Index (S-SEBI), and Operational Simplified Surface Energy Balance (SSEBop). CWSI estimates from the five SEB models and a simple regression model that used normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI), near-surface temperature difference, and measured soil moisture (SM) as covariates were compared with those derived from eddy covariance measured ET (CWSIEC) for the 32 Landsat image acquisition dates during the 2011 (dry) and 2013 (wet) growing seasons. Results indicate that most SEB models can predict CWSI reasonably well. For example, the root mean square error (RMSE) ranged from 0.14 (SEBAL) to 0.29 (SSEBop) and the coefficient of determination (R2) ranged from 0.25 (SSEBop) to 0.72 (SEBAL), justifying the added complexity in CWSI modeling as compared to results from the simple regression model (R2 = 0.55, RMSE = 0.16). All SEB models underestimated CWSI in the dry year but the estimates from SEBAL and S-SEBI were within 7% of the mean CWSIEC and explained over 60% of variations in CWSIEC. In the wet year, S-SEBI mostly overestimated CWSI (around 28%), while estimates from METRIC, SEBAL, SEBS, and SSEBop were within 8% of the mean CWSIEC. Overall, SEBAL was the most robust model under all conditions followed by METRIC, whose performance was slightly worse and better than SEBAL in dry and wet years

  11. Possibilities for Growing Switch-grass (Panicum virgatum as Second Generation Energy Crop in Dry-subhumid, Semiarid and Arid Regions of the Argentina

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Silvia FALASCA

    2017-03-01

    Full Text Available Panicum virgatum (swich-grass is cultivated in some countries to obtain biomass used in the production of heat, fiber, electricity and second generation ethanol. Currently, in Argentina, this species is used for forage and as an ornamental. The aim of this work was to design an agroclimatic zoning model for swich-grass in Argentina, both for upland and lowland ecotypes, based on its bioclimatic requirements and employing a Geography Information System. The variables taken into consideration were: average temperature during growing period and reproductive period, frost free days and rainfall during growing season. This work demonstrated that an ample region of the country is agro-climatically suitable for the implantation of switch-grass in rainfed conditions or with complementary irrigation. The agroclimatic zoning for the upland ecotype shows that suitability reaches latitudes of up to 46ºS, while the lowland ecotype can be grown up to 40ºS. Thornthwaite's Moisture Index equal to zero was overlapped to the Argentinean agroclimatic zoning for upland and lowland types, to obtain the potential growing areas under dry-subhumid, semiarid to arid climates. The areas where switch-grass should be effectively tested are those categorized as optimal, very suitable, suitable, and very suitable/suitable with irrigation, located to the West of TMI equal to zero, which include dry-subhumid (0

  12. Integrated omics analyses reveal the details of metabolic adaptation of Clostridium thermocellum to lignocellulose-derived growth inhibitors released during the deconstruction of switchgrass

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Poudel, Suresh [Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States); Univ. of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN (United States); Giannone, Richard J. [Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States); Rodriguez, Jr., Miguel [Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States); Raman, Babu [Dow Chemical Company, Midland, MI (United States); Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States); Martin, Madhavi Z. [Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States); Engle, Nancy L. [Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States); Mielenz, Jonathan R. [Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States); Nookaew, Intawat [Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States); Univ. of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR (United States); Brown, Steven D. [Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States); Univ. of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN (United States); Tschaplinski, Timothy J. [Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States); Ussery, David W. [Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States); Univ. of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR (United States); Hettich, Robert L. [Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States); Univ. of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN (United States)

    2017-01-10

    Clostridium thermocellum is capable of solubilizing and converting lignocellulosic biomass into ethanol. Though much of the work-to-date has centered on characterizing the organism s metabolism during growth on model cellulosic substrates, such as cellobiose, Avicel, or filter paper, it is vitally important to understand it metabolizes more complex, lignocellulosic substrates to identify relevant industrial bottlenecks that could undermine efficient biofuel production. To this end, we have examined a time course progression of C. thermocellum grown on switchgrass to assess the metabolic and protein changes that occur during the conversion of plant biomass to ethanol. The most striking feature of the metabolome was the observed accumulation of long-chain, branched fatty acids over time, implying an adaptive restructuring of C. thermocellum s cellular membrane as the culture progresses. This is likely a response to the gradual build-up of lignocellulose-derived inhibitory compounds detected as the organism deconstructs the switchgrass to access the embedded cellulose and includes 4-hydroxybenzoic acid, vanillic acid, ferulic acid, p-coumaric acid and vanillin. Corroborating the metabolomics data, proteomic analysis revealed a corresponding time-dependent increase in enzymes involved in the interconversion of branched amino acids valine, leucine and isoleucine to iso- and anteiso-fatty acid precursors. Furthermore, the metabolic accumulation of hemicellulose-derived sugars and sugar-alcohols concomitant with increased abundance of enzymes involved in C5 sugar metabolism / the pentose phosphate pathway, indicate that C. thermocellum either shifts glycolytic intermediates to alternate pathways to modulate overall carbon flux or is simply a response to C5 sugar metabolite pools that build during lignocellulose deconstruction.

  13. Lignocellulose fermentation and residual solids characterization for senescent switchgrass fermentation by Clostridium thermocellum in the presence and absence of continuous in situ ball-milling

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Balch, Michael L.; Holwerda, Evert K.; Davis, Mark F.; Sykes, Robert W.; Happs, Renee M.; Kumar, Rajeev; Wyman, Charles E.; Lynd, Lee R.

    2017-04-12

    Milling during lignocellulosic fermentation, henceforth referred to as cotreatment, is investigated as an alternative to thermochemical pretreatment as a means of enhancing biological solubilization of lignocellulose. We investigate the impact of milling on soluble substrate fermentation by Clostridium thermocellum with comparison to yeast, document solubilization for fermentation of senescent switchgrass with and without ball milling, and characterize residual solids. Soluble substrate fermentation by C. thermocellum proceeded readily in the presence of continuous ball milling but was completely arrested for yeast. Total fractional carbohydrate solubilization achieved after fermentation of senescent switchgrass by C. thermocellum for 5 days was 0.45 without cotreatment or pretreatment, 0.81 with hydrothermal pretreatment (200 degrees C, 15 minutes, severity 4.2), and 0.88 with cotreatment. Acetate and ethanol were the main fermentation products, and were produced at similar ratios with and without cotreatment. Analysis of solid residues was undertaken using molecular beam mass spectrometry (PyMBMS) and solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (NMR) in order to provide insight into changes in plant cell walls during processing via various modes. The structure of lignin present in residual solids remaining after fermentation with cotreatment appeared to change little, with substantially greater changes observed for hydrothermal pretreatment - particularly with respect to formation of C-C bonds. The observation of high solubilization with little apparent modification of the residue is consistent with cotreatment enhancing solubilization primarily by increasing the access of saccharolytic enzymes to the feedstock, and C. thermocellum being able to attack all the major linkages in cellulosic biomass provided that these linkages are accessible.

  14. Selection and validation of reference genes for gene expression analysis in switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) using quantitative real-time RT-PCR.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gimeno, Jacinta; Eattock, Nicholas; Van Deynze, Allen; Blumwald, Eduardo

    2014-01-01

    Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) has received a lot of attention as a forage and bioenergy crop during the past few years. Gene expression studies are in progress to improve new traits and develop new cultivars. Quantitative real time PCR (qRT-PCR) has emerged as an important technique to study gene expression analysis. For accurate and reliable results, normalization of data with reference genes is essential. In this work, we evaluate the stability of expression of genes to use as reference for qRT-PCR in the grass P. virgatum. Eleven candidate reference genes, including eEF-1α, UBQ6, ACT12, TUB6, eIF-4a, GAPDH, SAMDC, TUA6, CYP5, U2AF, and FTSH4, were validated for qRT-PCR normalization in different plant tissues and under different stress conditions. The expression stability of these genes was verified by the use of two distinct algorithms, geNorm and NormFinder. Differences were observed after comparison of the ranking of the candidate reference genes identified by both programs but eEF-1α, eIF-4a, CYP5 and U2AF are ranked as the most stable genes in the samples sets under study. Both programs discard the use of SAMDC and TUA6 for normalization. Validation of the reference genes proposed by geNorm and NormFinder were performed by normalization of transcript abundance of a group of target genes in different samples. Results show similar expression patterns when the best reference genes selected by both programs were used but differences were detected in the transcript abundance of the target genes. Based on the above research, we recommend the use of different statistical algorithms to identify the best reference genes for expression data normalization. The best genes selected in this study will help to improve the quality of gene expression data in a wide variety of samples in switchgrass.

  15. The enhancement by arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi of the Cd remediation ability and bioenergy quality-related factors of five switchgrass cultivars in Cd-contaminated soil

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Hong Sun

    2018-03-01

    Full Text Available A greenhouse experiment was carried out to investigate the effects of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF on the growth, P and Cd concentrations and bioenergy quality-related factors of five cultivars of switchgrass, including three lowland cultivars (Alamo (Ala, Kanlow (Kan, Performer (Per and two highland cultivars (Blackwell (Bw, Summer (Sum, with 0, 1 and 10 mg/kg Cd addition levels. The results showed that AMF inoculation notably increased the biomass and P concentrations of all the cultivars. The Cd concentrations in the roots were higher than those in the shoots of all cultivars irrespective of inoculation, but the AMF had different effects on Cd accumulation in highland and lowland cultivars. AMF inoculation decreased the shoot and root concentrations in Ala and Kan, increased the shoot and root concentrations of Cd in Bw and Sum, and increased shoot Cd concentrations and decreased root Cd concentrations in Per. The highest Cd concentrations were detected in the roots of Bw and in the shoots of Sum with AMF symbiosis. Bw contained the highest total extracted Cd which was primarily in the roots. Ala had the second highest extracted Cd in the shoots, reaching 32% with 1 mg/kg of added Cd, whereas Sum had the lowest extracted Cd. AMF symbiosis had varied effects on bioenergy quality-related factors: for example, AMF decreased the ash lignin content in Ala and the C/N in Sum, increased the nitrogen, gross calorie values, and maintained the hemicellulose and cellulose contents in all cultivars with all tested concentrations of Cd. A principal component analysis (PCA showed that AMF inoculation could enhance, weaken or transform (positive-negative, PC1-PC2 the correlations of these factors with the principle components under Cd stress. Therefore, AMF symbiosis enhanced the growth of different cultivars of switchgrass, increased/decreased Cd accumulation, promoted Cd extraction, and regulated the bioenergy quality-related factors in Cd

  16. Engineered biochar from microwave-assisted catalytic pyrolysis of switchgrass for increasing water-holding capacity and fertility of sandy soil

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Mohamed, Badr A.; Ellis, Naoko; Kim, Chang Soo; Bi, Xiaotao; Emam, Ahmed El-raie

    2016-01-01

    Engineered biochars produced from microwave-assisted catalytic pyrolysis of switchgrass have been evaluated in terms of their ability on improving water holding capacity (WHC), cation exchange capacity (CEC) and fertility of loamy sand soil. The addition of K 3 PO 4 , clinoptilolite and/or bentonite as catalysts during the pyrolysis process increased biochar surface area and plant nutrient contents. Adding biochar produced with 10 wt.% K 3 PO 4 + 10 wt.% clinoptilolite as catalysts to the soil at 2 wt% load increased soil WHC by 98% and 57% compared to the treatments without biochar (control) and with 10 wt.% clinoptilolite, respectively. Synergistic effects on increased soil WHC were manifested for biochars produced from combinations of two additives compared to single additive, which may be the result of increased biochar microporosity due to increased microwave heating rate. Biochar produced from microwave catalytic pyrolysis was more efficient in increasing the soil WHC due to its high porosity in comparison with the biochar produced from conventional pyrolysis at the same conditions. The increases in soil CEC varied widely compared to the control soil, ranging from 17 to 220% for the treatments with biochars produced with 10 wt% clinoptilolite at 400 °C, and 30 wt% K 3 PO 4 at 300 °C, respectively. Strong positive correlations also exist among soil WHC with CEC and biochar micropore area. Biochar from microwave-assisted catalytic pyrolysis appears to be a novel approach for producing biochar with high sorption affinity and high CEC. These catalysts remaining in the biochar product would provide essential nutrients for the growth of bioenergy and food crops. - Highlights: • High quality biochar was made by catalytic pyrolysis in a microwave reactor. • High heating rate and good biochar quality were achieved using K 3 PO 4 and clinoptilolite mixture. • Biochars showed significant increase in soil WHC and CEC. • Microwave catalytic pyrolysis can produce

  17. Engineered biochar from microwave-assisted catalytic pyrolysis of switchgrass for increasing water-holding capacity and fertility of sandy soil.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mohamed, Badr A; Ellis, Naoko; Kim, Chang Soo; Bi, Xiaotao; Emam, Ahmed El-Raie

    2016-10-01

    Engineered biochars produced from microwave-assisted catalytic pyrolysis of switchgrass have been evaluated in terms of their ability on improving water holding capacity (WHC), cation exchange capacity (CEC) and fertility of loamy sand soil. The addition of K3PO4, clinoptilolite and/or bentonite as catalysts during the pyrolysis process increased biochar surface area and plant nutrient contents. Adding biochar produced with 10wt.% K3PO4+10 wt.% clinoptilolite as catalysts to the soil at 2wt% load increased soil WHC by 98% and 57% compared to the treatments without biochar (control) and with 10wt.% clinoptilolite, respectively. Synergistic effects on increased soil WHC were manifested for biochars produced from combinations of two additives compared to single additive, which may be the result of increased biochar microporosity due to increased microwave heating rate. Biochar produced from microwave catalytic pyrolysis was more efficient in increasing the soil WHC due to its high porosity in comparison with the biochar produced from conventional pyrolysis at the same conditions. The increases in soil CEC varied widely compared to the control soil, ranging from 17 to 220% for the treatments with biochars produced with 10wt% clinoptilolite at 400°C, and 30wt% K3PO4 at 300°C, respectively. Strong positive correlations also exist among soil WHC with CEC and biochar micropore area. Biochar from microwave-assisted catalytic pyrolysis appears to be a novel approach for producing biochar with high sorption affinity and high CEC. These catalysts remaining in the biochar product would provide essential nutrients for the growth of bioenergy and food crops. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  18. Engineered biochar from microwave-assisted catalytic pyrolysis of switchgrass for increasing water-holding capacity and fertility of sandy soil

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Mohamed, Badr A. [Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, University of British Columbia, Vancouver BC V6T 1Z3 (Canada); Agricultural Engineering Department, Cairo University, Giza (Egypt); Ellis, Naoko [Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, University of British Columbia, Vancouver BC V6T 1Z3 (Canada); Kim, Chang Soo [Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, University of British Columbia, Vancouver BC V6T 1Z3 (Canada); Clean Energy Research Center, Korea Institute of Science and Technology, 14 gil 5 Hwarang-no Seongbuk-gu, Seoul 136-791 (Korea, Republic of); Bi, Xiaotao, E-mail: tony.bi@ubc.ca [Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, University of British Columbia, Vancouver BC V6T 1Z3 (Canada); Emam, Ahmed El-raie [Agricultural Engineering Department, Cairo University, Giza (Egypt)

    2016-10-01

    Engineered biochars produced from microwave-assisted catalytic pyrolysis of switchgrass have been evaluated in terms of their ability on improving water holding capacity (WHC), cation exchange capacity (CEC) and fertility of loamy sand soil. The addition of K{sub 3}PO{sub 4}, clinoptilolite and/or bentonite as catalysts during the pyrolysis process increased biochar surface area and plant nutrient contents. Adding biochar produced with 10 wt.% K{sub 3}PO{sub 4} + 10 wt.% clinoptilolite as catalysts to the soil at 2 wt% load increased soil WHC by 98% and 57% compared to the treatments without biochar (control) and with 10 wt.% clinoptilolite, respectively. Synergistic effects on increased soil WHC were manifested for biochars produced from combinations of two additives compared to single additive, which may be the result of increased biochar microporosity due to increased microwave heating rate. Biochar produced from microwave catalytic pyrolysis was more efficient in increasing the soil WHC due to its high porosity in comparison with the biochar produced from conventional pyrolysis at the same conditions. The increases in soil CEC varied widely compared to the control soil, ranging from 17 to 220% for the treatments with biochars produced with 10 wt% clinoptilolite at 400 °C, and 30 wt% K{sub 3}PO{sub 4} at 300 °C, respectively. Strong positive correlations also exist among soil WHC with CEC and biochar micropore area. Biochar from microwave-assisted catalytic pyrolysis appears to be a novel approach for producing biochar with high sorption affinity and high CEC. These catalysts remaining in the biochar product would provide essential nutrients for the growth of bioenergy and food crops. - Highlights: • High quality biochar was made by catalytic pyrolysis in a microwave reactor. • High heating rate and good biochar quality were achieved using K{sub 3}PO{sub 4} and clinoptilolite mixture. • Biochars showed significant increase in soil WHC and CEC.

  19. (Pennisetum purpureum Schum) and switchgrass

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    user

    acceptable to the paper industry. The low tear strength values might impact negatively on print room runnability of paper sheets from the two tested species. REFERENCES. Akhtaruzzaman AFM, Shafi M (1995). Pulping of jute. Tappi J., 78: 106-. 112. CPPA (1997). Canadian Pulp and Paper Association. Testing Methods.

  20. Switchgrass leaf area index and light extinction coefficients

    Science.gov (United States)

    Biomass production simulation modeling for plant species is often dependent upon accurate simulation or measurement of canopy light interception and radiation use efficiency. With the recent interest in converting large tracts of land to biofuel species cropping, modeling vegetative yield with grea...

  1. Proteomic responses of switchgrass and prairie cordgrass to senescence

    Science.gov (United States)

    Senescence in biofuel grasses is a critical issue because early senescence decreases potential biomass production by limiting aerial growth and development. 2-Dimensional,differential in-gel electrophoresis (2D-DIGE) followed by mass spectrometry of selected protein spots was used to evaluate differ...

  2. Analysis of Factors Affecting Farmers’ Willingness to Adopt Switchgrass Production

    OpenAIRE

    Qualls, D. Joshua; Jensen, Kimberly L.; English, Burton C.; Larson, James A.; Clark, Christopher D.

    2011-01-01

    In the United States, biomass is the largest source of renewable energy accounting for over 3 percent of the energy consumed domestically and is currently the only source for liquid, renewable, transportation fuels. Continued development of biomass as a renewable energy source is being driven in large part by the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, which mandates that by 2022 at least 36 billion gallons of fuel ethanol be produced, with at least 16 billion gallons being derived from...

  3. Evaluation of biogas production by dry anaerobic digestion of switchgrass-animal manure mixtures

    Science.gov (United States)

    Anaerobic digestion is a biological method used to convert organic wastes into a stable product for land application without adverse environmental effects. The biogas produced can be used as an alternative renewable energy source. Dry anaerobic digestion (> 15% TS; total solid) has an advantage ov...

  4. All washed out? Foliar nutrient resorption and leaching in senescing switchgrass

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ideal bioenergy feedstocks are low in nutrients that act as anti-quality factors during conversion processes. Research has shown that delaying harvest of temperate perennial grasses until late winter reduces nutrient content, primarily due to end-season resorption, but also indicates a role for foli...

  5. Development of Kinetics and Mathematical Models for High Pressure Gasification of Lignite-Switchgrass Blends

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Agrawal, Pradeep K. [Georgia Inst. of Technology, Atlanta, GA (United States). School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

    2016-12-20

    The overall objective of the current project was to investigate the high pressure gasification characteristics of a feed containing both coal and biomass. The two feed types differ in their ash contents and ash composition, particularly the alkali content. Gasification of a combined feed of coal and biomass has the potential for considerable synergies that might lead to a dramatic improvement in process economics and flexibility. The proposed study aimed to develop a detailed understanding of the chemistry, kinetics, and transport effects during high pressure gasification of coal-biomass blend feed. Specifically, we studied to develop: (a) an understanding of the catalytic effect of alkali and other inorganic species present in the biomass and coal, (b) an understanding of processing conditions under which synergistic effects of the blending of coal and biomass might be observed. This included the role of particle size, residence time, and proximity of the two feed types, (c) kinetics of high pressure gasification of individual feeds as well as the blends, and (d) development of mathematical models that incorporate kinetics and transport models to enable prediction of gasification rate at a given set of operating conditions, and (e) protocols to extend the results to other feed resources. The goal was to provide a fundamental understanding of the gasification process and guide in optimizing the configurations and design of the next generation of gasifiers. The approach undertaken was centered on two basic premises: (1) the gasification for small particles without internal mass transfer limitations can be treated as the sum of two processes in series (pyrolysis and char gasification) , and (2) the reactivity of the char generated during pyrolysis not only depends on the pressure and temperature but is also affected by the heating rates. Thus low heating rates (10-50 °C/min) typical of PTGA fail to produce char that would typically be formed at high heating rates (~104 °C/sec), encountered in entrained flow gasifiers. The char morphology, also a function of the heating rate, would influence the transport rates during the char gasification phase. Thus, heating rate plays a critical role through which both, pyrolysis and char gasification, are interconnected. We utilized two complementary gasification experiments: PEFR (pressurized entrained flow gasifier) and PTGA (pressurized thermo-gravimetric analyzer). The PEFR allowed us to study gasification at pressures, temperatures, and heating rates relevant for coal-biomass gasifiers. The PTGA work was useful in understanding the basic chemistry of the evolution of various gaseous species during pyrolysis. These results helped improved our understanding of the chemistry and chemical changes during pyrolysis. The role alkali metals and other inorganics in char gasification using steam and/or CO2 was investigated. Finally, the mathematical models for char gasification without the transport effects were developed at commercial operating conditions.

  6. Engineering Saccharomyces cerevisiae to produce feruloyl esterase for the release of ferulic acid from switchgrass

    Science.gov (United States)

    The Aspergillus niger ferulic acid esterase gene (faeA) was cloned into Saccharomyces cerevisiae via a yeast expression vector, resulting in efficient expression and secretion of the enzyme in the medium. The recombinant enzyme was purified to homogeneity by anion-exchange and hydrophobic interactio...

  7. Comparison of ethanol production from corn cobs and switchgrass following a pyrolysis-based biorefinery approach

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Luque, Luis; Oudenhoven, Stijn; Westerhof, Roel Johannes Maria; van Rossum, G.; Berruti, Franco; Kersten, Sascha R.A.; Rehmann, Lars

    2016-01-01

    Background One of the main obstacles in lignocellulosic ethanol production is the necessity of pretreatment and fractionation of the biomass feedstocks to produce sufficiently pure fermentable carbohydrates. In addition, the by-products (hemicellulose and lignin fraction) are of low value, when

  8. Catalytic co-pyrolysis of switchgrass and polyethylene over HZSM-5: catalyst deactivation and coke formation

    Science.gov (United States)

    When conducted in the presence of a zeolite catalyst such as HZSM-5, fast pyrolysis of biomass can promote the rejection of oxygen and the formation of aromatic hydrocarbons in the organic liquid products. Unfortunately, this pathway removes hydrogen from the already hydrogen deficient biomass start...

  9. Cradle-to-Gate Life Cycle Assessment of Switchgrass Fuel Pellets Manufactured in the Southeastern United States

    Science.gov (United States)

    R. D. Bergman; D. L. Reed; A. M. Taylor; D. P. Harper; D. G. Hodges

    2015-01-01

    Developing renewable energy sources with low environmental impacts is becoming increasingly important as concerns about consuming fossil fuel sources grow. Cultivating, harvesting, drying, and densifying raw biomass feedstocks into pellets for easy handling and transport is one step forward in this endeavor. However, the corresponding environmental performances must be...

  10. Impact of switchgrass biochars with supplemental nitrogen on carbon-nitrogen mineralization in highly weathered Coastal Plain Ultisols

    Science.gov (United States)

    Although an increase in soil fertility is the most frequently reported benefit linked to adding biochar to soils, there is still a need to pursue additional research that will improve our understanding on the impact of soil fertility enhancement because the effect could vary greatly between switchgr...

  11. Energy and emission benefits of alternative transportation liquid fuels derived from switchgrass: a fuel life cycle assessment.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wu, May; Wu, Ye; Wang, Michael

    2006-01-01

    We conducted a mobility chains, or well-to-wheels (WTW), analysis to assess the energy and emission benefits of cellulosic biomass for the U.S. transportation sector in the years 2015-2030. We estimated the life-cycle energy consumption and emissions associated with biofuel production and use in light-duty vehicle (LDV) technologies by using the Greenhouse gases, Regulated Emissions, and Energy use in Transportation (GREET) model. Analysis of biofuel production was based on ASPEN Plus model simulation of an advanced fermentation process to produce fuel ethanol/protein, a thermochemical process to produce Fischer-Tropsch diesel (FTD) and dimethyl ether (DME), and a combined heat and power plant to co-produce steam and electricity. Our study revealed that cellulosic biofuels as E85 (mixture of 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline by volume), FTD, and DME offer substantial savings in petroleum (66-93%) and fossil energy (65-88%) consumption on a per-mile basis. Decreased fossil fuel use translates to 82-87% reductions in greenhouse gas emissions across all unblended cellulosic biofuels. In urban areas, our study shows net reductions for almost all criteria pollutants, with the exception of carbon monoxide (unchanged), for each of the biofuel production option examined. Conventional and hybrid electric vehicles, when fueled with E85, could reduce total sulfur oxide (SO(x)) emissions to 39-43% of those generated by vehicles fueled with gasoline. By using bio-FTD and bio-DME in place of diesel, SO(x) emissions are reduced to 46-58% of those generated by diesel-fueled vehicles. Six different fuel production options were compared. This study strongly suggests that integrated heat and power co-generation by means of gas turbine combined cycle is a crucial factor in the energy savings and emission reductions.

  12. Seasonal switchgrass ecotype contributions to soil organic carbon, deep soil microbial community composition and rhizodeposit uptake during an extreme drought

    Science.gov (United States)

    The importance of rhizodeposit C and associated microbial communities in deep soil C stabilization is relatively unknown. Phenotypic variability in plant root biomass could impact C cycling through belowground plant allocation, rooting architecture, and microbial community abundance and composition...

  13. Biomass power for rural development. Quarterly report, July 3--December 4, 1997

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Cooper, J.T.

    1998-03-01

    This paper describes progress in several projects related to biomass power. These include switchgrass conversion development; switchgrass gasification development; production activities including soil studies, carbon studies, switchgrass production economics, watershed impacts, and prairie lands bio-products; information and education; and geographical information system. Attachments describe switchgrass co-firing test; switchgrass production in Iowa; cooperative agreements with ISU; Rathbun Lake watershed project; newspaper articles and information publications; Secretary of Agriculture Glickman`s visit; integration of technical aspects of switchgrass production in Iowa; and evaluation of an integrated biomass gasification/fuel cell power plant.

  14. Developing Association Mapping in Polyploid Perennial Biofuel Grasses: Final Technical Report

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Buckler, Edward S; Casler, Michael D; Cherney, Jerome H

    2012-01-20

    This project had six objectives, four of which have been completed: 1) Association panels of diverse populations and linkage populations for switchgrass and reed canarygrass (~1,000 clones each) were assembled and planted in two sites (Ithaca, NY and Arlington, WI); 2) Key biofeedstock characteristics were evaluated in these panels for three field seasons; 3) High density SNP markers were developed in switchgrass; and 4) Switchgrass association panels and linkage populations were genotyped. The remaining two original objectives will be met in the next year, as the analyses are completed and papers published: 5) Switchgrass population structure and germplasm diversity will be evaluated; and 6) Association mapping will be established and marker based breeding values estimated in switchgrass. We also completed a study of the chromosome-number variation found in switchgrass.

  15. Carbon Calculator for Land Use Change from Biofuels Production (CCLUB). Users' Manual and Technical Documentation

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Dunn, Jennifer B. [Argonne National Lab. (ANL), Argonne, IL (United States); Qin, Zhangcai [Argonne National Lab. (ANL), Argonne, IL (United States); Mueller, Steffen [Univ. of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL (United States); Kwon, Ho-young [International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), Washington, DC (United States); Wander, Michelle M. [Univ. of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, IL (United States); Wang, Michael [Argonne National Lab. (ANL), Argonne, IL (United States)

    2014-09-01

    The Carbon Calculator for Land Use Change from Biofuels Production (CCLUB) calculates carbon emissions from land use change (LUC) for four different ethanol production pathways including corn grain ethanol and cellulosic ethanol from corn stover, Miscanthus, and switchgrass. This document discusses the version of CCLUB released September 30, 2014 which includes corn and three cellulosic feedstocks: corn stover, Miscanthus, and switchgrass.

  16. Distribution models for Panicum virgatum (Poaceae) reveal an expanded range in present and future climate regimes in the northeastern United States.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ahrens, Collin W; Meyer, Thomas H; Auer, Carol A

    2014-11-01

    Expanded area cultivated with the bioenergy crop Panicum virgatum (switchgrass) could alter the genetics of native populations through gene flow, so understanding current and future species distribution is a first step toward estimating ecological impacts. We surveyed switchgrass distribution in the northeastern United States and generated statistical models to address hypotheses about current distribution relative to historical records and responses to climate change. Surveys were conducted on 1600 km of road verges along environmental gradients. Switchgrass abundance became the training data for two multivariate generalized linear models that generated maps representing the probability of switchgrass in road verges. Models were evaluated and the superior model was used with variables from three climate change scenarios for 2050 and 2099. Switchgrass populations were found in 41% of roadside plots and up to 188 km from the coast. The environmental variables temperature, urban areas, and sandy soils were positively correlated with switchgrass presence, while elevation, soil pH, and distance to the coast were negatively correlated. The model without spatial autocorrelation performed better. Models and maps incorporating climate change predictions showed a sharp northward shift in suitable habitat. Switchgrass populations in the northeastern United States occur on inland road verges, supporting the idea that species distribution has expanded relative to historical descriptions of a restricted coastal habitat. The optimal model showed that mean temperature, elevation, and urban development were important in switchgrass distribution today, and climate change will increase suitable habitat for future bioenergy production and wild populations. © 2014 Botanical Society of America, Inc.

  17. Biomass power for rural development. Quarterly report, January 1--April 2, 1998

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Cooper, J.T.

    1998-07-01

    During the period of January 2 to April 2, 1998, efforts revolved around the design of the switchgrass materials handling/feeding system for the co-fire test and permanent system, the development of a revised statement of work and budget for fiscal years 1998--1999 and, the continuation of farmer/land conversion, and public relations efforts. The weather continues to be a major problem with an unprecedented warm winter. Much of Iowa has had little or no frost in the ground. This lack of frost has prevented farmers from getting into their fields and harvesting switchgrass. Farmers are hesitant to drive processing equipment into unfrozen fields due to the large ruts left by the wheels. The producers group has continued to gather information and develop resources necessary to supply the switchgrass to the facility in a competitive manner. Information and contacts are starting to be gathered which will help establish a market for the dedicated biomass generated electricity. The report describes the progress in the following tasks: Switchgrass conversion development including fuel analysis and engineering; Production activities which include: soil studies, carbon studies, switchgrass production economics, and switchgrass yield improvements; Information and education; and Miscellaneous which includes legislation and regulatory activities. Appendices contain the following: Switchgrass sample analysis; Chariton Valley biomass project cooperator agreement; Soil and landscape characterization status report for switchgrass project; Agreement with Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research; A literature review of reed canarygrass utility for biomass; Prairie Lands Bio-Products, Inc. agenda; Feasibility analysis and cooperative structure for value-added switchgrass products; and Information and education efforts.

  18. Historic Archaeology of the Johnson (41DN248) and Jones (41DN250) Farmsteads in the Ray Roberts Lake Area: 1850-1950

    Science.gov (United States)

    1996-08-15

    were favorable (Hill 1887) . Present-day dominants, Texas stipa (Stipa leucotricha ) and silver bluestem (Andropogon saccharoides), may have been...Indian grass, switchgrass, sideoats grama, hairy grama (Bouteloua hirsuta), tall dropseed (Sporobolus asr) and Texas wintergrasf (.. leucotricha

  19. Fermentation characteristics and nutritive value of low moisture ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    Fermentation characteristics and nutritive value of low moisture silage made from mature bermudagrass ( C. dactylon ) and switchgrass ( P. virgatum ) in mixture with alfalfa ( M. sativa ) or treated with urea and plantain ( Musa AAB )

  20. Nutrient uptake of ornamental plants exposed to arsenic in hydroponic solution

    Science.gov (United States)

    Arsenic-based agro-chemicals have contaminated considerable acreage on turf-farms, orchards, and around horticultural production structures. A study was undertaken to evaluate iris (Iris virginica), switchgrass (Panicum virgatum), Tithonia rotundiflora, Coreopsis lanceolata, Sunflower (Helianthus an...

  1. Carbon Calculator for Land Use Change from Biofuels Production (CCLUB) Users’ Manual and Technical Documentation

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Dunn, Jennifer B. [Argonne National Lab. (ANL), Argonne, IL (United States). Energy Systems Division; Qin, Zhangcai [Argonne National Lab. (ANL), Argonne, IL (United States). Energy Systems Division; Mueller, Steffen [Univ. of Illinois, Chicago, IL (United States). Energy Resources Center; Kwon, Ho-young [International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), Washington, DC (United States); Wander, Michelle M. [Univ. of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, Urbana, IL (United States). Dept. of Natural Resources; Wang, Michael [Argonne National Lab. (ANL), Argonne, IL (United States). Energy Systems Division

    2016-09-01

    The $\\underline{C}$arbon $\\underline{C}$alculator for $\\underline{L}$and $\\underline{U}$se Change from $\\underline{B}$iofuels Production (CCLUB) calculates carbon emissions from land use change (LUC) for four different ethanol production pathways including corn grain ethanol and cellulosic ethanol from corn stover, Miscanthus, and switchgrass. This document discusses the version of CCLUB released September 30, 2014 which includes corn and three cellulosic feedstocks: corn stover, Miscanthus, and switchgrass.

  2. Biomass power for rural development. Quarterly report, September 23, 1996--December 31, 1996

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Cooper, J.T.

    1997-02-01

    Goals for the biomass power for rural development include: expanded feedstock research and demonstration activities to provide soil-specific production costs and yield data, as well as better methods for harvest and transport; four thousand acres of feedstock available for fueling a commercial venture; comparison of the feasibility of gasification and cocombustion; designs for on-site switchgrass handling and feeding system; a detailed assessment of utilizing switchgrass for gasification and cocombustion to generate electricity using turbines and fuel cells.

  3. Mapping marginal croplands suitable for cellulosic feedstock crops in the Great Plains, United States

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gu, Yingxin; Wylie, Bruce K.

    2016-01-01

    Growing cellulosic feedstock crops (e.g., switchgrass) for biofuel is more environmentally sustainable than corn-based ethanol. Specifically, this practice can reduce soil erosion and water quality impairment from pesticides and fertilizer, improve ecosystem services and sustainability (e.g., serve as carbon sinks), and minimize impacts on global food supplies. The main goal of this study was to identify high-risk marginal croplands that are potentially suitable for growing cellulosic feedstock crops (e.g., switchgrass) in the US Great Plains (GP). Satellite-derived growing season Normalized Difference Vegetation Index, a switchgrass biomass productivity map obtained from a previous study, US Geological Survey (USGS) irrigation and crop masks, and US Department of Agriculture (USDA) crop indemnity maps for the GP were used in this study. Our hypothesis was that croplands with relatively low crop yield but high productivity potential for switchgrass may be suitable for converting to switchgrass. Areas with relatively low crop indemnity (crop indemnity ecosystem services and the sustainability of cropland systems in the GP. Results from this study provide useful information to land managers for making informed decisions regarding switchgrass development in the GP.

  4. Using satellite vegetation and compound topographic indices to map highly erodible cropland buffers for cellulosic biofuel crop developments in eastern Nebraska, USA

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gu, Yingxin; Wylie, Bruce K.

    2015-01-01

    Cultivating annual row crops in high topographic relief waterway buffers has negative environmental effects and can be environmentally unsustainable. Growing perennial grasses such as switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.) for biomass (e.g., cellulosic biofuel feedstocks) instead of annual row crops in these high relief waterway buffers can improve local environmental conditions (e.g., reduce soil erosion and improve water quality through lower use of fertilizers and pesticides) and ecosystem services (e.g., minimize drought and flood impacts on production; improve wildlife habitat, plant vigor, and nitrogen retention due to post-senescence harvest for cellulosic biofuels; and serve as carbon sinks). The main objectives of this study are to: (1) identify cropland areas with high topographic relief (high runoff potentials) and high switchgrass productivity potential in eastern Nebraska that may be suitable for growing switchgrass, and (2) estimate the total switchgrass production gain from the potential biofuel areas. Results indicate that about 140,000 hectares of waterway buffers in eastern Nebraska are suitable for switchgrass development and the total annual estimated switchgrass biomass production for these suitable areas is approximately 1.2 million metric tons. The resulting map delineates high topographic relief croplands and provides useful information to land managers and biofuel plant investors to make optimal land use decisions regarding biofuel crop development and ecosystem service optimization in eastern Nebraska.

  5. Microbial nitrogen cycling response to forest-based bioenergy production.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Minick, Kevan J; Strahm, Brian D; Fox, Thomas R; Sucre, Eric B; Leggett, Zakiya H

    2015-12-01

    Concern over rising atmospheric CO2 and other greenhouse gases due to fossil fuel combustion has intensified research into carbon-neutral energy production. Approximately 15.8 million ha of pine plantations exist across the southeastern United States, representing a vast land area advantageous for bioenergy production without significant landuse change or diversion of agricultural resources from food production. Furthermore, intercropping of pine with bioenergy grasses could provide annually harvestable, lignocellulosic biomass feedstocks along with production of traditional wood products. Viability of such a system hinges in part on soil nitrogen (N) availability and effects of N competition between pines and grasses on ecosystem productivity. We investigated effects of intercropping loblolly pine (Pinus taeda) with switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) on microbial N cycling processes in the Lower Coastal Plain of North Carolina, USA. Soil samples were collected from bedded rows of pine and interbed space of two treatments, composed of either volunteer native woody and herbaceous vegetation (pine-native) or pure switchgrass (pine-switchgrass) in interbeds. An in vitro 15N pool-dilution technique was employed to quantify gross N transformations at two soil depths (0-5 and 5-15 cm) on four dates in 2012-2013. At the 0-5 cm depth in beds of the pine-switchgrass treatment, gross N mineralization was two to three times higher in November and February compared to the pine-native treatment, resulting in increased NH4(+) availability. Gross and net nitrification were also significantly higher in February in the same pine beds. In interbeds of the pine-switchgrass treatment, gross N mineralization was lower from April to November, but higher in February, potentially reflecting positive effects of switchgrass root-derived C inputs during dormancy on microbial activity. These findings indicate soil N cycling and availability has increased in pine beds of the pine-switchgrass

  6. Biosphere-atmosphere exchange of volatile organic compounds over C4 biofuel crops

    Science.gov (United States)

    Graus, Martin; Eller, Allyson S. D.; Fall, Ray; Yuan, Bin; Qian, Yaling; Westra, Philip; de Gouw, Joost; Warneke, Carsten

    2013-02-01

    Significant amounts of ethanol are produced from biofuel crops such as corn and, in the future, likely switchgrass. The atmospheric effects of growing these plant species on a large scale are investigated here by measuring the plant-atmosphere exchange of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Field grown corn and switchgrass emit VOCs at flux rates of 4.4 nmolC m-2 s-1 (10-9 mol carbon per square meter leaf area per second) and 2.4 nmolC m-2 s-1, respectively. Methanol contributes ˜60% to the molar flux but small emissions of carbonyls, aromatic compounds and terpenoids are relatively more important for potential air quality impacts. Switchgrass can act as a sink for carbonyls and aromatic compounds with compensation points of a few hundred pptv. In switchgrass moderate drought stress may induce enhanced emissions of monoterpenes, carbonyls and aromatics. Per liter of fuel ethanol produced, the estimated VOC emissions associated with the biomass growth of corn (7.8 g l-1) or switchgrass (6.2 g l-1) are in the same range as the VOC emissions from the use of one liter gasoline in vehicle engines. VOC emissions from the growing of biofuel crops can therefore be a significant contributor to the VOC emissions in the life cycle of biofuels. The VOC emissions from corn and switchgrass are small compared to those of tree species suggested as biofuel crops. Due to their reactivity with respect to OH the emissions from corn and switchgrass are not likely to have a significant impact on regional ozone formation.

  7. Stochastic optimization of a multi-feedstock lignocellulosic-based bioethanol supply chain under multiple uncertainties

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Osmani, Atif; Zhang, Jun

    2013-01-01

    An integrated multi-feedstock (i.e. switchgrass and crop residue) lignocellulosic-based bioethanol supply chain is studied under jointly occurring uncertainties in switchgrass yield, crop residue purchase price, bioethanol demand and sales price. A two-stage stochastic mathematical model is proposed to maximize expected profit by optimizing the strategic and tactical decisions. A case study based on ND (North Dakota) state in the U.S. demonstrates that in a stochastic environment it is cost effective to meet 100% of ND's annual gasoline demand from bioethanol by using switchgrass as a primary and crop residue as a secondary biomass feedstock. Although results show that the financial performance is degraded as variability of the uncertain parameters increases, the proposed stochastic model increasingly outperforms the deterministic model under uncertainties. The locations of biorefineries (i.e. first-stage integer variables) are insensitive to the uncertainties. Sensitivity analysis shows that “mean” value of stochastic parameters has a significant impact on the expected profit and optimal values of first-stage continuous variables. Increase in level of mean ethanol demand and mean sale price results in higher bioethanol production. When mean switchgrass yield is at low level and mean crop residue price is at high level, all the available marginal land is used for switchgrass cultivation. - Highlights: • Two-stage stochastic MILP model for maximizing profit of a multi-feedstock lignocellulosic-based bioethanol supply chain. • Multiple uncertainties in switchgrass yield, crop residue purchase price, bioethanol demand, and bioethanol sale price. • Proposed stochastic model outperforms the traditional deterministic model under uncertainties. • Stochastic parameters significantly affect marginal land allocation for switchgrass cultivation and bioethanol production. • Location of biorefineries is found to be insensitive to the stochastic environment

  8. Soil physical and hydrological properties under three biofuel crops in Ohio

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Bonin, Catherine [Ohio State University; Lal, Dr. Rattan [Ohio State University; Schmitz, Matthias [Rheinsche Friedrich/Wilhelms Universitaet Boon; Wullschleger, Stan D [ORNL

    2012-01-01

    While biofuel crops are widely studied and compared for their energy and carbon footprints, less is known about their effects on other soil properties, particularly hydrologic characteristics. Soils under three biofuel crops, corn (Zea mays), switchgrass (Panicum virgatum), and willow (Salix spp.), were analyzed seven years after establishment to assess the effects on soil bulk density ({rho}{sub b}), penetration resistance (PR), water-holding capacity, and infiltration characteristics. The PR was the highest under corn, along with the lowest associated water content, while PR was 50-60% lower under switchgrass. In accordance with PR data, surface (0-10 cm) bulk density also tended to be lower under switchgrass. Both water infiltration rates and cumulative infiltration amounts varied widely among and within the three crops. Because the Philip model did not fit the data, results were analyzed using the Kostiakov model instead. Switchgrass plots had an average cumulative infiltration of 69 cm over 3 hours with a constant infiltration rate of 0.28 cm min{sup -1}, compared with 37 cm and 0.11 cm min{sup -1} for corn, and 26 cm and 0.06 cm min{sup -1} for willow, respectively. Results suggest that significant changes in soil physical and hydrologic properties may require more time to develop. Soils under switchgrass may have lower surface bulk density, higher field water capacity, and a more rapid water infiltration rate than those under corn or willow.

  9. Soil physical and hydrological properties under three biofuel crops in Ohio

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Bonin, Catherine; Lal, Rattan [The Ohio State Univ., School of Environment and Natural Resources, Carbon Management and Sequestration Center, Columbus, OH (United States); Schmitz, Matthias [Rheinische Friedrich/Wilhelms-Universitaet Bonn, Steinmann Institut fuer Geologie, Mineralogie und Palaeontologie, Bonn (Germany); Wullschleger, S. [The Oakridge National Lab., Oakridge, TN (United States)

    2012-10-15

    While biofuel crops are widely studied and compared for their energy and carbon footprints, less is known about their effects on other soil properties, particularly hydrologic characteristics. Soils under three biofuel crops, corn (Zea mays), switchgrass (Panicum virgatum), and willow (Salix spp.), were analyzed seven years after establishment to assess the effects on soil bulk density ({rho}{sub b}), penetration resistance (PR), water-holding capacity, and infiltration characteristics. The PR was the highest under corn, along with the lowest associated water content, while PR was 50-60 % lower under switchgrass. In accordance with PR data, surface (0-10 cm) bulk density also tended to be lower under switchgrass. Both water infiltration rates and cumulative infiltration amounts varied widely among and within the three crops. Because the Philip model did not fit the data, results were analyzed using the Kostiakov model instead. Switchgrass plots had an average cumulative infiltration of 69 cm over 3 hours with a constant infiltration rate of 0.28 cm min{sup -1}, compared with 37 cm and 0.11 cm min{sup -1} for corn, and 26 cm and 0.06 cm min{sup -1} for willow, respectively. Results suggest that significant changes in soil physical and hydrologic properties may require more time to develop. Soils under switchgrass may have lower surface bulk density, higher field water capacity, and a more rapid water infiltration rate than those under corn or willow.

  10. Comparative data on effects of leading pretreatments and enzyme loadings and formulations on sugar

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Wyman, Charles [Univ. of California, Riverside, CA (United States); Balan, Venkatech [Michigan State Univ., East Lansing, MI (United States); Dale, Bruce E. [Michigan State Univ., East Lansing, MI (United States); Elander, Richard [National Renewable Energy Lab. (NREL), Golden, CO (United States); Falls, Matthew [Texas A & M Univ., College Station, TX (United States); Hames, Bonnie [Ceres Corporation, Thousand Oaks, CA (United States); Holtzapple, Mark [Texas A & M Univ., College Station, TX (United States); Ladisch, Michael R. [Purdue Univ., West Lafayette, IN (United States); Lee, Y. Y. [Auburn Univ., AL (United States); Mosier, Nathan [Purdue Univ., West Lafayette, IN (United States); Pallapolu, Venkata R. [Auburn Univ., AL (United States); Shi, Jian [Univ. of California, Riverside, CA (United States); Warner, Ryan E. [Genencor, Palo Alto, CA (United States)

    2011-06-16

    Dilute sulfuric acid (DA), sulfur dioxide (SO2), liquid hot water (LHW), soaking in aqueous ammonia (SAA), ammonia fiber expansion (AFEX), and lime pretreatments were applied to Alamo, Dacotah, and Shawnee switchgrass. Application of the same analytical methods and material balance approaches facil-itated meaningful comparisons of glucose and xylose yields from combined pretreatment and enzymatic hydrolysis. Use of a common supply of cellulase, beta-glucosidase, and xylanase also eased comparisons. All pretreatments enhanced sugar recovery from pretreatment and subsequent enzymatic hydrolysis substantially compared to untreated switchgrass. Adding beta-glucosidase was effective early in enzy-matic hydrolysis while cellobiose levels were high but had limited effect on longer term yields at the enzyme loadings applied. Adding xylanase improved yields most for higher pH pretreatments where more xylan was left in the solids. Harvest time had more impact on performance than switchgrass variety, and microscopy showed changes in different features could impact performance by different pretreatments.

  11. Predicted avian responses to bioenergy development scenarios in an intensive agricultural landscape

    Science.gov (United States)

    Uden, Daniel R.; Allen, Craig R.; Mitchell, Rob B.; McCoy, Tim D.; Guan, Qingfeng

    2015-01-01

    Conversion of native prairie to agriculture has increased food and bioenergy production but decreased wildlife habitat. However, enrollment of highly erodible cropland in conservation programs has compensated for some grassland loss. In the future, climate change and production of second-generation perennial biofuel crops could further transform agricultural landscapes and increase or decrease grassland area. Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) is an alternative biofuel feedstock that may be economically and environmentally superior to maize (Zea mays) grain for ethanol production on marginally productive lands. Switchgrass could benefit farmers economically and increase grassland area, but there is uncertainty as to how conversions between rowcrops, switchgrass monocultures and conservation grasslands might occur and affect wildlife. To explore potential impacts on grassland birds, we developed four agricultural land-use change scenarios for an intensively cultivated landscape, each driven by potential future climatic changes and ensuing irrigation limitations, ethanol demand, commodity prices, and continuation of a conservation program. For each scenario, we calculated changes in area for landcover classes and predicted changes in grassland bird abundances. Overall, birds responded positively to the replacement of rowcrops with switchgrass and negatively to the conversion of conservation grasslands to switchgrass or rowcrops. Landscape context and interactions between climate, crop water use, and irrigation availability could influence future land-use, and subsequently, avian habitat quality and quantity. Switchgrass is likely to provide higher quality avian habitat than rowcrops but lower quality habitat than conservation grasslands, and therefore, may most benefit birds in heavily cultivated, irrigation dependent landscapes under warmer and drier conditions, where economic profitability may also encourage conversions to drought tolerant bioenergy feedstocks.

  12. Alternative Crops and Biofuel Production

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Kenkel, Philip [Oklahoma State Univ., Stillwater, OK (United States); Holcomb, Rodney B. [Oklahoma State Univ., Stillwater, OK (United States)

    2013-03-01

    In order for the biofuel industry to meet the RFS benchmarks for biofuels, new feedstock sources and production systems will have to be identified and evaluated. The Southern Plains has the potential to produce over a billion gallons of biofuels from regionally produced alternative crops, agricultural residues, and animal fats. While information on biofuel conversion processes is available, it is difficult for entrepreneurs, community planners and other interested individuals to determine the feasibility of biofuel processes or to match production alternatives with feed stock availability and community infrastructure. This project facilitates the development of biofuel production from these regionally available feed stocks. Project activities are concentrated in five major areas. The first component focused on demonstrating the supply of biofuel feedstocks. This involves modeling the yield and cost of production of dedicated energy crops at the county level. In 1991 the DOE selected switchgrass as a renewable source to produce transportation fuel after extensive evaluations of many plant species in multiple location (Caddel et al,. 2010). However, data on the yield and cost of production of switchgrass are limited. This deficiency in demonstrating the supply of biofuel feedstocks was addressed by modeling the potential supply and geographic variability of switchgrass yields based on relationship of available switchgrass yields to the yields of other forage crops. This model made it possible to create a database of projected switchgrass yields for five different soil types at the county level. A major advantage of this methodology is that the supply projections can be easily updated as improved varieties of switchgrass are developed and additional yield data becomes available. The modeling techniques are illustrated using the geographic area of Oklahoma. A summary of the regional supply is then provided.

  13. Modifying a Cow-Calf Biophysical Simulation Model for Analyses of Alternative Enterprises

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lutes, Jennifer L.

    Cow-calf producers in the United States, tasked with providing beef calves for the beef industry, have had a multitude of difficulties to overcome in recent years. Producers in northwest Arkansas were negatively impacted by high hay prices coupled with low beef cattle market prices due to severe drought experienced in portions of 2010, 2011, and 2012. During this time they also faced high grain prices, due to a record low harvest, combined with portions of the corn harvest diverted from human and animal feed to ethanol production. Tight lending policies of this time, reminiscent of the housing market crash in 2008, along with the negative public attention associated with high levels of greenhouse gas emissions associated with beef production, lead to a tough situation for cattle producers faced with increasing input costs, decreased revenue, and lack of access to loans. With these issues in mind, this research aimed to determine if incorporating switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) production on a cow-calf farm could serve to increase net returns, decrease income volatility, lower net greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions without decreasing beef output, and provide a viable source of feedstock for a potential bio-refinery. The study determined that switchgrass is a potential solution to these problems and thus aimed to discover differences in switchgrass supply under different government policies in four northwestern counties in Arkansas to an as-yet, non-existent bio-refinery. It was determined that growing switchgrass on pastureland, once devoted to cow-calf production, is a viable enterprise diversification tool that under the right conditions could be used to improve producer financial and environmental outcomes. However, bioenergy production is slow to gain traction in the US due to adverse market conditions from low fossil fuel prices. Thus, in the US, there are only a few bio-refineries currently online and accepting lignocellulosic biomass, however none of them are

  14. Transport biofuel yields from food and lignocellulosic C{sub 4} crops

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Reijnders, L. [IBED University of Amsterdam, Nieuwe Achtergracht 166, 1018 WV Amsterdam (Netherlands)

    2010-01-15

    In the near future, the lignocellulosic C{sub 4} crops Miscanthus and switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) are unlikely to outcompete sugarcane (Saccharum officinarum) in net energetic yearly yield of transport biofuel ha{sup -1}. This holds both for the thermochemical conversion into liquid hydrocarbons and the enzymatic conversion into ethanol. Currently, Miscanthus and switchgrass would also not seem able to outcompete corn (Zea mays) in net energetic yearly yield of liquid transport biofuel ha{sup -1}, but further development of these lignocellulosic crops may gradually lead to a different outcome. (author)

  15. Biofuel intercropping effects on soil carbon and microbial activity.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Strickland, Michael S; Leggett, Zakiya H; Sucre, Eric B; Bradford, Mark A

    2015-01-01

    Biofuels will help meet rising demands for energy and, ideally, limit climate change associated with carbon losses from the biosphere to atmosphere. Biofuel management must therefore maximize energy production and maintain ecosystem carbon stocks. Increasingly, there is interest in intercropping biofuels with other crops, partly because biofuel production on arable land might reduce availability and increase the price of food. One intercropping approach involves growing biofuel grasses in forest plantations. Grasses differ from trees in both their organic inputs to soils and microbial associations. These differences are associated with losses of soil carbon when grasses become abundant in forests. We investigated how intercropping switchgrass (Panicum virgalum), a major candidate for cellulosic biomass production, in loblolly pine (Pinus taeda) plantations affects soil carbon, nitrogen, and microbial dynamics. Our design involved four treatments: two pine management regimes where harvest residues (i.e., biomass) were left in place or removed, and two switchgrass regimes where the grass was grown with pine under the same two biomass scenarios (left or removed). Soil variables were measured in four 1-ha replicate plots in the first and second year following switchgrass planting. Under switchgrass intercropping, pools of mineralizable and particulate organic matter carbon were 42% and 33% lower, respectively. These declines translated into a 21% decrease in total soil carbon in the upper 15 cm of the soil profile, during early stand development. The switchgrass effect, however, was isolated to the interbed region where switchgrass is planted. In these regions, switchgrass-induced reductions in soil carbon pools with 29%, 43%, and 24% declines in mineralizable, particulate, and total soil carbon, respectively. Our results support the idea that grass inputs to forests can prime the activity of soil organic carbon degrading microbes, leading to net reductions in stocks

  16. Biomass power for rural development. Quarterly report, July 1--September 30, 1998

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Cooper, J.T.

    1998-10-01

    In this quarter a large amount of time was spent doing project planning and budget preparation for the fiscal years 1998 and 1999. Many issues of long-term strategic planning and budgeting depend on the availability of Federal support, including financial, technical and political. It has become increasingly obvious that several significant barriers must be overcome in order to reach the final project goal of commercial replication of the technology. This report describes switchgrass conversion development, production activities, environmental analysis planning, and information and education. Appendices discuss the biomass project, sediment delivery, successful establishment of switchgrass, and legislative support for the biomass project.

  17. Calibrating your grain drill or seeder can save both seed and money

    Science.gov (United States)

    The agronomic impact of over-seeding or under-seeding a field is complex. Most farmers have worked out a seeding rate with their agronomist. Exceeding that rate may not be productive, especially at $265+ per bag of alfalfa ($500 for switchgrass). Over-seeding costs add up, even across a small number...

  18. Transport biofuel yields from food and lignocellulosic C4 crops

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Reijnders, L.

    2010-01-01

    In the near future, the lignocellulosic C4 crops Miscanthus and switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) are unlikely to outcompete sugarcane (Saccharum officinarum) in net energetic yearly yield of transport biofuel ha(-1). This holds both for the thermochemical conversion into liquid hydrocarbons and the

  19. The water quality and quantity effects of biofuel operations in pine plantations of the southeastern USA

    Science.gov (United States)

    J. Nettles; M. Youssef; J. Cacho; J. Grace; Z. Leggett; E. Sucre

    2011-01-01

    Working alongside operational trials, a comprehensive research programme was developed to evaluate sustainability, life-cycle analysis, soil productivity, wildlife, and water resource impacts. The hydrology field studies consist of three sets of forested watersheds, each with mid-rotation pine reference, switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) interplanted, typical...

  20. Impacts of managing perennial grasses in the northern Midwest United States for bioenergy on soil organic C and nitrous oxide emission

    Science.gov (United States)

    In the USA perennial grasses [e.g., switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.) and big bluestem (Andropogon gerdardii Vitman)] are proposed as cellulosic feedstock. Perennial grasses are often touted as being low input and as having a C-neutral foot print, but managing them as bioenergy feedstock means addin...

  1. 7 CFR 1436.3 - Definitions.

    Science.gov (United States)

    2010-01-01

    ... determines cannot be sold and moved to a new location because of the type of construction involved or because... switchgrass), other plants and trees (excluding old-growth timber), algae, crop residue (including, but not... (including, but not limited to, wood waste, wood residues, and food and yard waste) used for the production...

  2. Monitoring growth and yield of crops grown as biofuels

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Christian, D.G.; Riche, A.R.; Yates, N.E.

    1999-07-01

    This report summarises the findings of the second phase of a study monitoring the growth and yield of miscanthus grass, switchgrass, spartina grass, reed canary grass, rye, perennial rye, willow and poplar. Details are given of the agronomic management, fertiliser applications, cumulative yields of the best treatments and varieties (1993-1999), and the mineral content of the biomass. (UK)

  3. Establishing fuel specifications of non-wood biomass crops

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Christian, D.G.; Riche, A.B.

    1999-07-01

    Six grasses were selected for evaluation as biomass energy crops. The species were planted at the same site in the same year so that differences due to soil quality and climate could be eliminated from the comparison. The species planted were Miscanthus, switchgrass, Spartina grass, reed canary-grass and rye. All species except rye are rhizomatous perennials. Rye is an annual. (author)

  4. The effect of five biomass cropping systems on soil-saturated hydraulic conductivity across a topographic gradient

    Science.gov (United States)

    Usman Anwar; Lisa A. Schulte; Matthew Helmers; Randall K. Kolka

    2017-01-01

    Understanding the environmental impact of bioenergy crops is needed to inform bioenergy policy development. We determined the effects of five biomass cropping systems—continuous maize (Zea mays), soybean (Glycine max)-triticale (Triticosecale ×)/soybean-maize, maize-switchgrass (Panicum virgatum...

  5. Topographic and soil influences on root productivity of three bioenergy cropping systems

    Science.gov (United States)

    Todd A. Ontl; Kirsten S. Hofmockel; Cynthia A. Cambardella; Lisa A. Schulte; Randall K. Kolka

    2013-01-01

    Successful modeling of the carbon (C) cycle requires empirical data regarding species-specific root responses to edaphic characteristics. We address this need by quantifying annual root production of three bioenergy systems (continuous corn, triticale/sorghum, switchgrass) in response to variation in soil properties across a toposequence within a Midwestern...

  6. Uncertainty in the Life Cycle Greenhouse Gas Emissions from U.S. Production of Three Biobased Polymer Families.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Posen, I Daniel; Jaramillo, Paulina; Griffin, W Michael

    2016-03-15

    Interest in biobased products has been motivated, in part, by the claim that these products have lower life cycle greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions than their fossil counterparts. This study investigates GHG emissions from U.S. production of three important biobased polymer families: polylactic acid (PLA), polyhydroxybutyrate (PHB) and bioethylene-based plastics. The model incorporates uncertainty into the life cycle emission estimates using Monte Carlo simulation. Results present a range of scenarios for feedstock choice (corn or switchgrass), treatment of coproducts, data sources, end of life assumptions, and displaced fossil polymer. Switchgrass pathways generally have lower emissions than corn pathways, and can even generate negative cradle-to-gate emissions if unfermented residues are used to coproduce energy. PHB (from either feedstock) is unlikely to have lower emissions than fossil polymers once end of life emissions are included. PLA generally has the lowest emissions when compared to high emission fossil polymers, such as polystyrene (mean GHG savings up to 1.4 kg CO2e/kg corn PLA and 2.9 kg CO2e/kg switchgrass PLA). In contrast, bioethylene is likely to achieve the greater emission reduction for ethylene intensive polymers, like polyethylene (mean GHG savings up to 0.60 kg CO2e/kg corn polyethylene and 3.4 kg CO2e/kg switchgrass polyethylene).

  7. Chemistry and microbial functional diversity differences in biofuel crop and grassland soils in multiple geographies

    Science.gov (United States)

    As crop and non-crop lands are increasingly becoming converted to biofuel feedstock production, it is of interest to identify potential impacts of annual and perennial feedstocks on soil ecosystem services. Soil samples obtained from 6 regional sets of switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.) and 3 regiona...

  8. Demo biomassagewassen binnen project Energieboerderij

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Mheen, van der H.J.C.J.

    2011-01-01

    Door de Stuurgroep Energieboerderij werd op 16 maart 2011 de in een velddemo te beproeven gewassen vastgesteld. Gekozen werd voor de navolgende acht gewassen: Landschapsmais, Mariadistel, Tagetes minuta, Tagetes patula, Milkweed, Switchgrass, Reed Canary Grass (RCG) en Witte Krodde. Met uitzondering

  9. Energy Potential and Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Bioenergy Cropping Systems on Marginally Productive Cropland

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schmer, Marty R.; Vogel, Kenneth P.; Varvel, Gary E.; Follett, Ronald F.; Mitchell, Robert B.; Jin, Virginia L.

    2014-01-01

    Low-carbon biofuel sources are being developed and evaluated in the United States and Europe to partially offset petroleum transport fuels. Current and potential biofuel production systems were evaluated from a long-term continuous no-tillage corn (Zea mays L.) and switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.) field trial under differing harvest strategies and nitrogen (N) fertilizer intensities to determine overall environmental sustainability. Corn and switchgrass grown for bioenergy resulted in near-term net greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions of −29 to −396 grams of CO2 equivalent emissions per megajoule of ethanol per year as a result of direct soil carbon sequestration and from the adoption of integrated biofuel conversion pathways. Management practices in switchgrass and corn resulted in large variation in petroleum offset potential. Switchgrass, using best management practices produced 3919±117 liters of ethanol per hectare and had 74±2.2 gigajoules of petroleum offsets per hectare which was similar to intensified corn systems (grain and 50% residue harvest under optimal N rates). Co-locating and integrating cellulosic biorefineries with existing dry mill corn grain ethanol facilities improved net energy yields (GJ ha−1) of corn grain ethanol by >70%. A multi-feedstock, landscape approach coupled with an integrated biorefinery would be a viable option to meet growing renewable transportation fuel demands while improving the energy efficiency of first generation biofuels. PMID:24594783

  10. Mycorrhizal Enhancement of Biomass Productivity of Big Bluestem ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    The usual biomass partitioning by BB at pH=4.5 deserves further investigation. Different patterns of biomass partitioning notwithstanding, results of this study strongly suggest that BB could complement SG, the model biofuel feedstock, especially under acidic substrate conditions. Key words: Big bluestem; switchgrass; ...

  11. Herbaceous biomass supply chains : assessing the greenhouse gas balance, economics and ILUC effects of Ukrainian biomass for domestic and Dutch energy markets

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Poppens, R.P.; Lesschen, J.P.; Galytska, M.; Jamblinne, de P.; Kraisvitnii, P.; Elbersen, H.W.

    2013-01-01

    This report describes the supply chain performance for three types of biomass feedstock (reed, straw and switchgrass) and for three sustainability aspects, i.e. the greenhouse gas balance, economics and Indirect Land Use change effects (ILUC). Calculations are based on a fictional supply chain

  12. Catalytic upgrading nitrogen-riched wood syngas to liquid hydrocarbon mixture over Fe-Pd/ZSM-5 catalyst

    Science.gov (United States)

    Qiangu Yan; Fei Yu; Zhiyong Cai; Jilei Zhang

    2012-01-01

    Biomass like wood chips, switchgrass and other plant residues are first converted to syngas through gasification process using air, oxygen or steam. A downdraft gasifier is performed for syngas production in Mississippi State. The syngas from the gasifier contains up to 49% (vol) N2. High-level nitrogen-containing (nitrogen can be up to 60%)...

  13. Modeling phosphorus capture by plants growing in a multi-species riparian buffer

    Science.gov (United States)

    The NST 3.0 mechanistic nutrient uptake model was used to explore phosphorus (P) uptake to a depth of 120 cm over a 126-d growing season in simulated buffer communities composed of mixtures of cottonwood (Populus deltoids Bartr.), switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.), and smooth brome (Bromis inermis L...

  14. Physicochemical characterization of lignin recovered from microwave-assisted delignified lignocellulosic biomass for use in biobased materials

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jiulong Xie; Chung-Yun Hse; Todd F. Shupe; Tingxing Hu

    2015-01-01

    Lignocellulosic biomass (Moso Bamboo, Chinese tallow tree wood, switchgrass, and pine wood) was subjected to a novel delignification process using microwave energy in a binary glycerol/methanol solvent. The physicochemical properties of the recovered lignin were analyzed prior to its application in the fabrication of polylactic acid (PLA)–lignin composites. The results...

  15. Gasoline, diesel, and ethanol biofuels from grasses and plants

    National Research Council Canada - National Science Library

    Gupta, Ram B; Demirbas, Ayhan

    2010-01-01

    ...-generation biofuels obtained from nonfood biomass, such as forest residue, agricultural residue, switchgrass, corn stover, waste wood, and municipal solid wastes. Various technologies are discussed, including cellulosic ethanol, biomass gasification, synthesis of diesel and gasoline, biocrude by hydrothermal liquefaction, bio-oil by fast pyrolysis, and the...

  16. Vulnerability of crops and native grasses to summer drying in the U.S. Southern Great Plains

    Science.gov (United States)

    The Southern Great Plains are characterized by a fine-scale mixture of different land cover types, predominantly winter-wheat and pasture lands, with relatively small areas of other crops, native prairie, and switchgrass. Recent droughts and predictions of increased drought (especially during the s...

  17. H-ZSM5 Catalyzed co-pyrolysis of biomass and plastics

    Science.gov (United States)

    This study aims at addressing two important problems vital to agriculture, disposal of agricultural plastics and production of drop-in fuels from biomass via co-pyrolysis of both feedstocks. Mixtures of biomass (switchgrass, cellulose, xylan and lignin) and plastic (polyethylene terephthalate (PET),...

  18. High-solids enrichment of thermophilic microbial communities and their enzymes on bioenergy feedstocks

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Reddy, A. P.; Allgaier, M.; Singer, S.W.; Hazen, T.C.; Simmons, B.A.; Hugenholtz, P.; VanderGheynst, J.S.

    2011-04-01

    Thermophilic microbial communities that are active in a high-solids environment offer great potential for the discovery of industrially relevant enzymes that efficiently deconstruct bioenergy feedstocks. In this study, finished green waste compost was used as an inoculum source to enrich microbial communities and associated enzymes that hydrolyze cellulose and hemicellulose during thermophilic high-solids fermentation of the bioenergy feedstocks switchgrass and corn stover. Methods involving the disruption of enzyme and plant cell wall polysaccharide interactions were developed to recover xylanase and endoglucanase activity from deconstructed solids. Xylanase and endoglucanase activity increased by more than a factor of 5, upon four successive enrichments on switchgrass. Overall, the changes for switchgrass were more pronounced than for corn stover; solids reduction between the first and second enrichments increased by a factor of four for switchgrass while solids reduction remained relatively constant for corn stover. Amplicon pyrosequencing analysis of small-subunit ribosomal RNA genes recovered from enriched samples indicated rapid changes in the microbial communities between the first and second enrichment with the simplified communities achieved by the third enrichment. The results demonstrate a successful approach for enrichment of unique microbial communities and enzymes active in a thermophilic high-solids environment.

  19. Renewable biomass energy: Understanding regional scale environmental impacts

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Graham, R.L.; Downing, M.

    1993-12-31

    If biomass energy is to become a significant component of the US energy sector, millions of acres of farmland must be converted to energy crops. The environmental implications of this change in land use must be quantitatively evaluated. The land use changes will be largely driven by economic considerations. Farmers will grow energy crops when it is profitable to do so. Thus, models which purport to predict environmental changes induced by energy crop production must take into account those economic features which will influence land use change. In this paper, we present an approach for projecting the probable environmental impacts of growing energy crops at the regional scale. The approach takes into account both economic and environmental factors. We demonstrate the approach by analyzing, at a county-level the probable impact of switchgrass production on erosion, evapotranspiration, nitrate in runoff, and phosphorous fertilizer use in multi-county subregions within the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) region. Our results show that the adoption of switchgrass production will have different impacts in each subregion as a result of differences in the initial land use and soil conditions in the subregions. Erosion, evapotranspiration, and nitrate in runoff are projected to decrease in both subregions as switchgrass displaces the current crops. Phosphorous fertilizer applications are likely to increase in one subregion and decrease in the other due to initial differences in the types of conventional crops grown in each subregion. Overall these changes portend an improvement in water quality in the subregions with the increasing adoption of switchgrass.

  20. Evaluation of pulp and paper making characteristics of elephant ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    Shortage of conventional raw material for the pulp and paper products together with the increasing world demand for paper has renewed interest in non-wood fibres. Non-wood pulping capacity has been increasing steadily over the last decade. A lot of crops grown for biomass, like switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.), are ...

  1. Twenty-Seventh Fungal Genetics Conference, Asilomar, CA, March 12-17, 2013

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Walton, Jonathan

    2013-03-17

    This meeting brings together ~900 international scientists to discuss the latest research on fungal genetics. Sessions of particular relevance to DOE include lignocellulose degradation, cellulose conversion to fermentable sugars, fermentation of sugars to fuel molecules. Other sessions cover fungal diseases of biomass crops (miscanthus, corn, switchgrass, etc.).

  2. Alternate Energy Research and Technology Challenges in the New Millennium

    Science.gov (United States)

    2010-09-01

    Sugar Cane 662 (2 crops) Cassava 410 Sweet Sorghum 374 Algae* 1000-5000** Camelina* 75-100 Cyanobacteria* 700? Jatropha* 125 Switchgrass* Low...Methyl Ester (FAME) Hydro-treating (Hydrogen) Green diesel Multiple Biomass (Municipal Waste) Biomass to Liquid (BTL Gasification) (formation

  3. The trade-off between bioenergy and emissions with land constraints

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Kauffman, Nathan S.; Hayes, Dermot J.

    2013-01-01

    Agricultural biofuels require the use of scarce land, and this land has opportunity cost. We explore the objective function of a social planner who includes a land constraint in the optimization decision to minimize environmental cost. The inclusion of this land constraint in our optimization model motivates the measurement of emissions on a per-hectare basis. Switchgrass and corn are modeled as competing alternatives to show how the inclusion of a land constraint can influence life cycle rankings and alter policy conclusions. With land use unconstrained, ethanol produced from switchgrass is always an optimal feedstock relative to ethanol produced from corn. With land use constrained, however, our results show that it is unlikely that switchgrass would be optimal in the midwestern United States, but may be optimal in southern states if carbon is priced relatively high. Whether biofuel policy advocates for one feedstock over another should consider these contrasting results. - Highlights: ► Biofuel pathway rankings differ depending on the functional unit of measure. ► Conventional life cycle analysis overlooks the opportunity cost of land. ► Including a land constraint, a model is developed to determine pathway optimality. ► The optimization model suggests emissions be measured per hectare. ► Switchgrass and corn are modeled as competing alternatives for biofuel production

  4. Senescence, dormancy and tillering in perennial C4 grasses

    Science.gov (United States)

    Perennial, temperate, C4 warm-season grasses, such as switchgrass and miscanthus have been tabbed as sources of herbaceous biomass for the production of green fuels and chemicals based on a number of positive agronomic traits. Although there is important literature on the management of these specie...

  5. Directed evolution of adaptive traits

    Science.gov (United States)

    As a species, switchgrass is adapted to an amazingly broad range of environments, spanning hardiness zones ranging from HZ3 to HZ9 (Canada to Mexico), from the mid-grass prairie to the Atlantic Seaboard, from sandy soils to heavy clay soils, from acid to alkaline soils, and from wetland to dryland h...

  6. Soil organic matter fractions in loblolly pine forests of Coastal North Carolina managed for bioenergy production

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kevan J. Minick; Brian D. Strahm; Thomas R. Fox; Eric B. Surce; Zakiya H. Leggett

    2015-01-01

    Dependence on foreign oil continues to increase, and concern over rising atmospheric CO2 and other greenhouse gases has intensified research into sustainable biofuel production. Intercropping switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.) between planted rows of loblolly pine (Pinus taeda L.) offers an opportunity to utilize inter-row space that typically contains herbaceous and...

  7. Nitrous oxide emission and soil carbon sequestration from herbaceous perennial biofuel feedstocks

    Science.gov (United States)

    Greenhouse gas (GHG) mitigation and renewable, domestic fuels are needed in the United States. Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.) and big bluestem (Andropogon gerdardii Vitman) are potential bioenergy feedstocks that may meet this need. However, managing perennial grasses for feedstock requires nitro...

  8. Implications of observed and simulated soil carbon sequestration for management options in corn-based rotations

    Science.gov (United States)

    Managing cropping systems to sequester soil organic carbon (SOC) improves soil health and a system’s resiliency to impacts of changing climate. Our objectives were to 1) monitor SOC from a bio-energy cropping study in central Pennsylvania that included a corn-soybean-alfalfa rotation, switchgrass, ...

  9. Energy potential and greenhouse gas emissions from bioenergy cropping systems on marginally productive cropland.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Marty R Schmer

    Full Text Available Low-carbon biofuel sources are being developed and evaluated in the United States and Europe to partially offset petroleum transport fuels. Current and potential biofuel production systems were evaluated from a long-term continuous no-tillage corn (Zea mays L. and switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L. field trial under differing harvest strategies and nitrogen (N fertilizer intensities to determine overall environmental sustainability. Corn and switchgrass grown for bioenergy resulted in near-term net greenhouse gas (GHG reductions of -29 to -396 grams of CO2 equivalent emissions per megajoule of ethanol per year as a result of direct soil carbon sequestration and from the adoption of integrated biofuel conversion pathways. Management practices in switchgrass and corn resulted in large variation in petroleum offset potential. Switchgrass, using best management practices produced 3919±117 liters of ethanol per hectare and had 74±2.2 gigajoules of petroleum offsets per hectare which was similar to intensified corn systems (grain and 50% residue harvest under optimal N rates. Co-locating and integrating cellulosic biorefineries with existing dry mill corn grain ethanol facilities improved net energy yields (GJ ha-1 of corn grain ethanol by >70%. A multi-feedstock, landscape approach coupled with an integrated biorefinery would be a viable option to meet growing renewable transportation fuel demands while improving the energy efficiency of first generation biofuels.

  10. Restoration of soil organic carbon with cultivation of perennial biofuel crops

    Science.gov (United States)

    Davis, S. C.; Yannarell, A.; Masters, M.; Anderson-Teixeira, K.; Drake, J. E.; Darmody, R.; Mackie, R.; David, M.; Delucia, E. H.

    2009-12-01

    A biofuel crop that can restore soil quality and maximize terrestrial carbon (C) sequestration would add substantial value to the sustainability of biofuel production chains. Currently in the Midwestern USA, Zea mays is the dominant biofuel feedstock despite a history of soil degradation associated with this crop. We compared soil organic carbon (SOC) storage and microbial communities in Zea mays L. (corn), Panicum virgatum L. (switchgrass), Miscanthus x giganteus Greef et Deuter (miscanthus), and native prairie sites at seven locations that spanned a range of temperatures, precipitation, and soil types in Illinois, USA. By comparing annually harvested switchgrass and miscanthus plots to conventional corn agro-ecosystems and native prairies, we determined the SOC restoration potential of perennial biofuel crops. We also calculated SOC accumulation using the δ13C isotope composition of the soil as a tracer for C4 plant-derived SOC additions. SOC differences among plant species varied significantly among sites, but on average, seven-year-old plots of miscanthus and switchgrass had 73% and 57% greater SOC in the top meter of soil than conventional corn crops, respectively, and had 50-63% greater SOC than the younger (four-year-old) miscanthus and switchgrass plots. The δ13C isotope signature of soil in miscanthus and switchgrass plots also indicated an accumulation of SOC. Plant species and SOC variability among sites explained 40-62% of the variation in microbial communities across sites. Microbial communities associated with annually harvested switchgrass and miscanthus differ from communities found in conventional corn agriculture and prairies. Thus, the potential to restore SOC to agriculturally depleted soils of the Midwest is not dependent on a soil microbial community that mimics prairie soil communities. Planting perennial grasses as biofuel crops can lead to an increase in SOC and a change in soil microbial communities. Conventional agricultural soils might

  11. Direct measures of mechanical energy for knife mill size reduction

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Bitra, V.S.P. [University of Tennessee; Womac, A.R. [University of Tennessee; Igathinathane, C. [Mississippi State University (MSU); Miu, P.I [University of Tennessee; Yang, Y.T. [University of Tennessee; Smith, D.R. [University of Tennessee; Chevanan, Nehru [University of Tennessee; Sokhansanj, Shahabaddine [ORNL

    2009-08-01

    Lengthy straw/stalk of biomass may not be directly fed into grinders such as hammer mills and disc refiners. Hence, biomass needs to be preprocessed using coarse grinders like a knife mill to allow for efficient feeding in refiner mills without bridging and choking. Size reduction mechanical energy was directly measured for switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.), wheat straw (Triticum aestivum L.), and corn stover (Zea mays L.) in an instrumented knife mill. Direct power inputs were determined for different knife mill screen openings from 12.7 to 50.8 mm, rotor speeds between 250 and 500 rpm, and mass feed rates from 1 to 11 kg/min. Overall accuracy of power measurement was calculated to be 0.003 kW. Total specific energy (kWh/Mg) was defined as size reduction energy to operate mill with biomass. Effective specific energy was defined as the energy that can be assumed to reach the biomass. The difference is parasitic or no-load energy of mill. Total specific energy for switchgrass, wheat straw, and corn stover chopping increased with knife mill speed, whereas, effective specific energy decreased marginally for switchgrass and increased for wheat straw and corn stover. Total and effective specific energy decreased with an increase in screen size for all the crops studied. Total specific energy decreased with increase in mass feed rate, but effective specific energy increased for switchgrass and wheat straw, and decreased for corn stover at increased feed rate. For knife mill screen size of 25.4 mm and optimum speed of 250 rpm, optimum feed rates were 7.6, 5.8, and 4.5 kg/min for switchgrass, wheat straw, and corn stover, respectively, and the corresponding total specific energies were 7.57, 10.53, and 8.87 kWh/Mg and effective specific energies were 1.27, 1.50, and 0.24 kWh/Mg for switchgrass, wheat straw, and corn stover, respectively. Energy utilization ratios were calculated as 16.8%, 14.3%, and 2.8% for switchgrass, wheat straw, and corn stover, respectively. These

  12. Effects of phenolic monomers on growth of Acidothermus cellulolyticus.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Joh, Lawrence D; Rezaei, Farzaneh; Barabote, Ravi D; Parales, Juanito V; Parales, Rebecca E; Berry, Alison M; Vandergheynst, Jean S

    2011-01-01

    Previous studies on biological pretreatment of switchgrass by solid-state fermentation with Acidothermus cellulolyticus 11B have shown that inhibitory compounds prevent growth on untreated switchgrass. A. cellulolyticus was grown in liquid medium containing cellobiose with phenolic monomers added to determine if the phenolic compounds are one possible source of inhibition. Cinnamic acid derivatives (trans-p-coumaric, trans-ferulic, and hydrocinnamic acids), hydroxybenzoic acids (p-hydroxybenzoic, syringic, and vanillic acids), benzaldehydes (vanillin and p-hydroxybenzaldehyde), and condensed tannin monomers (catechin and epicatechin) were tested at levels up to 20 mM. All compounds exhibited a dose-response relationship and strongly inhibited growth at 20 mM. trans-p-Coumaric acid was found to be the strongest inhibitor of A. cellulolyticus growth, with a specific growth rate of 0.004 h(-1) at 1 mM (0.18 h(-1) without phenolic monomer). GC-MS and HPLC methods were used to confirm the presence of these phenolic compounds in switchgrass and measure the amounts extracted using different conditions. The amounts of phenolic compounds measured were found to be higher than the threshold for growth inhibition. Leaching with water at 55°C was inefficient at removing bound phenolics, whereas NaOH treatment improved efficiency. Phenolic compounds spiked into alkaline pretreated switchgrass were also found to inhibit growth of A. cellulolyticus in solid-state fermentation. However, addition of insoluble polyvinylpolypyrrolidone (PVPP) to switchgrass improved growth of A. cellulolyticus in liquid cultures, providing a possible approach for alleviating microbial inhibition due to phenolic compounds in lignocellulose. Copyright © 2010 American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE).

  13. Physical Energy Accounting in California: A Case Study of Cellulosic Ethanol Production

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Coughlin, Katie; Fridley, David

    2008-07-17

    California's target for greenhouse gas reduction in part relies on the development of viable low-carbon fuel alternatives to gasoline. It is often assumed that cellulosic ethanol--ethanol made from the structural parts of a plant and not from the food parts--will be one of these alternatives. This study examines the physical viability of a switchgrass-based cellulosic ethanol industry in California from the point of view of the physical requirements of land, water, energy and other material use. Starting from a scenario in which existing irrigated pastureland and fiber-crop land is converted to switchgrass production, the analysis determines the total acreage and water supply available and the resulting total biofuel feedstock output under different assumed yields. The number and location of cellulosic ethanol biorefineries that can be supported is also determined, assuming that the distance from field to biorefinery would be minimized. The biorefinery energy input requirement, available energy from the fraction of biomass not converted to ethanol, and energy output is calculated at various levels of ethanol yields, making different assumptions about process efficiencies. The analysis shows that there is insufficient biomass (after cellulose separation and fermentation into ethanol) to provide all the process energy needed to run the biorefinery; hence, the purchase of external energy such as natural gas is required to produce ethanol from switchgrass. The higher the yield of ethanol, the more external energy is needed, so that the net gains due to improved process efficiency may not be positive. On 2.7 million acres of land planted in switchgrass in this scenario, the switchgrass outputproduces enough ethanol to substitute for only 1.2 to 4.0percent of California's gasoline consumption in 2007.

  14. Efficient biomass pretreatment using ionic liquids derived from lignin and hemicellulose.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Socha, Aaron M; Parthasarathi, Ramakrishnan; Shi, Jian; Pattathil, Sivakumar; Whyte, Dorian; Bergeron, Maxime; George, Anthe; Tran, Kim; Stavila, Vitalie; Venkatachalam, Sivasankari; Hahn, Michael G; Simmons, Blake A; Singh, Seema

    2014-09-02

    Ionic liquids (ILs), solvents composed entirely of paired ions, have been used in a variety of process chemistry and renewable energy applications. Imidazolium-based ILs effectively dissolve biomass and represent a remarkable platform for biomass pretreatment. Although efficient, imidazolium cations are expensive and thus limited in their large-scale industrial deployment. To replace imidazolium-based ILs with those derived from renewable sources, we synthesized a series of tertiary amine-based ILs from aromatic aldehydes derived from lignin and hemicellulose, the major by-products of lignocellulosic biofuel production. Compositional analysis of switchgrass pretreated with ILs derived from vanillin, p-anisaldehyde, and furfural confirmed their efficacy. Enzymatic hydrolysis of pretreated switchgrass allowed for direct comparison of sugar yields and lignin removal between biomass-derived ILs and 1-ethyl-3-methylimidazolium acetate. Although the rate of cellulose hydrolysis for switchgrass pretreated with biomass-derived ILs was slightly slower than that of 1-ethyl-3-methylimidazolium acetate, 90-95% glucose and 70-75% xylose yields were obtained for these samples after 72-h incubation. Molecular modeling was used to compare IL solvent parameters with experimentally obtained compositional analysis data. Effective pretreatment of lignocellulose was further investigated by powder X-ray diffraction and glycome profiling of switchgrass cell walls. These studies showed different cellulose structural changes and differences in hemicellulose epitopes between switchgrass pretreatments with the aforementioned ILs. Our concept of deriving ILs from lignocellulosic biomass shows significant potential for the realization of a "closed-loop" process for future lignocellulosic biorefineries and has far-reaching economic impacts for other IL-based process technology currently using ILs synthesized from petroleum sources.

  15. A NEW PROCESS DEVELOPED FOR SEPARATION OF LIGNIN FROM AMMONIUM HYDROXIDE PRETREATMENT SOLUTIONS

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Sherman, S.; Gorensek, M.; Milliken, C.

    2010-12-14

    A method is described for separating lignin from liquid solutions resulting from the pretreatment of lignocellulosic materials such as switchgrass with ammonium hydroxide. The method involves a sequence of steps including acidification, evaporation, and precipitation or centrifugation that are performed under defined conditions, and results in a relatively pure, solid lignin product. The method is tested on ammonium hydroxide solutions containing lignin extracted from switchgrass. Experimental results show that the method is capable of recovering between 66-95% of dissolved lignin as a precipitated solid. Cost estimates of pilot-scale and industrial-scale expressions of the process indicate that breakeven lignin prices of $2.36/kg and $0.78/kg, respectively, may be obtainable with this recovery method.

  16. Spectroscopy and atomic force microscopy of biomass.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tetard, L; Passian, A; Farahi, R H; Kalluri, U C; Davison, B H; Thundat, T

    2010-05-01

    Scanning probe microscopy has emerged as a powerful approach to a broader understanding of the molecular architecture of cell walls, which may shed light on the challenge of efficient cellulosic ethanol production. We have obtained preliminary images of both Populus and switchgrass samples using atomic force microscopy (AFM). The results show distinctive features that are shared by switchgrass and Populus. These features may be attributable to the lignocellulosic cell wall composition, as the collected images exhibit the characteristic macromolecular globule structures attributable to the lignocellulosic systems. Using both AFM and a single case of mode synthesizing atomic force microscopy (MSAFM) to characterize Populus, we obtained images that clearly show the cell wall structure. The results are of importance in providing a better understanding of the characteristic features of both mature cells as well as developing plant cells. In addition, we present spectroscopic investigation of the same samples.

  17. Biomass for rural vitality report

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    McDonald, S.; DiPaolo, J.; Bryan, J.

    2009-06-01

    This report was completed by the Eastern Lake Ontario Regional Innovation Network (ELORIN) in order to identify opportunities for producing pellets from agricultural biomass in Lennox and Addington County. An agricultural profile of the county was presented. Potential feedstocks for biomass production included industrial hemp; switchgrass; short rotation crop willow; hybrid poplars; and miscanthus. Available soil survey data was combined with soil class data in order to generate maps of the total area of land available for energy crop production. The pelletizing process was described. A cost projection for 3 to 7 ton per hour pellet production facility was also presented. Potential markets for using the pellets include greenhouses, residential home heating suppliers and large industrial users. The study showed that heating just 1 per cent of Ontario's greenhouse space with switchgrass will create a demand for 15,000 tonnes of pellets. The average home requires 3 to 4 tonnes of pellets per year for heating. 3 tabs., 54 figs.

  18. From Soil to Structure, a Novel Dimeric β-Glucosidase Belonging to Glycoside Hydrolase Family 3 Isolated from Compost Using Metagenomic Analysis

    Science.gov (United States)

    McAndrew, Ryan P.; Park, Joshua I.; Heins, Richard A.; Reindl, Wolfgang; Friedland, Gregory D.; D'haeseleer, Patrik; Northen, Trent; Sale, Kenneth L.; Simmons, Blake A.; Adams, Paul D.

    2013-01-01

    A recent metagenomic analysis sequenced a switchgrass-adapted compost community to identify enzymes from microorganisms that were specifically adapted to switchgrass under thermophilic conditions. These enzymes are being examined as part of the pretreatment process for the production of “second-generation” biofuels. Among the enzymes discovered was JMB19063, a novel three-domain β-glucosidase that belongs to the GH3 (glycoside hydrolase 3) family. Here, we report the structure of JMB19063 in complex with glucose and the catalytic variant D261N crystallized in the presence of cellopentaose. JMB19063 is first structure of a dimeric member of the GH3 family, and we demonstrate that dimerization is required for catalytic activity. Arg-587 and Phe-598 from the C-terminal domain of the opposing monomer are shown to interact with bound ligands in the D261N structure. Enzyme assays confirmed that these residues are absolutely essential for full catalytic activity. PMID:23580647

  19. Sugar Release and Growth of Biofuel Crops are Improved by Downregulation of Pectin Biosynthesis

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Donohoe, Bryon S [National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), Golden, CO (United States); Sykes, Robert W [National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), Golden, CO (United States); Gjersing, Erica L [National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), Golden, CO (United States); Ziebell, Angela [National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), Golden, CO (United States); Turner, Geoffrey [National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), Golden, CO (United States); Decker, Steve [National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), Golden, CO (United States); Davis, Mark F [National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), Golden, CO (United States); Biswal, Ajaya K. [University of Georgia; Oak Ridge National Laboratory; Atmodjo, Melani A. [University of Georgia; Oak Ridge National Laboratory; Li, Mi [Oak Ridge National Laboratory; UT-ORNL Joint Institute for Biological Sciences; Baxter, Holly L. [Oak Ridge National Laboratory; University of Tennessee; Yoo, Chang Geun [Oak Ridge National Laboratory; UT-ORNL Joint Institute for Biological Sciences; Pu, Yunqiao [Oak Ridge National Laboratory; UT-ORNL Joint Institute for Biological Sciences; Lee, Yi-Ching [Oak Ridge National Laboratory; Noble Research Institute; Mazarei, Mitra [Oak Ridge National Laboratory; University of Tennessee; Black, Ian M. [University of Georgia; Zhang, Ji-Yi [Oak Ridge National Laboratory; Noble Research Institute; Ramanna, Hema [Oak Ridge National Laboratory; Noble Research Institute; Bray, Adam L. [Oak Ridge National Laboratory; University of Georgia; King, Zachary R. [Oak Ridge National Laboratory; University of Georgia; LaFayette, Peter R. [Oak Ridge National Laboratory; University of Georgia; Pattathil, Sivakumar [University of Georgia; Oak Ridge National Laboratory; Mohanty, Sushree S. [University of Georgia; Oak Ridge National Laboratory; Ryno, David [University of Georgia; Oak Ridge National Laboratory; Yee, Kelsey [Oak Ridge National Laboratory; Thompson, Olivia A. [Oak Ridge National Laboratory; Rodriguez Jr., Miguel [Oak Ridge National Laboratory; Dumitrache, Alexandru [Oak Ridge National Laboratory; Natzke, Jace [Oak Ridge National Laboratory; Winkeler, Kim [Oak Ridge National Laboratory; ArborGen, Inc.; Collins, Cassandra [Oak Ridge National Laboratory; ArborGen, Inc.; Yang, Xiaohan [Oak Ridge National Laboratory; Tan, Li [University of Georgia; Oak Ridge National Laboratory; Hahn, Michael G. [University of Georgia; Oak Ridge National Laboratory; Davison, Brian H. [Oak Ridge National Laboratory; Udvardi, Michael K. [Oak Ridge National Laboratory; Noble Research Institute; Mielenz, Jonathan R. [Oak Ridge National Laboratory; Nelson, Richard S. [Oak Ridge National Laboratory; Noble Research Institute; Parrott, Wayne A. [Oak Ridge National Laboratory; University of Georgia; Ragauskas, Arthur J. [Oak Ridge National Laboratory; UT-ORNL Joint Institute for Biological Sciences; University of Tennessee; Stewart Jr., C. Neal [Oak Ridge National Laboratory; University of Tennessee; Mohnen, Debra [University of Georgia; Oak Ridge National Laboratory

    2018-02-12

    Cell walls in crops and trees have been engineered for production of biofuels and commodity chemicals, but engineered varieties often fail multi-year field trials and are not commercialized. We engineered reduced expression of a pectin biosynthesis gene (Galacturonosyltransferase 4, GAUT4) in switchgrass and poplar, and find that this improves biomass yields and sugar release from biomass processing. Both traits were maintained in a 3-year field trial of GAUT4-knockdown switchgrass, with up to sevenfold increased saccharification and ethanol production and sixfold increased biomass yield compared with control plants. We show that GAUT4 is an a-1,4-galacturonosyltransferase that synthesizes homogalacturonan (HG). Downregulation of GAUT4 reduces HG and rhamnogalacturonan II (RGII), reduces wall calcium and boron, and increases extractability of cell wall sugars. Decreased recalcitrance in biomass processing and increased growth are likely due to reduced HG and RGII cross-linking in the cell wall.

  20. Perennial species for optimum production of herbaceous biomass in the Piedmont (Management study, 1987--1991)

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Parrish, D.J.; Wolf, D.D.; Daniels, W.L. (Virginia Polytechnic Inst. and State Univ., Blacksburg, VA (United States). Dept. of Crop and Soil Environmental Sciences)

    1993-04-01

    The authors have investigated cutting and N management strategies for two biofuel feedstock candidate species -- switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) and weeping lovegrass (Eragrostis curvula). Each was no-till planted in 1987 at three sites underlain by Davidson or Cecil soils. Three N levels (0, 50, or 100 kg/ha) were applied, and the plots fertilized at each level were harvested either twice (early-September and early-November) or only in early-November. The results with lovegrass suggest 50 kg N/ha is nearly optimal and that two cuttings provide more biomass than one. For switchgrass, when averaged across sites and years, 50 kg N/ha produced a slight yield advantage over no added N, but 50 kg was not different from 100 kg. In 1989 and 1990, more biomass was available in early-September harvests (9.6 Mg/ha) than in early-November (8.3 Mg/ha). Apparently the plants translocated significant portions of their biomass below ground during the last few weeks of the season. In 1991, we harvested only in early-November. Plots that had been cut in early-September in the previous three years had lower yields (7.6 Mg/ha) than those that had been cut only in early-November (9.4 Mg/ha). The delayed cutting permitted more growth on a sustained basis -- presumably because of conservation of translocatable materials. This poses an interesting dilemma for the producer of biomass. In additional studies, the authors found no advantage in double-cropping rye (Secale cereale) with switchgrass; at low input levels, rye yields were low, and rye lowered switchgrass yields. Other studies showed double-cropping with winter-annual legumes such as crimson clover (Trifolium incarnatum) may have potential. The timing of herbicide treatment of the legume is critical.

  1. Perennial species for optimum production of herbaceous biomass in the Piedmont (Management study, 1987--1991). Final report

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Parrish, D.J.; Wolf, D.D.; Daniels, W.L. [Virginia Polytechnic Inst. and State Univ., Blacksburg, VA (US). Dept. of Crop and Soil Environmental Sciences

    1993-04-01

    The authors have investigated cutting and N management strategies for two biofuel feedstock candidate species -- switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) and weeping lovegrass (Eragrostis curvula). Each was no-till planted in 1987 at three sites underlain by Davidson or Cecil soils. Three N levels (0, 50, or 100 kg/ha) were applied, and the plots fertilized at each level were harvested either twice (early-September and early-November) or only in early-November. The results with lovegrass suggest 50 kg N/ha is nearly optimal and that two cuttings provide more biomass than one. For switchgrass, when averaged across sites and years, 50 kg N/ha produced a slight yield advantage over no added N, but 50 kg was not different from 100 kg. In 1989 and 1990, more biomass was available in early-September harvests (9.6 Mg/ha) than in early-November (8.3 Mg/ha). Apparently the plants translocated significant portions of their biomass below ground during the last few weeks of the season. In 1991, we harvested only in early-November. Plots that had been cut in early-September in the previous three years had lower yields (7.6 Mg/ha) than those that had been cut only in early-November (9.4 Mg/ha). The delayed cutting permitted more growth on a sustained basis -- presumably because of conservation of translocatable materials. This poses an interesting dilemma for the producer of biomass. In additional studies, the authors found no advantage in double-cropping rye (Secale cereale) with switchgrass; at low input levels, rye yields were low, and rye lowered switchgrass yields. Other studies showed double-cropping with winter-annual legumes such as crimson clover (Trifolium incarnatum) may have potential. The timing of herbicide treatment of the legume is critical.

  2. Phytoextraction of contaminated urban soils by Panicum virgatum L. enhanced with application of a plant growth regulator (BAP) and citric acid.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Aderholt, Matthew; Vogelien, Dale L; Koether, Marina; Greipsson, Sigurdur

    2017-05-01

    Lead (Pb) contamination in soil represents a threat to human health. Phytoextraction has gained attention as a potential alternative to traditional remediation methods because of lower cost and minimal soil disruption. The North American native switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.) was targeted due to its ability to produce high biomass and grow across a variety of ecozones. In this study switchgrass was chemically enhanced with applications of the soil-fungicide benomyl, chelates (EDTA and citric acid), and PGR to optimize phytoextraction of Pb and zinc (Zn) from contaminated urban soils in Atlanta, GA. Exogenous application of two plant hormones was compared in multiple concentrations to determine effects on switchgrass growth: indole-3-acetic acid (IAA), and Gibberellic Acid (GA 3 ), and one PGR benzylaminopurine (BAP), The PGR BAP (1.0 μM) was found to generate a 48% increase in biomass compared to Control plants. Chemical application of citric acid, EDTA, benomyl, and BAP were tested separately and in combination in a pot experiment in an environmentally controlled greenhouse to determine the efficacy of phtyoextraction by switchgrass. Soil acidification by citric acid application resulted in highest level of aluminum (Al) and iron (Fe) in plants foliage resulting in severe phytotoxic effects. Total Pb phytoextraction was significantly highest in plants treated with combined chemical application of B + C and B + C + H. Suppression of AMF activities by benomyl application significantly increased concentrations of Al and Fe in roots. Application of benomyl reduced AMF colonization but was also shown to dramatically increase levels of septa fungi infection as compared to Control plants. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  3. The feasibility of producing adequate feedstock for year–round cellulosic ethanol production in an intensive agricultural fuelshed

    Science.gov (United States)

    Uden, Daniel R.; Mitchell, Rob B.; Allen, Craig R.; Guan, Qingfeng; McCoy, Tim D.

    2013-01-01

    To date, cellulosic ethanol production has not been commercialized in the United States. However, government mandates aimed at increasing second-generation biofuel production could spur exploratory development in the cellulosic ethanol industry. We conducted an in-depth analysis of the fuelshed surrounding a starch-based ethanol plant near York, Nebraska that has the potential for cellulosic ethanol production. To assess the feasibility of supplying adequate biomass for year-round cellulosic ethanol production from residual maize (Zea mays) stover and bioenergy switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) within a 40-km road network service area of the existing ethanol plant, we identified ∼14,000 ha of marginally productive cropland within the service area suitable for conversion from annual rowcrops to switchgrass and ∼132,000 ha of maize-enrolled cropland from which maize stover could be collected. Annual maize stover and switchgrass biomass supplies within the 40-km service area could range between 429,000 and 752,000 metric tons (mT). Approximately 140–250 million liters (l) of cellulosic ethanol could be produced, rivaling the current 208 million l annual starch-based ethanol production capacity of the plant. We conclude that sufficient quantities of biomass could be produced from maize stover and switchgrass near the plant to support year-round cellulosic ethanol production at current feedstock yields, sustainable removal rates and bioconversion efficiencies. Modifying existing starch-based ethanol plants in intensive agricultural fuelsheds could increase ethanol output, return marginally productive cropland to perennial vegetation, and remove maize stover from productive cropland to meet feedstock demand.

  4. Analysis on Storage Off-Gas Emissions from Woody, Herbaceous, and Torrefied Biomass

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jaya Shankar Tumuluru

    2015-03-01

    Full Text Available Wood chips, torrefied wood chips, ground switchgrass, and wood pellets were tested for off‑gas emissions during storage. Storage canisters with gas‑collection ports were used to conduct experiments at room temperature of 20 °C and in a laboratory oven set at 40 °C. Commercially-produced wood pellets yielded the highest carbon monoxide (CO emissions at both 20 and 40 °C (1600 and 13,000 ppmv, whereas torrefied wood chips emitted the lowest of about <200 and <2000 ppmv. Carbon dioxide (CO2 emissions from wood pellets were 3000 ppmv and 42,000 ppmv, whereas torrefied wood chips registered at about 2000 and 25,000 ppmv, at 20 and 40 °C at the end of 11 days of storage. CO emission factors (milligrams per kilogram of biomass calculated were lowest for ground switchgrass and torrefied wood chips (2.68 and 4.86 mg/kg whereas wood pellets had the highest CO of about 10.60 mg/kg, respectively, at 40 °C after 11 days of storage. In the case of CO2, wood pellets recorded the lowest value of 55.46 mg/kg, whereas switchgrass recorded the highest value of 318.72 mg/kg. This study concludes that CO emission factor is highest for wood pellets, CO2 is highest for switchgrass and CH4 is negligible for all feedstocks except for wood pellets, which is about 0.374 mg/kg at the end of 11-day storage at 40 °C.

  5. Opportunities for Energy Crop Production Based on Subfield Scale Distribution of Profitability

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ian J. Bonner

    2014-10-01

    Full Text Available Incorporation of dedicated herbaceous energy crops into row crop landscapes is a promising means to supply an expanding biofuel industry while benefiting soil and water quality and increasing biodiversity. Despite these positive traits, energy crops remain largely unaccepted due to concerns over their practicality and cost of implementation. This paper presents a case study for Hardin County, Iowa, to demonstrate how subfield decision making can be used to target candidate areas for conversion to energy crop production. Estimates of variability in row crop production at a subfield level are used to model the economic performance of corn (Zea mays L. grain and the environmental impacts of corn stover collection using the Landscape Environmental Analysis Framework (LEAF. The strategy used in the case study integrates switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L. into subfield landscape positions where corn grain is modeled to return a net economic loss. Results show that switchgrass integration has the potential to increase sustainable biomass production from 48% to 99% (depending on the rigor of conservation practices applied to corn stover collection, while also improving field level profitability of corn. Candidate land area is highly sensitive to grain price (0.18 to 0.26 $·kg−1 and dependent on the acceptable subfield net loss for corn production (ranging from 0 to −1000 $·ha−1 and the ability of switchgrass production to meet or exceed this return. This work presents the case that switchgrass may be economically incorporated into row crop landscapes when management decisions are applied at a subfield scale within field areas modeled to have a negative net profit with current management practices.

  6. Reducing the negative human-health impacts of bioenergy crop emissions through region-specific crop selection

    OpenAIRE

    Guenther, Alex; Lamarque, Jean-Francois; Barsanti, Kelley; Porter, William C.; Rosenstiel, Todd N.

    2015-01-01

    An expected global increase in bioenergy-crop cultivation as an alternative to fossil fuels will have consequences on both global climate and local air quality through changes in biogenic emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). While greenhouse gas emissions may be reduced through the substitution of next-generation bioenergy crops such as eucalyptus, giant reed, and switchgrass for fossil fuels, the choice of species has important ramifications for human health, potentially reducing ...

  7. 2007 Biomass Program Overview

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    none,

    2009-10-27

    The Biomass Program is actively working with public and private partners to meet production and technology needs. With the corn ethanol market growing steadily, researchers are unlocking the potential of non-food biomass sources, such as switchgrass and forest and agricultural residues. In this way, the Program is helping to ensure that cost-effective technologies will be ready to support production goals for advanced biofuels.

  8. Impacts of biofuels production alternatives on water quantity and quality in the Iowa River Basin

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wu, Y.; Liu, S.

    2012-01-01

    Corn stover as well as perennial grasses like switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) and miscanthus are being considered as candidates for the second generation biofuel feedstocks. However, the challenges to biofuel development are its effects on the environment, especially water quality. This study evaluates the long-term impacts of biofuel production alternatives (e.g., elevated corn stover removal rates and the potential land cover change) on an ecosystem with a focus on biomass production, soil erosion, water quantity and quality, and soil nitrate nitrogen concentration at the watershed scale. The Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) was modified for setting land cover change scenarios and applied to the Iowa River Basin (a tributary of the Upper Mississippi River Basin). Results show that biomass production can be sustained with an increased stover removal rate as long as the crop demand for nutrients is met with appropriate fertilization. Although a drastic increase (4.7–70.6%) in sediment yield due to erosion and a slight decrease (1.2–3.2%) in water yield were estimated with the stover removal rate ranging between 40% and 100%, the nitrate nitrogen load declined about 6–10.1%. In comparison to growing corn, growing either switchgrass or miscanthus can reduce sediment erosion greatly. However, land cover changes from native grass to switchgrass or miscanthus would lead to a decrease in water yield and an increase in nitrate nitrogen load. In contrast to growing switchgrass, growing miscanthus is more productive in generating biomass, but its higher water demand may reduce water availability in the study area.

  9. Carbon balances during land conversion in early bioenergy systems

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zenone, T.; Chen, J.; Gelfand, I.; Robertson, G. P.; Hamilton, S. K.

    2012-12-01

    In this study, we established a field experiment and deployed seven eddy-covariance towers to quantify the roles of land use change and the subsequent carbon (C) balances of three different bioenergy systems (corn, switchgrass, and mixed prairie species) that were developed from two historical land use types: monocultural grasslands dominated by smooth brome (Bromus inermis Leyss) and lands in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP). Three CRP fields and three cropland fields were converted to soybean in 2009 (conversion year) before establishing the cellulosic biofuel cropping systems in 2010 (establishment year). A CRP perennial grassland site was kept undisturbed as a reference. Conversion of CRP to soybean induced net C emissions during the conversion year (134 -262 g C m-2 yr-1), while in the same year the net C balance at the CRP grassland reference was -35 g C m-2 yr-1 (i.e., net C sequestration). The establishment of switchgrass and mixed prairie induced a cumulative C balance of -113 g C m-2 (switchgrass from CRP), 250 g C m-2 (switchgrass from cropland), 706 g C m-2 (mixed prairie from CRP), and 59 g C m-2 (mixed prairie from cropland) over the three-year study period. The cumulative three-year C balance of corn converted from CRP and from cropland was -151 g C m-2 and -183 g C m-2, respectively. Eddy flux measurements during cellulosic biofuel crop establishment reveal annual changes in C balance that cannot be detected using conventional mass balance approaches. When end-use of harvested biomass was considered, the C balances for all studied systems, except the reference site, exhibited large C emissions ranging from 150 to 990 g C m-2 over the three-year conversion phase.

  10. Engineering Photosynthetic Organisms for the Production of Renewable Energy Products and Environmental Remediation

    Science.gov (United States)

    2016-11-25

    transgenic plants, algae REPORT DOCUMENTATION PAGE 11. SPONSOR/MONITOR’S REPORT NUMBER(S) 10. SPONSOR/MONITOR’S ACRONYM(S) ARO 8. PERFORMING...However, low oilseed crop yield, competition for resources, and interference with world food demand limit the current supply for the production of...developed to introduce Arabidopsis gene into suitable switchgrass varieties. Putative transgenic plants were selected on stringent antibiotic containing

  11. JP-8 and Other Military Fuels

    Science.gov (United States)

    2011-12-01

    wood waste • Jatropha, switchgrass, camelina • 3rd Generation Alternative Fuels – Genetically modified crops that have a carbon-neutral output...CTL / GTL / BTL / CBTL: All use Fischer-Tropsch Processes** Syngas manufacture Fischer-Tropsch Synthesis Selective Hydrocracking Product Separation...O2 Syngas CO + 2H2 Coal, NG, Biomass Feedstocks Paraffins H2O / Air Very similar processes also used in traditional petroleum JP-8 Production

  12. Stochastic techno-economic analysis of alcohol-to-jet fuel production

    OpenAIRE

    Yao, Guolin; Tyner, Wallace E.; Staples, Mark Douglas; Malina, Robert

    2016-01-01

    Background: Alcohol-to-jet (ATJ) is one of the technical feasible biofuel technologies. It produces jet fuel from sugary, starchy, and lignocellulosic biomass, such as sugarcane, corn grain, and switchgrass, via fermentation of sugars to ethanol or other alcohols. This study assesses the ATJ biofuel production pathway for these three biomass feedstocks, and advances existing techno-economic analyses of biofuels in three ways. First, we incorporate technical uncertainty for all by-products and...

  13. Can the Results of Biodiversity-Ecosystem Productivity Studies Be Translated to Bioenergy Production?

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Timothy L Dickson

    Full Text Available Biodiversity experiments show that increases in plant diversity can lead to greater biomass production, and some researchers suggest that high diversity plantings should be used for bioenergy production. However, many methods used in past biodiversity experiments are impractical for bioenergy plantings. For example, biodiversity experiments often use intensive management such as hand weeding to maintain low diversity plantings and exclude unplanted species, but this would not be done for bioenergy plantings. Also, biodiversity experiments generally use high seeding densities that would be too expensive for bioenergy plantings. Here we report the effects of biodiversity on biomass production from two studies of more realistic bioenergy crop plantings in southern Michigan, USA. One study involved comparing production between switchgrass (Panicum virgatum monocultures and species-rich prairie plantings on private farm fields that were managed similarly to bioenergy plantings. The other study was an experiment where switchgrass was planted in monoculture and in combination with increasingly species-rich native prairie mixtures. Overall, we found that bioenergy plantings with higher species richness did not produce more biomass than switchgrass monocultures. The lack of a positive relationship between planted species richness and production in our studies may be due to several factors. Non-planted species (weeds were not removed from our studies and these non-planted species may have competed with planted species and also prevented realized species richness from equaling planted species richness. Also, we found that low seeding density of individual species limited the biomass production of these individual species. Production in future bioenergy plantings with high species richness may be increased by using a high density of inexpensive seed from switchgrass and other highly productive species, and future efforts to translate the results of

  14. Surface and Subsurface Transport of Nitrate Loss from the Selected Bioenergy Crop Fields: Systematic Review, Analysis and Future Directions

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Suresh Sharma

    2017-03-01

    Full Text Available Nitrate loss from bioenergy crop fields has attracted considerable attention during the last few years because of its potential negative impact on aquatic and human health. Both controllable and uncontrollable factors for nitrate loss have been the subject of several previous studies. Due to differences in climate, biophysical dissimilarities and land management characteristics in different parts of the world the factors affecting nitrate loss are often inconsistent and hence difficult to generalize. Therefore, reanalyzing the experimental field or plot scale studies to understand the nitrate loss factors in crop fields is useful and necessary in developing management strategies for reducing nitrate loss. This research synthesized and investigated 36 peer reviewed scientific journal articles related to selected bioenergy crop fields that included: continuous corn, corn in rotation with soybean, switchgrass and Miscanthus to conduct a meta-analysis of the available research. In this study, factors such as drain tile spacing, tillage practices, type and timing of the fertilization rate, irrigation and various other factors, which are challenging to represent in regression equations, were also systematically analyzed. In addition, various other agronomic characteristics that are attributed too nitrate loss are caused by perennially planted bio energized crops such as Miscanthus and switchgrass. Results indicated that 49% of nitrate loss through surface runoff from corn fields is directly related to the annual precipitation and fertilization rate. Multiple linear regression equations were developed to estimate the annual subsurface nitrate loss for the continuous corn fields with a R2 value of 0.65, 0.58 and 0.26 for sandy loam, silty loam and clay loam, respectively. Our analysis resulted in the conclusion that corn has a 2 to 3 times higher nitrate loss in surface runoff compared to switchgrass. Likewise, continuous corn and corn in rotation with

  15. Carbon Calculator for Land Use Change from Biofuels Production (CCLUB) Users’ Manual and Technical Documentation

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Dunn, Jennifer B. [Argonne National Lab. (ANL), Argonne, IL (United States); Qin, Zhangcai [Argonne National Lab. (ANL), Argonne, IL (United States); Mueller, Steffen [Univ. of Illinois, Chicago, IL (United States); Kwon, Ho-young [International Food Policy Research Inst., Washington, DC (United States); Wander, Michelle M. [Univ. of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, IL (United States); Wang, Michael [Argonne National Lab. (ANL), Argonne, IL (United States)

    2017-12-01

    The Carbon Calculator for Land Use Change from Biofuels Production (CCLUB) calculates carbon emissions from land use change (LUC) for four different ethanol production pathways including corn grain ethanol and cellulosic ethanol from corn stover, Miscanthus, and switchgrass, and a soy biodiesel pathway. This document discusses the version of CCLUB released September 30, 2017 which includes five ethanol LUC scenarios and four soy biodiesel LUC scenarios.

  16. Agave proves to be a low recalcitrant lignocellulosic feedstock for biofuels production on semi-arid lands

    Science.gov (United States)

    2014-01-01

    Background Agave, which is well known for tequila and other liquor production in Mexico, has recently gained attention because of its attractive potential to launch sustainable bioenergy feedstock solutions for semi-arid and arid lands. It was previously found that agave cell walls contain low lignin and relatively diverse non-cellulosic polysaccharides, suggesting unique recalcitrant features when compared to conventional C4 and C3 plants. Results Here, we report sugar release data from fungal enzymatic hydrolysis of non-pretreated and hydrothermally pretreated biomass that shows agave to be much less recalcitrant to deconstruction than poplar or switchgrass. In fact, non-pretreated agave has a sugar release five to eight times greater than that of poplar wood and switchgrass . Meanwhile, state of the art techniques including glycome profiling, nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), Simon’s Stain, confocal laser scanning microscopy and so forth, were applied to measure interactions of non-cellulosic wall components, cell wall hydrophilicity, and enzyme accessibility to identify key structural features that make agave cell walls less resistant to biological deconstruction when compared to poplar and switchgrass. Conclusions This study systematically evaluated the recalcitrant features of agave plants towards biofuels applications. The results show that not only does agave present great promise for feeding biorefineries on semi-arid and arid lands, but also show the value of studying agave’s low recalcitrance for developments in improving cellulosic energy crops. PMID:24708685

  17. LIGNOCELLULOSIC BIOMASS AFTER EXPLOSIVE AUTOHYDROLYSIS AS SUBSTRATE TO BUTANOL OBTAINING

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Tigunova

    2016-08-01

    Full Text Available The aim of the work was investigation of the effect of the explosive autohydrolysis on lignocellulosic biomass (saving, switchgrass biomass for consequent use as a substrate to produce biofuels such as butanol. Butanol-producing strains, switchgrass Panicum virgatum L. biomass and its components after autohydrolysis were used in study. The thermobaric pressure pretreatment of lignocellulosic biomass was carried out using specially designed equipment. The effect of explosive autohydrolysis on lignocellulosic biomass for further use in producing biofuels using microbial conversion was studied. Components of lignocellulosic biomass were fractionated after undergoing thermobaric treatment. The possibility of using different raw material components after using explosive autohydrolysis processing to produce biobutanol was found. Products of switchgrass biomass autohydrolysis were shown to need further purification before fermentation from furfural formed by thermobaric pretreatment and inhibiting the growth of microorganisms. The ability of strains of the genus Clostridium to use cellulose as a substrate for fermentation was proved. It was found that using explosive autohydrolysis pretreatment to savings allowed boosting the butanol accumulation by 2 times.

  18. The Implications of Growing Bioenergy Crops on Water Resources, Carbon and Nitrogen Dynamics

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jain, A. K.; Song, Y.; Kheshgi, H. S.

    2016-12-01

    What is the potential for the crops Corn, Miscanthus and switchgrass to meet future energy demands in the U.S.A., and would they mitigate climate change by offsetting fossil fuel greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions? The large-scale cultivation of these bioenergy crops itself could also drive climate change through changes in albedo, evapotranspiration (ET), and GHG emissions. Whether these climate effects will mitigate or exacerbate climate change in the short- and long-term is uncertain. This uncertainty stems from our incomplete understanding of the effects of expanded bioenergy crop production on terrestrial water and energy balance, carbon and nitrogen dynamics, and their interactions. This study aims to understand the implications of growing large-scale bioenergy crops on water resources, carbon and nitrogen dynamics in the United States using a data-modeling framework (ISAM) that we developed. Our study indicates that both Miscanthus and Cave-in-Rock switchgrass can attain high and stable yield over parts of the Midwest, however, this high production is attained at the cost of increased soil water loss as compared to current natural vegetation. Alamo switchgrass can attain high and stable yield in the southern US without significant influence on soil water quantity.

  19. Moth diversity in three biofuel crops and native prairie in Illinois.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Harrison, Terry; Berenbaum, May R

    2013-06-01

    The expanding demand for biofuel feedstock may lead to large-scale conscription of land for monoculture production of biofuel crops with concomitant substantial negative impacts on biodiversity. We compared moth diversity in light-trap samples from corn, miscanthus, switchgrass and native prairie, to determine whether there is an observable relationship between plant species diversity and moth abundance and diversity. Moth alpha diversity was highest in prairie and was higher in switchgrass than in the other two biofuel crops. Beta diversity generally was low among the biofuel crops, and prairie shared lower beta diversity with switchgrass than with corn or miscanthus. Analysis of variance showed no significant differences in moth abundance per species among treatments. The alpha and beta diversity index findings are consistent with those of other studies on arthropods in biofuel crops and provide evidence to suggest that large-scale conversion of acreage to biofuel crops may have substantial negative effects on arthropod biodiversity both within the cropping systems and in the surrounding landscape. © 2012 The Authors Insect Science © 2012 Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences.

  20. Biomass power for rural development. Quarterly report, April 3--July 1, 1998

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Cooper, J.T.

    1998-10-01

    In this quarter a large amount of time was spent doing project planning and budget preparation for the fiscal years 1998 and 1999. Many issues of long-term strategic planning and budgeting depend on the availability of Federal support, including financial, technical and political. It has become increasingly obvious that several significant barriers must be overcome in order to reach the final goal of commercial replication of the technology. Technical barriers include the designing of a cost effective harvest, storage, transport, process and conversion system. While farmers in this region have many decades of experience in harvest, storage and transport of grass, switchgrass presents new challenges due to the harvest requirements and the switchgrass yield potential. The author has identified two locations in the United States that have similar material handling situations, one site in Minnesota the other in Oregon. He has visited the Minnesota site in order to learn from their experience and they may visit the Oregon site in the future. The processing technology remains in a stage of development. As he grows closer to the time for a test co-fire he is beginning to include additional test objectives which individually seem minor, but when taken together provide drivers which impact overall machinery requirement decisions. The next quarter will provide additional levels of detail. This report describes progress in switchgrass conversion development, production activities, environmental analysis planning, and information and education activities.

  1. Bioenergy Crop Breeding and Production Research in the Southeast, Final Report for 1996 to 2001

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Bouton, J.H.

    2003-05-30

    Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.) is a native grass species to much of the US. It has shown great potential for use in production of fuel ethanol from cellulosic biomass (Lynd et al., 1991). Work in Alabama demonstrated very high dry matter yields can be achieved with switchgrass (Maposse et al. 1995) in the southeastern US. Therefore, this region is thought to be an excellent choice for development of a switchgrass cropping system where farmers can produce the grass for either biomass or forage. Another report has shown success with selection and breeding to develop high yielding germplasm from adapted cultivars and ecotypes of switchgrass (Moser and Vogel 1995). In the mid 1990s, however, there was little plant breeding effort for switchgrass with a potential for developing a cultivar for the southeast region. The main goal of the project was to develop adaptive, high-yielding switchgrass cultivars for use in cropping systems for bioenergy production in the southeastern US. A secondary objective was to assess the potential of alternate herbaceous species such as bermudagrass (Cynodon dactylon L.), bahiagrass (Paspalum notatum Flugge.), and napiergrass (Pennisetum purpureum Schumach.) that may compete with switchgrass for herbaceous bioenergy production in the southeast. During the conduct of the project, another goal of developing molecular markers useful for genetic mapping was added. The ''lowland'' cultivars, Alamo and Kanlow, were found to be the highest yielding switchgrass cultivars. Although most summers during the project period were hot and dry, their annual dry matter yield continue to outperform the best ''upland'' cultivars such as Cave-in-Rock, Shawnee, NE Late, and Trailblazer. The use of a breeding procedure based on the ''honeycomb design'' and multi-location progeny testing, coupled with the solid heritability and genetic gain estimates for dry matter yield in lowland type switchgrass

  2. Precision Gas Sampling (PGS) Validation2011-2014 Final Campaign Report

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Tom, M. S. [Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States); Fischer, M. L. [Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States); Biraud, S. C. [Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States); Billesbach, D. [Univ. of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE (United States)

    2016-01-01

    In this field campaign, we used eddy covariance towers to quantify carbon, water, and energy fluxes from a pasture and a wheat field that were converted to switchgrass. The U.S. Department of Energy is investing in switchgrass as a cellulosic bioenergy crop, but there is little data available that could be used to develop or test land surface model representations of the crop. This campaign was a collaboration between Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service. Unfortunately, in 2011, Oklahoma had one of the most severe droughts on record, and the crop in one of the switchgrass fields experienced almost complete die-off. The crop was replanted, but subsequent drought conditions prevented its establishment. Then, in April 2012, a large tornado demolished the instruments at our site in Woodward, Oklahoma. These two events meant that we have some interesting data on land response to extreme weather; however, we were not able to collect continuous data for annual sums as originally intended. We did observe that, because of the drought, the net ecosystem exchange of CO2 was much lower in 2011 than in 2010. Concomitantly, sensible heat fluxes increased and latent heat fluxes decreased. These conditions would have large consequences for land surface forcing of convection. Data from all years were submitted to the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement Climate Research Facility Data Archive, and the sites were registered in AmeriFlux.

  3. Field-to-Fuel Performance Testing of Lignocellulosic Feedstocks: An Integrated Study of the Fast Pyrolysis/Hydrotreating Pathway

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Howe, Daniel T.; Westover, Tyler; Carpenter, Daniel; Santosa, Daniel M.; Emerson, Rachel; Deutch, Steve; Starace, Anne; Kutnyakov, Igor V.; Lukins, Craig D.

    2015-05-21

    Feedstock composition can affect final fuel yields and quality for the fast pyrolysis and hydrotreatment upgrading pathway. However, previous studies have focused on individual unit operations rather than the integrated system. In this study, a suite of six pure lignocellulosic feedstocks (clean pine, whole pine, tulip poplar, hybrid poplar, switchgrass, and corn stover) and two blends (equal weight percentages whole pine/tulip poplar/switchgrass and whole pine/clean pine/hybrid poplar) were prepared and characterized at Idaho National Laboratory. These blends then underwent fast pyrolysis at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and hydrotreatment at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. Although some feedstocks showed a high fast pyrolysis bio-oil yield such as tulip poplar at 57%, high yields in the hydrotreater were not always observed. Results showed overall fuel yields of 15% (switchgrass), 18% (corn stover), 23% (tulip poplar, Blend 1, Blend 2), 24% (whole pine, hybrid poplar) and 27% (clean pine). Simulated distillation of the upgraded oils indicated that the gasoline fraction varied from 39% (clean pine) to 51% (corn stover), while the diesel fraction ranged from 40% (corn stover) to 46% (tulip poplar). Little variation was seen in the jet fuel fraction at 11 to 12%. Hydrogen consumption during hydrotreating, a major factor in the economic feasibility of the integrated process, ranged from 0.051 g/g dry feed (tulip poplar) to 0.070 g/g dry feed (clean pine).

  4. Nest survival modelling using a multi-species approach in forests managed for timber and biofuel feedstock

    Science.gov (United States)

    Loman, Zachary G.; Monroe, Adrian; Riffell, Samuel K.; Miller, Darren A.; Vilella, Francisco; Wheat, Bradley R.; Rush, Scott A.; Martin, James A.

    2018-01-01

    Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) intercropping is a novel forest management practice for biomass production intended to generate cellulosic feedstocks within intensively managed loblolly pine‐dominated landscapes. These pine plantations are important for early‐successional bird species, as short rotation times continually maintain early‐successional habitat. We tested the efficacy of using community models compared to individual surrogate species models in understanding influences on nest survival. We analysed nest data to test for differences in habitat use for 14 bird species in plots managed for switchgrass intercropping and controls within loblolly pine (Pinus taeda) plantations in Mississippi, USA.We adapted hierarchical models using hyper‐parameters to incorporate information from both common and rare species to understand community‐level nest survival. This approach incorporates rare species that are often discarded due to low sample sizes, but can inform community‐level demographic parameter estimates. We illustrate use of this approach in generating both species‐level and community‐wide estimates of daily survival rates for songbird nests. We were able to include rare species with low sample size (minimum n = 5) to inform a hyper‐prior, allowing us to estimate effects of covariates on daily survival at the community level, then compare this with a single‐species approach using surrogate species. Using single‐species models, we were unable to generate estimates below a sample size of 21 nests per species.Community model species‐level survival and parameter estimates were similar to those generated by five single‐species models, with improved precision in community model parameters.Covariates of nest placement indicated that switchgrass at the nest site (forest stand level increased daily nest survival.Synthesis and applications. Community models represent a viable method for estimating community nest survival rates and effects of

  5. Threshold Level of Harvested Litter Input for Carbon Sequestration by Bioenergy Crops

    Science.gov (United States)

    Woo, D.; Quijano, J.; Kumar, P.; Chaoka, S.

    2013-12-01

    Due to the increase in the demands for bioenergy, considerable areas in the Midwestern United States could be converted into croplands for second generation bioenergy, such as the cultivation of miscanthus and switchgrass. Study on the effect of the expansion of these crops on soil carbon and nitrogen dynamics is integral to understanding their long-term environmental impacts. In this study, we focus on a comparative study between miscanthus, swichgrass, and corn-corn-soybean rotation on the below-ground dynamics of carbon and nitrogen. Fate of soil carbon and nitrogen is sensitive to harvest litter treatments and residue quality. Therefore, we attempt to address how different amounts of harvested biomass inputs into the soil impact the evolution of organic carbon and inorganic nitrogen in the subsurface. We use Precision Agricultural Landscape Modeling System, version 5.4.0, to capture biophysical and hydrological components coupled with a multilayer carbon and nitrogen cycle model. We apply the model at daily time scale to the Energy Biosciences Institute study site, located in the University of Illinois Research Farms, in Urbana, Illinois. The atmospheric forcing used to run the model was generated stochastically from parameters obtained from 10 years of atmospheric data recorded at both the study site and Willard Airport. Comparisons of model results against observations of drainage, ammonium and nitrate loads in tile drainage, nitrogen mineralization, nitrification, and litterfall in 2011 reveal the ability of the model to accurately capture the ecohydrology, as well as the carbon and nitrogen dynamics at the study site. The results obtained here highlight that there is a critical return of biomass to the soil when harvested for miscanthus (15% of aboveground biomass), and switchgrass (25%) after which the accumulation of carbon in the soil is significantly enhanced and nitrogen leaching is reduced, unlike corn-corn-soybean rotation. The main factor

  6. Environmental impact of converting Conservation Reserve Program land to perennial bioenergy crops in Illinois.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Blanc-Betes, E.; Hudiburg, T. W.; Khanna, M.; DeLucia, E. H.

    2017-12-01

    Reducing dependence on fossil fuels by the 20% by 2022 mandated by the Energy Independence and Security Act would require 35 billion Ga of ethanol and the loss of 9 to 12 Mha of food producing land to biofuel production, challenging our ability to develop a sustainable bioenergy source while meeting the food demands of a growing population. There are currently 8.5 Mha of land enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), a US government funded program to incentivize the retirement of environmentally sensitive cropland out of conventional crop production. About 63% of CRP land area could potentially be converted to energy crops, contributing to biofuel targets without displacing food. With high yields and low fertilization and irrigation requirements, perennial cellulosic crops (e.g. switchgrass and Miscanthus) not only would reduce land requirements by up to 15% compared to prairies or corn-based biofuel, but also serve other conservation goals such as C sequestration in soils, and water and air quality improvement. Here, we use the DayCent biogeochemical model to assess the potential of CRP land conversion to switchgrass or Miscanthus to provide a sustainable source of biofuel, reduce GHG emissions and increase soil organic carbon (SOC) storage in the area of Illinois, which at present contributes to 10% of the biofuel production in the US. Model simulations indicate that the replacement of traditional corn-soy rotation with CRP reduces GHG emissions by 3.3 Mg CO2-eq ha-1 y-1 and increases SOC storage at a rate of 0.5 Mg C ha-1 y-1. Conversion of CRP land to cellulosic perennials would further reduce GHG emissions by 1.1 Mg CO2-eq ha-1 y-1 for switchgrass and 6.2 Mg CO2-eq ha-1 y-1 for Miscanthus, and increase C sequestration in soils (1.7 Tg C for switchgrass and 7.7 Tg C for Miscanthus in 30 years). Cellulosic energy crops would increase average annual yields by approximately 5.6 Mg ha-1 for switchgrass and 13.6 Mg ha-1 for Miscanthus, potentially

  7. Nest survival modelling using a multi-species approach in forests managed for timber and biofuel feedstock

    Science.gov (United States)

    Loman, Zachary G.; Monroe, Adrian; Riffell, Samuel K.; Miller, Darren A.; Vilella, Francisco; Wheat, Bradley R.; Rush, Scott A.; Martin, James A.

    2018-01-01

    Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) intercropping is a novel forest management practice for biomass production intended to generate cellulosic feedstocks within intensively managed loblolly pine‐dominated landscapes. These pine plantations are important for early‐successional bird species, as short rotation times continually maintain early‐successional habitat. We tested the efficacy of using community models compared to individual surrogate species models in understanding influences on nest survival. We analysed nest data to test for differences in habitat use for 14 bird species in plots managed for switchgrass intercropping and controls within loblolly pine (Pinus taeda) plantations in Mississippi, USA.We adapted hierarchical models using hyper‐parameters to incorporate information from both common and rare species to understand community‐level nest survival. This approach incorporates rare species that are often discarded due to low sample sizes, but can inform community‐level demographic parameter estimates. We illustrate use of this approach in generating both species‐level and community‐wide estimates of daily survival rates for songbird nests. We were able to include rare species with low sample size (minimum n = 5) to inform a hyper‐prior, allowing us to estimate effects of covariates on daily survival at the community level, then compare this with a single‐species approach using surrogate species. Using single‐species models, we were unable to generate estimates below a sample size of 21 nests per species.Community model species‐level survival and parameter estimates were similar to those generated by five single‐species models, with improved precision in community model parameters.Covariates of nest placement indicated that switchgrass at the nest site (<4 m) reduced daily nest survival, although intercropping at the forest stand level increased daily nest survival.Synthesis and applications. Community models represent a viable

  8. Evaluation of the Relative Merits of Herbaceous and Woody Crops for Use in Tunable Thermochemical Processing

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Park, Joon-Hyun [Ceres, Inc., Thousand Oaks, CA (United States); Martinalbo, Ilya [Choren USA, LLC, Houston, TX (United States)

    2011-12-01

    This report summarizes the work and findings of the grant work conducted from January 2009 until September 2011 under the collaboration between Ceres, Inc. and Choren USA, LLC. This DOE-funded project involves a head-to-head comparison of two types of dedicated energy crops in the context of a commercial gasification conversion process. The main goal of the project was to gain a better understanding of the differences in feedstock composition between herbaceous and woody species, and how these differences may impact a commercial gasification process. In this work, switchgrass was employed as a model herbaceous energy crop, and willow as a model short-rotation woody crop. Both crops are species native to the U.S. with significant potential to contribute to U.S. goals for renewable liquid fuel production, as outlined in the DOE Billion Ton Update (http://www1.eere.energy.gov/biomass/billion_ton_update.html, 2011). In some areas of the U.S., switching between woody and herbaceous feedstocks or blending of the two may be necessary to keep a large-scale gasifier operating near capacity year round. Based on laboratory tests and process simulations it has been successfully shown that suitable high yielding switchgrass and willow varieties exist that meet the feedstock specifications for large scale entrained flow biomass gasification. This data provides the foundation for better understanding how to use both materials in thermochemical processes. It has been shown that both switchgrass and willow varieties have comparable ranges of higher heating value, BTU content and indistinguishable hydrogen/carbon ratios. Benefits of switchgrass, and other herbaceous feedstocks, include its low moisture content, which reduce energy inputs and costs for drying feedstock. Compared to the typical feedstock currently being used in the Carbo-V® process, switchgrass has a higher ash content, combined with a lower ash melting temperature. Whether or not this may cause inefficiencies in the

  9. Influence of spatially dependent, modeled soil carbon emission factors on life-cycle greenhouse gas emissions of corn and cellulosic ethanol

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Qin, Zhangcai [Energy Systems Division, Argonne National Laboratory, 9700 South Cass Avenue Argonne IL 60439 USA; Dunn, Jennifer B. [Energy Systems Division, Argonne National Laboratory, 9700 South Cass Avenue Argonne IL 60439 USA; Kwon, Hoyoung [Environment and Production Technology Division, International Food Policy Research Institute, 2033 K St. NW Washington DC 20006 USA; Mueller, Steffen [Energy Resources Center, University of Illinois at Chicago, 1309 South Halsted Street Chicago IL 60607 USA; Wander, Michelle M. [Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1102 South Goodwin Avenue Urbana IL 61801 USA

    2016-03-03

    Converting land to biofuel feedstock production incurs changes in soil organic carbon (SOC) that can influence biofuel life-cycle greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Estimates of these land use change (LUC) and life-cycle GHG emissions affect biofuels’ attractiveness and eligibility under a number of renewable fuel policies in the U.S. and abroad. Modeling was used to refine the spatial resolution and depth-extent of domestic estimates of SOC change for land (cropland, cropland pasture, grasslands, and forests) conversion scenarios to biofuel crops (corn, corn stover, switchgrass, Miscanthus, poplar, and willow). In most regions, conversions from cropland and cropland pasture to biofuel crops led to neutral or small levels of SOC sequestration, while conversion of grassland and forest generally caused net SOC loss. Results of SOC change were incorporated into the Greenhouse Gases, Regulated Emissions, and Energy use in Transportation (GREET) model to assess their influence on life-cycle GHG emissions for the biofuels considered. Total LUC GHG emissions (g CO2eq MJ-1) were 2.1–9.3 for corn, -0.7 for corn stover, -3.4–12.9 for switchgrass, and -20.1–-6.2 for Miscanthus; these varied with SOC modeling assumptions applied. Extending soil depth from 30 to 100cm affected spatially-explicit SOC change and overall LUC GHG emissions; however the influence on LUC GHG emissions estimates were less significant in corn and corn stover than cellulosic feedstocks. Total life-cycle GHG emissions (g CO2eq MJ-1, 100cm) were estimated to be 59–66 for corn ethanol, 14 for stover ethanol, 18-26 for switchgrass ethanol, and -0.6–-7 for Miscanthus ethanol.

  10. Development of a farm-firm modelling system for evaluation of herbaceous energy crops

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    English, B.C.; Alexander, R.R.; Loewen, K.H.; Coady, S.A.; Cole, G.V.; Goodman, W.R. (Tennessee Univ., Knoxville, TN (United States). Dept. of Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology)

    1992-01-01

    A complete analysis is performed to simulate biomass production incorporated into a realistic whole farm situation, including or replacing a typical crop mix. Representative farms are constructed to accommodate such simulation. Four management systems are simulated for each firm, with each simulation depicting a different crop mix and/or use of different farming technologies and production methods. The first simulation was a base farm plan in which the operator would maintain the historical crop mix for the area, participate in all price support programs, and not participate in either a conservative reserve or a biomass production program. In the second simulation, the operator would again maintain the historical crop mix, would not participate in a conservation reserve or biomass production program, and would be ineligible to participate in any price support system. The third simulation introduced the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) and included participation in all price support programs. The fourth simulation introduced a biomass crop production enterprise (switchgrass) as an alternative to enrolling highly erodible cropland in the CRP and allowed participation in price support programs. Simulations were made for three farms, two in West Tennessee and on in South Georgia. Results indicate that erosion is likely to be reduced more by the diversion of cropland to permanent vegetative cover on farms similar to the more highly erodible West Tennessee farms than on the less erodible Tift County, Georgia farm. Equivalent reductions in erosion rates result from entering highly erodible cropland in the CRP and from production of switchgrass as a biomass energy crop. Both switchgrass and CRP farm plans result in decreased net returns from the base plan, although the biomass farm plans are, in general, more profitable than the CRP plans.

  11. Potential phosphorus eutrophication mitigation strategy: Biochar carbon composition, thermal stability and pH influence phosphorus sorption.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ngatia, L W; Hsieh, Y P; Nemours, D; Fu, R; Taylor, R W

    2017-08-01

    Phosphorus (P) eutrophication is a major pollution problem globally, with unprecedented amount of P emanating from agricultural sources. But little is known about the optimization of soil-biochar P sorption capacity. The study objective was to determine how biochar feedstocks and pyrolysis conditions influences carbon (C) thermal stability, C composition and pH and in turn influence the phosphorus sorption optimization. Biochar was produced from switchgrass, kudzu and Chinese tallow at 200, 300, 400, 500, 550, 650,750 °C. Carbon thermal stability was determined by multi-element scanning thermal analysis (MESTA), C composition was determined using solid state 13 C NMR. Phosphorus sorption was determined using a mixture of 10% biochar and 90% sandy soil after incubation. Results indicate increased P sorption (P biochar pyrolysis temperature. However, optimum P sorption was feedstock specific with switchgrass indicating P desorption between 200 and 550 °C. Phosphorus sorption was in the order of kudzu > switchgrass > Chinese tallow. Total C, C thermal stability, aromatic C and alkalinity increased with elevated pyrolysis temperature. Biochar alkalinity favored P sorption. There was a positive relationship between high thermal stable C and P sorption for Kudzu (r = 0.62; P = 0.0346) and Chinese tallow (r = 0.73; P = 0.0138). In conclusion, biochar has potential for P eutrophication mitigation, however, optimum biochar pyrolysis temperature for P sorption is feedstock specific and in some cases might be out of 300-500 °C temperature range commonly used for agronomic application. High thermal stable C dominated by aromatic C and alkaline pH seem to favor P sorption. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  12. Identifying potential areas for biofuel production and evaluating the environmental effects: a case study of the James River Basin in the Midwestern United States

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wu, Yiping; Liu, Shu-Guang; Li, Zhengpeng

    2012-01-01

    Biofuels are now an important resource in the United States because of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. Both increased corn growth for ethanol production and perennial dedicated energy crop growth for cellulosic feedstocks are potential sources to meet the rising demand for biofuels. However, these measures may cause adverse environmental consequences that are not yet fully understood. This study 1) evaluates the long-term impacts of increased frequency of corn in the crop rotation system on water quantity and quality as well as soil fertility in the James River Basin and 2) identifies potential grasslands for cultivating bioenergy crops (e.g. switchgrass), estimating the water quality impacts. We selected the soil and water assessment tool, a physically based multidisciplinary model, as the modeling approach to simulate a series of biofuel production scenarios involving crop rotation and land cover changes. The model simulations with different crop rotation scenarios indicate that decreases in water yield and soil nitrate nitrogen (NO3-N) concentration along with an increase in NO3-N load to stream water could justify serious concerns regarding increased corn rotations in this basin. Simulations with land cover change scenarios helped us spatially classify the grasslands in terms of biomass productivity and nitrogen loads, and we further derived the relationship of biomass production targets and the resulting nitrogen loads against switchgrass planting acreages. The suggested economically efficient (planting acreage) and environmentally friendly (water quality) planting locations and acreages can be a valuable guide for cultivating switchgrass in this basin. This information, along with the projected environmental costs (i.e. reduced water yield and increased nitrogen load), can contribute to decision support tools for land managers to seek the sustainability of biofuel development in this region.

  13. Soil denitrifier community size changes with land use change to perennial bioenergy cropping systems

    Science.gov (United States)

    Thompson, Karen A.; Deen, Bill; Dunfield, Kari E.

    2016-10-01

    Dedicated biomass crops are required for future bioenergy production. However, the effects of large-scale land use change (LUC) from traditional annual crops, such as corn-soybean rotations to the perennial grasses (PGs) switchgrass and miscanthus, on soil microbial community functioning is largely unknown. Specifically, ecologically significant denitrifying communities, which regulate N2O production and consumption in soils, may respond differently to LUC due to differences in carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) inputs between crop types and management systems. Our objective was to quantify bacterial denitrifying gene abundances as influenced by corn-soybean crop production compared to PG biomass production. A field trial was established in 2008 at the Elora Research Station in Ontario, Canada (n  =  30), with miscanthus and switchgrass grown alongside corn-soybean rotations at different N rates (0 and 160 kg N ha-1) and biomass harvest dates within PG plots. Soil was collected on four dates from 2011 to 2012 and quantitative PCR was used to enumerate the total bacterial community (16S rRNA) and communities of bacterial denitrifiers by targeting nitrite reductase (nirS) and N2O reductase (nosZ) genes. Miscanthus produced significantly larger yields and supported larger nosZ denitrifying communities than corn-soybean rotations regardless of management, indicating large-scale LUC from corn-soybean to miscanthus may be suitable in variable Ontario climatic conditions and under varied management, while potentially mitigating soil N2O emissions. Harvesting switchgrass in the spring decreased yields in N-fertilized plots, but did not affect gene abundances. Standing miscanthus overwinter resulted in higher 16S rRNA and nirS gene copies than in fall-harvested crops. However, the size of the total (16S rRNA) and denitrifying bacterial communities changed differently over time and in response to LUC, indicating varying controls on these communities.

  14. Carbon Debt of CRP Lands Converted to Annual and Perennial Bioenergy Crops

    Science.gov (United States)

    Abraha, M.; Gelfand, I.; Hamilton, S. K.; Chen, J.; Robertson, G. P.

    2017-12-01

    The net greenhouse gas fluxes of an ecosystem are directly influenced by land use conversions. In the USA, 5 Mha of grassland in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) have been converted to agricultural production in response to higher demand for corn grain biofuel. The global warming impact (GWI) of these biofuel crops can remain positive for many years following the conversions until the "carbon debt" incurred upon conversion is repaid. Model estimates suggest that 340-351 ×106 Mt of carbon dioxide equivalents (CO2eq) would be released to the atmosphere after the conversions. These estimates, while highly uncertain, appear to have payback times of decades or even centuries. In a field experiment conducted from 2009-16, we converted CRP grassland and conventionally-tilled agricultural (AGR) land to grain (corn) and cellulosic (switchgrass and restored prairie) biofuel feedstocks. We conducted life cycle analysis (LCA) on all converted lands by accounting for greenhouse gas fluxes related to farming operations, agronomic inputs, and soil-atmosphere greenhouse gas exchanges. We found that cumulative carbon debt for the conversion on former CRP grasslands over the 8 years is -295, 652 and 7661 gCO2eq m-2 for switchgrass, restored prairie and corn, respectively, where a positive debt indicates net emissions to the atmosphere. These indicate that the switchgrass field repaid its carbon debt in the 8th year following conversion; and the restored prairie field will likely repay its carbon debt in the next year. The corn field, however, is projected to pay its carbon debt in another 250 years. The same biofuel crops established on former AGR lands became net CO2eq sinks within two years following the conversion. Our findings indicate that the GWI estimates and the time needed to repay CO2eq debt due to conversion of grasslands to bioenergy crops is underestimated by current models.

  15. The impact of dry matter loss during herbaceous biomass storage on net greenhouse gas emissions from biofuels production

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Emery, Isaac R.; Mosier, Nathan S.

    2012-01-01

    Life cycle inventory models of greenhouse gas emissions from biofuel production have become tightly integrated into government mandates and other policies to encourage biofuel production. Current models do not include life cycle impacts of biomass storage or reflect current literature on emissions from soil and biomass decomposition. In this study, the GREET model framework was used to determine net greenhouse gas emissions during ethanol production from corn and switchgrass via three biomass storage systems: wet ensiling of whole corn, and indoor and outdoor dry bale storage of corn stover and switchgrass. Dry matter losses during storage were estimated from the literature and used to modify GREET inventory analysis. Results showed that biomass stability is a key parameter affecting fuel production per farmed hectare and life cycle greenhouse gas emissions. Corn silage may generate 5358 L/ha of ethanol at 26.5 g CO 2 eq/MJ, relative to 5654 L/ha at 52.3 g CO 2 eq/MJ from combined corn stover and conventional grain corn ethanol production, or 3919 L/ha at 21.3 g CO 2 eq/MJ from switchgrass. Dry matter losses can increase net emissions by 3–25% (ensiling), 5–53% (bales outdoors), or 1–12% (bales indoors), decreasing the net GHG reduction of ethanol over gasoline by up to 10.9%. Greater understanding of biomass storage losses and greenhouse gas fluxes during storage is necessary to accurately assess biomass storage options to ensure that the design of biomass supply logistics systems meet GHG reduction mandates for biofuel production. -- Highlights: ► Analyzed the impact of biomass loss during storage. ► Probable dry matter losses strongly depend on storage method and infrastructure. ► Assessed impact of storage losses on LCA for cellulosic ethanol production. ► Storage losses increase GHG emissions by 1–53% depending upon storage conditions.

  16. Accumulation of 137Cs and 90Sr from contaminated soil by three grass species inoculated with mycorrhizal fungi

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Entry, J.A.; Watrud, L.S.; Reeves, M.

    1999-01-01

    The use of plants to accumulate low level radioactive waste from soil, followed by incineration of plant material to concentrate radionuclides may prove to be a viable and economical method of remediating contaminated areas. We tested the influence of arbuscular mycorrhizae on 137 Cs and 90 Sr uptake by bahia grass (Paspalum notatum), johnson grass (Sorghum halpense) and switchgrass (Panicum virginatum) for the effectiveness on three different contaminated soil types. Exposure to 137 Cs or 90 Sr over the course of the experiment did not affect above ground biomass of the three grasses. The above ground biomass of bahia, johnson and switchgrass plants accumulated from 26.3 to 71.7% of the total amount of the 137 Cs and from 23.8 to 88.7% of the total amount of the 90 Sr added to the soil after three harvests. In each of the three grass species tested, plants inoculated with Glomus mosseae or Glomus intraradices had greater aboveground plant biomass, higher concentrations of 137 Cs or 90 Sr in plant tissue, % accumulation of 137 Cs or 90 Sr from soil and plant bioconcentration ratios at each harvest than those that did not receive mycorrhizal inoculation. Johnson grass had greater aboveground plant biomass, greater accumulation of 137 Cs or 90 Sr from soil and plant higher bioconcentration ratios with arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi than bahia grass and switchgrass. The greatest accumulation of 137 Cs and 90 Sr was observed in johnson grass inoculated with G. mosseae. Grasses can grow in wide geographical ranges that include a broad variety of edaphic conditions. The highly efficient removal of these radionuclides by these grass species after inoculation with arbuscular mycorrhizae supports the concept that remediation of radionuclide contaminated soils using mycorrhizal plants may present a viable strategy to remediate and reclaim sites contaminated with radionuclides

  17. Development of a farm-firm modelling system for evaluation of herbaceous energy crops

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    English, B.C.; Alexander, R.R.; Loewen, K.H.; Coady, S.A.; Cole, G.V.; Goodman, W.R.

    1992-01-01

    A complete analysis is performed to simulate biomass production incorporated into a realistic whole farm situation, including or replacing a typical crop mix. Representative farms are constructed to accommodate such simulation. Four management systems are simulated for each firm, with each simulation depicting a different crop mix and/or use of different farming technologies and production methods. The first simulation was a base farm plan in which the operator would maintain the historical crop mix for the area, participate in all price support programs, and not participate in either a conservative reserve or a biomass production program. In the second simulation, the operator would again maintain the historical crop mix, would not participate in a conservation reserve or biomass production program, and would be ineligible to participate in any price support system. The third simulation introduced the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) and included participation in all price support programs. The fourth simulation introduced a biomass crop production enterprise (switchgrass) as an alternative to enrolling highly erodible cropland in the CRP and allowed participation in price support programs. Simulations were made for three farms, two in West Tennessee and on in South Georgia. Results indicate that erosion is likely to be reduced more by the diversion of cropland to permanent vegetative cover on farms similar to the more highly erodible West Tennessee farms than on the less erodible Tift County, Georgia farm. Equivalent reductions in erosion rates result from entering highly erodible cropland in the CRP and from production of switchgrass as a biomass energy crop. Both switchgrass and CRP farm plans result in decreased net returns from the base plan, although the biomass farm plans are, in general, more profitable than the CRP plans

  18. Biomass supply chain management in North Carolina (part 2: biomass feedstock logistical optimization

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Kevin Caffrey

    2016-03-01

    Full Text Available Biomass logistics operations account for a major portion of the feedstock cost of running a biorefinery, and make up a significant portion of total system operational costs. Biomass is a bulky perishable commodity that is required in large quantities year round for optimal biorefinery operations. As a proof of concept for a decision making tool for biomass production and delivery, a heuristic was developed to determine biorefinery location, considering city size, agricultural density, and regional demographics. Switchgrass and sorghum (with winter canola were selected to examine as viable biomass feedstocks based on positive economic results determined using a predictive model for cropland conversion potential. Biomass harvest systems were evaluated to examine interrelationships of biomass logistical networks and the least cost production system, with results demonstrating a need to shift to maximize supply-driven production harvest operations and limit storage requirements. For this supply-driven production harvest operations approach a harvest window from September until March was selected for producing big square bales of switchgrass for storage until use, forage chopped sorghum from September to December, and forage chopped switchgrass from December to March. A case study of the three major regions of North Carolina (Mountains, Piedmont, and Coastal Plain was used to assess logistical optimization of the proposed supply-driven production harvest system. Potential biomass production fields were determined within a hundred mile radius of the proposed biorefinery location, with individual fields designated for crop and harvest system by lowest transportation cost. From these selected fields, crops and harvest system regional storage locations were determined using an alternate location-allocation heuristic with set storage capacity per site. Model results showed that the supply-driven production harvest system greatly reduced system complexity

  19. Effects of forest-based bioenergy feedstock production on shallow groundwater quality of a drained forest soil.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cacho, Julian F; Youssef, Mohamed A; Chescheir, George M; Wayne Skaggs, R; Appelboom, Timothy W; Leggett, Zakiya H; Sucre, Eric B; Nettles, Jami E; Arellano, Consuelo

    2018-03-05

    Managed forests in southern U.S. are a potential source of lignocellulosic biomass for biofuel production. Changes in management practices to optimize biomass production may impact the quality of waters draining to nutrient-sensitive waters in coastal plain regions. We investigated shallow groundwater quality effects of intercropping switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.) with managed loblolly pine (Pinus taeda L.) to produce bioenergy feedstock and quality sawtimber in a poorly drained soil of eastern North Carolina, U.S.A. Treatments included PINE (traditional pine production), PSWITCH (pine-switchgrass intercropped), SWITCH (switchgrass monoculture) and REF (mature loblolly pine stand). Each treatment was replicated three times on 0.8ha plots drained by parallel-open ditches, 1.0-1.2m deep and 100m apart. Water samples were collected monthly or more frequently after fertilizer application. Water samples were analyzed for organic nitrogen (ON), ammonium N (NH 4 + - N), and nitrite+nitrate N (NO 3 - + NO 2 - - N), ortohophosphate phosphorus (OP), and total organic carbon (TOC). Overall, PSWITCH did not significantly affect shallow groundwater quality relative to PINE and SWITCH. ON, NO 3 - + NO 2 - - N, and TOC concentrations in PSWITCH, PINE and SWITCH were substantially elevated during the two years after tree harvest and site establishment. The elevated nutrient concentrations at the beginning of the study were likely caused by a combination of rapid organic matter decomposition of the abundant supply of post-harvest residues, warming of exposed soil surfaces and reduction of plant nutrient uptake that can occur after harvesting, and pre-plant fertilization. Nutrient concentrations returned to background levels observed in REF during the third year after harvest. Copyright © 2018 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  20. Field-to-Fuel Performance Testing of Lignocellulosic Feedstocks for Fast Pyrolysis and Upgrading: Techno-economic Analysis and Greenhouse Gas Life Cycle Analysis

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Meyer, Pimphan A.; Snowden-Swan, Lesley J.; Rappé, Kenneth G.; Jones, Susanne B.; Westover, Tyler L.; Cafferty, Kara G.

    2016-11-17

    This work shows preliminary results from techno-economic analysis and life cycle greenhouse gas analysis of the conversion of seven (7) biomass feedstocks to produce liquid transportation fuels via fast pyrolysis and upgrading via hydrodeoxygenation. The biomass consists of five (5) pure feeds (pine, tulip poplar, hybrid poplar, switchgrass, corn stover) and two blends. Blend 1 consists of equal weights of pine, tulip poplar and switchgrass, and blend 2 is 67% pine and 33% hybrid poplar. Upgraded oil product yield is one of the most significant parameters affecting the process economics, and is a function of both fast pyrolysis oil yield and hydrotreating oil yield. Pure pine produced the highest overall yield, while switchgrass produced the lowest. Interestingly, herbaceous materials blended with woody biomass performed nearly as well as pure woody feedstock, suggesting a non-trivial relationship between feedstock attributes and production yield. Production costs are also highly dependent upon hydrotreating catalyst-related costs. The catalysts contribute an average of ~15% to the total fuel cost, which can be reduced through research and development focused on achieving performance at increased space velocity (e.g., reduced catalyst loading) and prolonging catalyst lifetime. Green-house-gas reduction does not necessarily align with favorable economics. From the greenhouse gas analysis, processing tulip poplar achieves the largest GHG emission reduction relative to petroleum (~70%) because of its lower hydrogen consumption in the upgrading stage that results in a lower natural gas requirement for hydrogen production. Conversely, processing blend 1 results in the smallest GHG emission reduction from petroleum (~58%) because of high natural gas demand for hydrogen production.

  1. Transcriptome-based analyses of phosphite-mediated suppression of rust pathogens Puccinia emaculata and Phakopsora pachyrhizi and functional characterization of selected fungal target genes.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gill, Upinder S; Sun, Liang; Rustgi, Sachin; Tang, Yuhong; von Wettstein, Diter; Mysore, Kirankumar S

    2018-03-01

    Phosphite (Phi) is used commercially to manage diseases mainly caused by oomycetes, primarily due to its low cost compared with other fungicides and its persistent control of oomycetous pathogens. We explored the use of Phi in controlling the fungal pathogens Puccinia emaculata and Phakopsora pachyrhizi, the causal agents of switchgrass rust and Asian soybean rust, respectively. Phi primes host defenses and efficiently inhibits the growth of P. emaculata, P. pachyrhizi and several other fungal pathogens tested. To understand these Phi-mediated effects, a detailed molecular analysis was undertaken in both the host and the pathogen. Transcriptomic studies in switchgrass revealed that Phi activates plant defense signaling as early as 1 h after application by increasing the expression of several cytoplasmic and membrane receptor-like kinases and defense-related genes within 24 h of application. Unlike in oomycetes, RNA sequencing of P. emaculata and P. pachyrhizi did not exhibit Phi-mediated retardation of cell wall biosynthesis. The genes with reduced expression in either or both rust fungi belonged to functional categories such as ribosomal protein, actin, RNA-dependent RNA polymerase, and aldehyde dehydrogenase. A few P. emaculata genes that had reduced expression upon Phi treatment were further characterized. Application of double-stranded RNAs specific to P. emaculata genes encoding glutamate N-acetyltransferase and cystathionine gamma-synthase to switchgrass leaves resulted in reduced disease severity upon P. emaculata inoculation, suggesting their role in pathogen survival and/or pathogenesis. © 2018 The Authors The Plant Journal © 2018 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  2. Driftless Area Initiative Biomass Energy Project

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Wright, Angie [Northeast Iowa Resource Conservation & Development, Inc., Postville, IA (United States); Bertjens, Steve [Natural Resources Conservation Service, Madison, WI (United States); Lieurance, Mike [Northeast Iowa Resource Conservation & Development, Inc., Postville, IA (United States); Berguson, Bill [Univ. of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN (United States). Natural Resources Research Inst.; Buchman, Dan [Univ. of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN (United States). Natural Resources Research Inst.

    2012-12-31

    The Driftless Area Initiative Biomass Energy Project evaluated the potential for biomass energy production and utilization throughout the Driftless Region of Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin. The research and demonstration aspect of the project specifically focused on biomass energy feedstock availability and production potential in the region, as well as utilization potential of biomass feedstocks for heat, electrical energy production, or combined heat and power operations. The Driftless Region was evaluated because the topography of the area offers more acres of marginal soils on steep slopes, wooded areas, and riparian corridors than the surrounding “Corn Belt”. These regional land characteristics were identified as potentially providing opportunity for biomass feedstock production that could compete with traditional agriculture commodity crops economically. The project researched establishment methods and costs for growing switchgrass on marginal agricultural lands to determine the economic and quantitative feasibility of switchgrass production for biomass energy purposes. The project was successful in identifying the best management and establishment practices for switchgrass in the Driftless Area, but also demonstrated that simple economic payback versus commodity crops could not be achieved at the time of the research. The project also analyzed the availability of woody biomass and production potential for growing woody biomass for large scale biomass energy production in the Driftless Area. Analysis determined that significant resources exist, but costs to harvest and deliver to the site were roughly 60% greater than that of natural gas at the time of the study. The project contributed significantly to identifying both production potential of biomass energy crops and existing feedstock availability in the Driftless Area. The project also analyzed the economic feasibility of dedicated energy crops in the Driftless Area. High commodity crop prices

  3. Prospects for Hybrid Breeding in Bioenergy Grasses

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Aguirre, Andrea Arias; Studer, Bruno; Frei, Ursula

    2012-01-01

    , we address crucial topics to implement hybrid breeding, such as the availability and development of heterotic groups, as well as biological mechanisms for hybridization control such as self-incompatibility (SI) and male sterility (MS). Finally, we present potential hybrid breeding schemes based on SI...... of different hybrid breeding schemes to optimally exploit heterosis for biomass yield in perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.) and switchgrass (Panicum virgatum), two perennial model grass species for bioenergy production. Starting with a careful evaluation of current population and synthetic breeding methods...

  4. COREMIC: a web-tool to search for a niche associated CORE MICrobiome

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Richard R. Rodrigues

    2018-02-01

    Full Text Available Microbial diversity on earth is extraordinary, and soils alone harbor thousands of species per gram of soil. Understanding how this diversity is sorted and selected into habitat niches is a major focus of ecology and biotechnology, but remains only vaguely understood. A systems-biology approach was used to mine information from databases to show how it can be used to answer questions related to the core microbiome of habitat-microbe relationships. By making use of the burgeoning growth of information from databases, our tool “COREMIC” meets a great need in the search for understanding niche partitioning and habitat-function relationships. The work is unique, furthermore, because it provides a user-friendly statistically robust web-tool (http://coremic2.appspot.com or http://core-mic.com, developed using Google App Engine, to help in the process of database mining to identify the “core microbiome” associated with a given habitat. A case study is presented using data from 31 switchgrass rhizosphere community habitats across a diverse set of soil and sampling environments. The methodology utilizes an outgroup of 28 non-switchgrass (other grasses and forbs to identify a core switchgrass microbiome. Even across a diverse set of soils (five environments, and conservative statistical criteria (presence in more than 90% samples and FDR q-val <0.05% for Fisher’s exact test a core set of bacteria associated with switchgrass was observed. These included, among others, closely related taxa from Lysobacter spp., Mesorhizobium spp, and Chitinophagaceae. These bacteria have been shown to have functions related to the production of bacterial and fungal antibiotics and plant growth promotion. COREMIC can be used as a hypothesis generating or confirmatory tool that shows great potential for identifying taxa that may be important to the functioning of a habitat (e.g. host plant. The case study, in conclusion, shows that COREMIC can identify key habitat

  5. Growth and use of energy grasses as a fuel

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    NONE

    2000-09-01

    This summary outlines the main conclusions of the project which aims to provide information on the growth, yields, and combustion characteristics of Miscanthus, switchgrass, Spartina, rye, and reed canary grass. Details are given of the small-plot trials of the non-wood biomass fuels, the planting, pests and diseases, the falling over of crops, the time of harvest, moisture content, yields, combustion trials, fuel and ash characterisation, and costs/income. Tables are provided illustrating the cumulative yield, the costs of the different species of energy grasses, and the annual mean gross margins over 5, 10, 15, and 20 years.

  6. Laboratory Scale Coal And Biomass To Drop-In Fuels (CBDF) Production And Assessment

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Lux, Kenneth [Altex Technologies Corporation, Sunnyvale, CA (United States); Imam, Tahmina [Altex Technologies Corporation, Sunnyvale, CA (United States); Chevanan, Nehru [Altex Technologies Corporation, Sunnyvale, CA (United States); Namazian, Mehdi [Altex Technologies Corporation, Sunnyvale, CA (United States); Wang, Xiaoxing [Pennsylvania State Univ., University Park, PA (United States); Song, Chunshan [Pennsylvania State Univ., University Park, PA (United States)

    2016-06-29

    This Final Technical Report describes the work and accomplishments of the project entitled, “Laboratory Scale Coal and Biomass to Drop-In Fuels (CBDF) Production and Assessment.” The main objective of the project was to fabricate and test a lab-scale liquid-fuel production system using coal containing different percentages of biomass such as corn stover and switchgrass at a rate of 2 liters per day. The system utilizes the patented Altex fuel-production technology, which incorporates advanced catalysts developed by Pennsylvania State University. The system was designed, fabricated, tested, and assessed for economic and environmental feasibility relative to competing technologies.

  7. Water Quality and Quantity Implications of Biofuel Intercropping at a Regional Scale (Invited)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Christopher, S. F.; Schoenholtz, S. H.; Nettles, J.

    2010-12-01

    Because of a strong national interest in greater energy independence and concern for the role of fossil fuels in global climate change, the importance of biofuels as an alternative renewable energy source has developed rapidly. The U.S. government has mandated production of 36 billion gallons of renewable fuels by 2022, which compromises 15 % of U.S. liquid transportation fuels. Large-scale production of corn-based ethanol often requires irrigation and is associated with erosion, excess sediment export, and leaching of nitrogen and phosphorus. Production of cellulosic biomass offers a promising alternative to corn-based systems. Although cultivation of switchgrass using standard agricultural practices is one option being considered for production of cellulosic biomass, intercropping cellulosic biofuel crops within managed forests could provide feedstock without primary land use change or the water quality impacts associated with annual crops. Catchlight Energy LLC is examining the feasibility and sustainability of intercropping switchgrass in loblolly pine plantations in the southeastern US. While ongoing research is determining efficient operational techniques, information needed to evaluate the effects of these practices on water resources, such as field-scale evapotranspiration rates, nutrient cycling, and soil erosion rates are being examined in a large watershed study. Three sets of four to five sub-watersheds are fully instrumented and currently collecting calibration data, with forest-based biofuel treatments to be installed in 2011 and 2012. These watershed studies will give us detailed information to understand processes and guide management decisions. However, environmental implications of these systems need to be examined at a regional scale. We used the Soil Water Assessment Tool (SWAT), a physically-based hydrologic model, to examine various scenarios ranging from switchgrass intercropping a small percentage of managed pine forest land to conversion of

  8. Bioenergy Technologies Office FY 2017 Budget At-A-Glance

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    None

    2016-03-01

    The Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) is accelerating the commercialization of first-of-a-kind technologies that use our nation’s abundant renewable biomass resources for the production of advanced biofuels and biobased products. Non-food sources of biomass, such as algae, agricultural residues and forestry trimmings, and energy crops like switchgrass, are being used in BETO-supported, cutting-edge technologies to produce drop-in biofuels, including renewable gasoline, diesel, and jet fuels. BETO is also investigating how to improve the economics of biofuel production by converting biomass into higher-value chemicals and products that historically have always been derived from petroleum.

  9. The effects of energy grass plantations on biodiversity

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Semere, T.; Slater, F.

    2005-07-01

    The ecological impact on local wildlife of biomass plantations of three different species of grasses has been monitored in the years 2002 to 2004 inclusive at farms in Herefordshire UK. Two of the grasses were not native to Britain. Wildlife monitored included ground flora, beetles, insects, birds, small mammals, butterflies, bees and hoverflies. The results provide a baseline of biodiversity data from biomass farms in England, although due to poor crop growth, the data from the switch-grass plantation was incomplete. The surveys were carried out by Cardiff University supported financially by the DTI.

  10. Litter Inputs and Soil Aggregation in Midwestern Biofuel Crops

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kantola, I. B.; Masters, M. D.; Smyth, E. M.; DeLucia, E. H.

    2014-12-01

    Perennial C4 grasses represent alternatives to corn for the production of ethanol because of low management costs and high biomass production. To evaluate the effects of perennial grasses on the agricultural soils of the Midwest, native switchgrass and a sterile hybrid of the Asian grass Miscanthus were planted at the University of Illinois Energy Farm in 2008. Through five years of growth, above and belowground plant biomass, litter, and soil were compared with soils in plots growing a corn-corn-soy rotation typical of the area. Above- and belowground plant biomass in Miscanthus and switchgrass averaged higher than corn/soy following two years of perennial establishment, with belowground biomass exceeding corn/soy by approximately 5-fold in the year after establishment (2010) and 25-fold by 2012. Measurements of root distribution and turnover rates indicate that roots are the primary contribution of new carbon to soils under perennial crops. Physical fractionation of the soils into water stable aggregates showed 4-14% increases in macroaggregate fractions under perennial crops; the large aggregates are adhered together by organic material and indicative of the increased presence of labile carbon forms like plant roots, fungi, and plant and microbial exudates. Carbon and nitrogen analyses of the fractions show that while overall carbon has not increased significantly in whole soil, soils under perennial grasses are concentrating carbon by 5-17% in the macroaggregates after just 5 years. Native switchgrass roots (buried) and litter (surface-applied) decompose faster than Miscanthus roots and litter, but slower than corn roots and litter buried to simulate incorporation by tillage. Switchgrass soil shows the highest degree of macroaggregate formation, pointing to a high rate of litter and root decomposition and incorporation into soil structure. While macroaggregates are relatively labile soil structures compared to microaggregates and free silt and clay, they offer

  11. The effect of aqueous ammonia soaking pretreatment on methane generation uing different lignocellulosic feedstocks

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Antonopoulou, Georgia; Jonuzaj, Suela; Gavala, Hariklia N.

    2014-01-01

    Lignocellulosic biomass including agricultural and forestry residues, perennial crops, softwoods and hardwoods, can be used as feedstock for methane production. Although being abundant and almost zero cost feedstocks, the main obstacles of their use are the low efficiencies and yields attained, d...... methane potential of switchgrass. Transactions of the ASABE. 53, 1921-1927 (2010) [3] Jurado, E., Gavala., H.N., Skiadas, I.V., :Enhancement of methane yield from wheat straw, miscanthus and willow using aqueous ammonia soaking. Environmental Tecnology. 34(13-14), 2069-2075 (2013)...

  12. The effects of energy grass plantations on biodiversity

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Semere, T.; Slater, F.

    2005-01-01

    The ecological impact on local wildlife of biomass plantations of three different species of grasses has been monitored in the years 2002 to 2004 inclusive at farms in Herefordshire UK. Two of the grasses were not native to Britain. Wildlife monitored included ground flora, beetles, insects, birds, small mammals, butterflies, bees and hoverflies. The results provide a baseline of biodiversity data from biomass farms in England, although due to poor crop growth, the data from the switch-grass plantation was incomplete. The surveys were carried out by Cardiff University supported financially by the DTI

  13. Characterization of three plant biomass-degrading microbial consortia by metagenomics- and metasecretomics-based approaches

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Jiménez, Diego Javier; Brossi, Maria Julia de Lima; Schückel, Julia

    2016-01-01

    ), switchgrass (SG-M) and corn stover (CS-M) under aerobic and mesophilic conditions. Molecular fingerprintings, bacterial 16S ribosomal RNA (rRNA) gene amplicon sequencing and metagenomic analyses showed that the three microbial consortia were taxonomically distinct. Based on the taxonomic affiliation......). The highest degradation rates of lignin (~59 %) were observed with SG-M, whereas CS-M showed a high consumption of cellulose and hemicellulose. Analyses of the carbohydrate-active enzymes in the three microbial consortia showed the dominance of glycosyl hydrolases (e.g. of families GH3, GH43, GH13, GH10, GH29...

  14. The American farm: Harnessing the sun to fuel the world

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    1994-03-01

    This NREL publication forecasts the future in energy crops. Tomorrow's farm will produce crops like corn, soybeans, rapeseed, sunflowers for food and fuel. Farmers will harvest switchgrass and then sell it for feed or to make ethanol. Aspects of planting trees that are beneficial to the environment such as filtering run-off water are discussed. Economic issues of energy crop growth are presented. The harvesting of trees for pulp, paper, and energy and corn for electricity, fuels, and chemicals are both emphasized. Tree harvesting research from breeding programs to high-tech harvesting techniques is presented

  15. Trace Gas Exchange of Biofuel Crops

    Science.gov (United States)

    Graus, M.; Warneke, C.; Williams, E. J.; Lerner, B. M.; Gilman, J. B.; Li, R.; Eller, A. S.; Gray, C.; Fierer, N.; Fall, R.; Harley, P. C.; Roberts, J. M.; Yuan, B.; Qian, Y.; Westra, P.; Fryrear, C.; Collins, M.; Whitman, K.; De Gouw, J. A.

    2011-12-01

    In 2010 leaf level gas exchange and VOC fluxes from switchgrass and corn grown at the CSU horticultural farm in Ft Collins (CO) were measured using a PTR-MS coupled to a modified Li6400 cuvette system. Both species are C4 plants with corn currently being the dominant biofuel crop in the USA whilst switchgrass being a promising candidate for cellulosic fuel ethanol production. Amongst the strongest VOC emissions from both plants were methanol, acetic acid, acetaldehyde, acetone and toluene. The switchgrass VOC emissions compare reasonably well with the only published data measured from potted plants in a whole plant enclosure (Eller et al. 2011). VOC emission studies on corn are almost as scarce as those of switchgrass. Considering the acreage of corn grown in the USA every year, VOC flux measurements of this plant species are largely under-represented in the literature. The emission rates that do exist in the literature do not compare well with the numbers found in this study (e.g. Das et al. 2003; 35μg methanol per hour per gram biomass). To investigate the biosphere atmosphere exchange of corn fields in more detail the field campaign BioCORN 2011 was initiated. In summer 2011 an eddy covariance system was set up in a corn field at ARDEC (CSU, Ft Collins, CO) to investigate the energy flux and the trace gas exchange of the US' dominant biofuel crop. Besides energy flux, evapotranspiration and CO2 flux a comprehensive suite of volatile organic compounds and inorganic species (O3, NO, NO2, CO) are measured for virtual disjunct eddy covariance (vDEC) analysis and true eddy covariance (EC) fluxes, respectively. VOCs are monitored by PTR-MS and, for the first time, fluxes of formic acid are measured utilizing NI-CIMS data for vDEC analysis. Besides the EC approach leaf level flux measurements and soil flux measurements are performed using a GC-MS system (TACOH) coupled to a modified Li6400 system and to soil chambers, respectively. Ethanol and methanol are amongst the

  16. Water Use and Quality Footprints of Biofuel Crops in Florida

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shukla, S.; Hendricks, G.; Helsel, Z.; Knowles, J.

    2013-12-01

    The use of biofuel crops for future energy needs will require considerable amounts of water inputs. Favorable growing conditions for large scale biofuel production exist in the sub-tropical environment of South Florida. However, large-scale land use change associated with biofuel crops is likely to affect the quantity and quality of water within the region. South Florida's surface and ground water resources are already stressed by current allocations. Limited data exists to allocate water for growing the energy crops as well as evaluate the accompanying hydrologic and water quality impacts of large-scale land use changes. A three-year study was conducted to evaluate the water supply and quality impacts of three energy crops: sugarcane, switchgrass, and sweet sorghum (with a winter crop). Six lysimeters were used to collect the data needed to quantify crop evapotranspiration (ETc), and nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) levels in groundwater and discharge (drainage and runoff). Each lysimeter (4.85 x 3.65 x 1.35 m) was equipped to measure water input, output, and storage. The irrigation, runoff, and drainage volumes were measured using flow meters. Groundwater samples were collected bi-weekly and drainage/runoff sampling was event based; samples were analyzed for nitrogen (N) and phosphorous (P) species. Data collected over the three years revealed that the average annual ETc was highest for sugarcane (1464 mm) followed by switchgrass and sweet sorghum. Sweet sorghum had the highest total N (TN) concentration (7.6 mg/L) in groundwater and TN load (36 kg/ha) in discharge. However, sweet sorghum had the lowest total P (TP) concentration (1.2 mg/L) in groundwater and TP load (9 kg/ha) in discharge. Water use footprint for ethanol (liter of water used per liter of ethanol produced) was lowest for sugarcane and highest for switchgrass. Switchgrass had the highest P-load footprint for ethanol. No differences were observed for the TN load footprint for ethanol. This is the

  17. Analysis of the impact of energy crops on water quality. Final report

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Hatfield, J.L.; Gale, W.J.

    1993-01-01

    This report consists of two separate papers. The first, ''The potential use of agricultural simulation models in predicting the fate of nitrogen and pesticides applied to switchgrass and poplars,'' describes three models (CREAMS, GLEAMS, and EPIC) for the evaluation of the relationships which determine water quality in the agroecosystem. Case studies are presented which demonstrate the utility of these models in evaluating the potential impact of alternative crop management practices. The second paper, ''Energy crops as part of a sustainable landscape,'' discusses concepts of landscape management and the linkage among agricultural practices and environmental quality

  18. Characterizing model uncertainties in the life cycle of lignocellulose-based ethanol fuels.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Spatari, Sabrina; MacLean, Heather L

    2010-11-15

    Renewable and low carbon fuel standards being developed at federal and state levels require an estimation of the life cycle carbon intensity (LCCI) of candidate fuels that can substitute for gasoline, such as second generation bioethanol. Estimating the LCCI of such fuels with a high degree of confidence requires the use of probabilistic methods to account for known sources of uncertainty. We construct life cycle models for the bioconversion of agricultural residue (corn stover) and energy crops (switchgrass) and explicitly examine uncertainty using Monte Carlo simulation. Using statistical methods to identify significant model variables from public data sets and Aspen Plus chemical process models,we estimate stochastic life cycle greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions for the two feedstocks combined with two promising fuel conversion technologies. The approach can be generalized to other biofuel systems. Our results show potentially high and uncertain GHG emissions for switchgrass-ethanol due to uncertain CO₂ flux from land use change and N₂O flux from N fertilizer. However, corn stover-ethanol,with its low-in-magnitude, tight-in-spread LCCI distribution, shows considerable promise for reducing life cycle GHG emissions relative to gasoline and corn-ethanol. Coproducts are important for reducing the LCCI of all ethanol fuels we examine.

  19. Induced Land Use Emissions due to First and Second Generation Biofuels and Uncertainty in Land Use Emission Factors

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Farzad Taheripour

    2013-01-01

    Full Text Available Much research has estimated induced land use changes (ILUCs and emissions for first generation biofuels. Relatively little has provided estimates for the second generation biofuels. This paper estimates ILUC emissions for the first and second generation biofuels. Estimated ILUC emissions are uncertain not only because their associated land use changes are uncertain, but also because of uncertainty in the land use emission factors (EFs. This paper also examines uncertainties related to these factors. The results suggest that converting crop residues to biofuel has no significant ILUC emissions, but that is not the case for dedicated energy crops. Use of dedicated energy crops transfers managed natural land and marginal land (cropland-pasture to crop production. Producing biogasoline from miscanthus generates the lowest land requirement among alterative pathways. The largest land requirement is associated with switchgrass. The difference is due largely to the assumed yields of switchgrass and miscanthus. The three major conclusions from uncertainty in emissions analyses are (1 inclusion or exclusion of cropland-pasture makes a huge difference; (2 changes in soil carbon sequestration due to changes in land cover vegetation play an important role; and (3 there is wide divergence among the emission factor sources, especially for dedicated crop conversion to ethanol.

  20. Investigating Impacts of Alternative Crop Market Scenarios on Land Use Change with an Agent-Based Model

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Deng Ding

    2015-11-01

    Full Text Available We developed an agent-based model (ABM to simulate farmers’ decisions on crop type and fertilizer application in response to commodity and biofuel crop prices. Farm profit maximization constrained by farmers’ profit expectations for land committed to biofuel crop production was used as the decision rule. Empirical parameters characterizing farmers’ profit expectations were derived from an agricultural landowners and operators survey and integrated in the ABM. The integration of crop production cost models and the survey information in the ABM is critical to producing simulations that can provide realistic insights into agricultural land use planning and policy making. Model simulations were run with historical market prices and alternative market scenarios for corn price, soybean to corn price ratio, switchgrass price, and switchgrass to corn stover ratio. The results of the comparison between simulated cropland percentage and crop rotations with satellite-based land cover data suggest that farmers may be underestimating the effects that continuous corn production has on yields. The simulation results for alternative market scenarios based on a survey of agricultural land owners and operators in the Clear Creek Watershed in eastern Iowa show that farmers see cellulosic biofuel feedstock production in the form of perennial grasses or corn stover as a more risky enterprise than their current crop production systems, likely because of market and production risks and lock in effects. As a result farmers do not follow a simple farm-profit maximization rule.

  1. Overexpression of the WOX gene STENOFOLIA improves biomass yield and sugar release in transgenic grasses and display altered cytokinin homeostasis.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wang, Hui; Niu, Lifang; Fu, Chunxiang; Meng, Yingying; Sang, Dajun; Yin, Pengcheng; Wu, Jinxia; Tang, Yuhong; Lu, Tiegang; Wang, Zeng-Yu; Tadege, Million; Lin, Hao

    2017-03-01

    Lignocellulosic biomass can be a significant source of renewable clean energy with continued improvement in biomass yield and bioconversion strategies. In higher plants, the leaf blade is the central energy convertor where solar energy and CO2 are assimilated to make the building blocks for biomass production. Here we report that introducing the leaf blade development regulator STENOFOLIA (STF), a WOX family transcription factor, into the biofuel crop switchgrass, significantly improves both biomass yield and sugar release. We found that STF overexpressing switchgrass plants produced approximately 2-fold more dry biomass and release approximately 1.8-fold more solubilized sugars without pretreatment compared to controls. The biomass increase was attributed mainly to increased leaf width and stem thickness, which was also consistent in STF transgenic rice and Brachypodium, and appeared to be caused by enhanced cell proliferation. STF directly binds to multiple regions in the promoters of some cytokinin oxidase/dehydrogenase (CKX) genes and represses their expression in all three transgenic grasses. This repression was accompanied by a significant increase in active cytokinin content in transgenic rice leaves, suggesting that the increase in biomass productivity and sugar release could at least in part be associated with improved cytokinin levels caused by repression of cytokinin degrading enzymes. Our study provides a new tool for improving biomass feedstock yield in bioenergy crops, and uncovers a novel mechanistic insight in the function of STF, which may also apply to other repressive WOX genes that are master regulators of several key plant developmental programs.

  2. Challenges and models in supporting logistics system design for dedicated-biomass-based bioenergy industry.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhu, Xiaoyan; Li, Xueping; Yao, Qingzhu; Chen, Yuerong

    2011-01-01

    This paper analyzed the uniqueness and challenges in designing the logistics system for dedicated biomass-to-bioenergy industry, which differs from the other industries, due to the unique features of dedicated biomass (e.g., switchgrass) including its low bulk density, restrictions on harvesting season and frequency, content variation with time and circumambient conditions, weather effects, scattered distribution over a wide geographical area, and so on. To design it, this paper proposed a mixed integer linear programming model. It covered from planting and harvesting switchgrass to delivering to a biorefinery and included the residue handling, concentrating on integrating strategic decisions on the supply chain design and tactical decisions on the annual operation schedules. The present numerical examples verified the model and demonstrated its use in practice. This paper showed that the operations of the logistics system were significantly different for harvesting and non-harvesting seasons, and that under the well-designed biomass logistics system, the mass production with a steady and sufficient supply of biomass can increase the unit profit of bioenergy. The analytical model and practical methodology proposed in this paper will help realize the commercial production in biomass-to-bioenergy industry. Copyright © 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  3. Co-gasification of biosolids with biomass: Thermogravimetric analysis and pilot scale study in a bubbling fluidized bed reactor.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yu, Ming Ming; Masnadi, Mohammad S; Grace, John R; Bi, Xiaotao T; Lim, C Jim; Li, Yonghua

    2015-01-01

    This work studied the feasibility of co-gasification of biosolids with biomass as a means of disposal with energy recovery. The kinetics study at 800°C showed that biomass, such as switchgrass, could catalyze the reactions because switchgrass ash contained a high proportion of potassium, an excellent catalyst for gasification. However, biosolids could also inhibit gasification due to interaction between biomass alkali/alkaline earth metals and biosolids clay minerals. In the pilot scale experiments, increasing the proportion of biosolids in the feedstock affected gasification performance negatively. Syngas yield and char conversion decreased from 1.38 to 0.47m(3)/kg and 82-36% respectively as the biosolids proportion in the fuel increased from 0% to 100%. Over the same range, the tar content increased from 10.3 to 200g/m(3), while the ammonia concentration increased from 1660 to 19,200ppmv. No more than 25% biosolids in the fuel feed is recommended to maintain a reasonable gasification. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  4. Understanding changes in lignin of Panicum virgatum and Eucalyptus globulus as a function of ionic liquid pretreatment.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Varanasi, Patanjali; Singh, Priyanka; Arora, Rohit; Adams, Paul D; Auer, Manfred; Simmons, Blake A; Singh, Seema

    2012-12-01

    Ionic liquids (ILs) have shown great potential for the reduction of lignin in biomass after pretreatment. Although dilute acid and base pretreatments have been shown to result in pretreated biomass with substantially different lignin composition, there is scarce information on the composition of lignin of IL pretreated biomass. In this work, temperature dependent compositional changes in lignin after IL pretreatment were studied to develop a mechanistic understanding of the process. Panicum virgatum and Eucalyptus globulus were pretreated with 1-ethyl-3-methylimidazolium acetate ([C(2)mim][OAc]). Measurement of syringyl and guaiacyl ratio using pyrolysis-GC/MS and Kamlet-Taft properties of [C(2)mim][OAc] at 120 °C and 160 °C strongly suggest two different modes of IL pretreatment. Preferential breakdown of S-lignin in both eucalyptus and switchgrass at high pretreatment temperature (160 °C) and breakdown of G-lignin for eucalyptus and no preferential break down of either S- or G-lignin in switchgrass was observed at lower pretreatment temperatures (120 °C). Copyright © 2012. Published by Elsevier Ltd.

  5. Breakdown of cell wall nanostructure in dilute acid pretreated biomass.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pingali, Sai Venkatesh; Urban, Volker S; Heller, William T; McGaughey, Joseph; O'Neill, Hugh; Foston, Marcus; Myles, Dean A; Ragauskas, Arthur; Evans, Barbara R

    2010-09-13

    The generation of bioethanol from lignocellulosic biomass holds great promise for renewable and clean energy production. A better understanding of the complex mechanisms of lignocellulose breakdown during various pretreatment methods is needed to realize this potential in a cost and energy efficient way. Here we use small-angle neutron scattering (SANS) to characterize morphological changes in switchgrass lignocellulose across molecular to submicrometer length scales resulting from the industrially relevant dilute acid pretreatment method. Our results demonstrate that dilute acid pretreatment increases the cross-sectional radius of the crystalline cellulose fibril. This change is accompanied by removal of hemicellulose and the formation of R(g) ∼ 135 A lignin aggregates. The structural signature of smooth cell wall surfaces is observed at length scales larger than 1000 A, and it remains remarkably invariable during pretreatment. This study elucidates the interplay of the different biomolecular components in the breakdown process of switchgrass by dilute acid pretreatment. The results are important for the development of efficient strategies of biomass to biofuel conversion.

  6. Mapping grasslands suitable for cellulosic biofuels in the Greater Platte River Basin, United States

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wylie, Bruce K.; Gu, Yingxin

    2012-01-01

    Biofuels are an important component in the development of alternative energy supplies, which is needed to achieve national energy independence and security in the United States. The most common biofuel product today in the United States is corn-based ethanol; however, its development is limited because of concerns about global food shortages, livestock and food price increases, and water demand increases for irrigation and ethanol production. Corn-based ethanol also potentially contributes to soil erosion, and pesticides and fertilizers affect water quality. Studies indicate that future potential production of cellulosic ethanol is likely to be much greater than grain- or starch-based ethanol. As a result, economics and policy incentives could, in the near future, encourage expansion of cellulosic biofuels production from grasses, forest woody biomass, and agricultural and municipal wastes. If production expands, cultivation of cellulosic feedstock crops, such as switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.) and miscanthus (Miscanthus species), is expected to increase dramatically. The main objective of this study is to identify grasslands in the Great Plains that are potentially suitable for cellulosic feedstock (such as switchgrass) production. Producing ethanol from noncropland holdings (such as grassland) will minimize the effects of biofuel developments on global food supplies. Our pilot study area is the Greater Platte River Basin, which includes a broad range of plant productivity from semiarid grasslands in the west to the fertile corn belt in the east. The Greater Platte River Basin was the subject of related U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) integrated research projects.

  7. The miR156-SPL4 module predominantly regulates aerial axillary bud formation and controls shoot architecture.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gou, Jiqing; Fu, Chunxiang; Liu, Sijia; Tang, Chaorong; Debnath, Smriti; Flanagan, Amy; Ge, Yaxin; Tang, Yuhong; Jiang, Qingzhen; Larson, Preston R; Wen, Jiangqi; Wang, Zeng-Yu

    2017-11-01

    Grasses possess basal and aerial axillary buds. Previous studies have largely focused on basal bud (tiller) formation but scarcely touched on aerial buds, which may lead to aerial branch development. Genotypes with and without aerial buds were identified in switchgrass (Panicum virgatum), a dedicated bioenergy crop. Bud development was characterized using scanning electron microscopy. Microarray, RNA-seq and quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR) were used to identify regulators of bud formation. Gene function was characterized by down-regulation and overexpression. Overexpression of miR156 induced aerial bud formation in switchgrass. Various analyses revealed that SQUAMOSA PROMOTER BINDING PROTEIN LIKE4 (SPL4), one of the miR156 targets, directly regulated aerial axillary bud initiation. Down-regulation of SPL4 promoted aerial bud formation and increased basal buds, while overexpression of SPL4 seriously suppressed bud formation and tillering. RNA-seq and RT-qPCR identified potential downstream genes of SPL4. Unlike all previously reported genes acting as activators of basal bud initiation, SPL4 acts as a suppressor for the formation of both aerial and basal buds. The miR156-SPL4 module predominantly regulates aerial bud initiation and partially controls basal bud formation. Genetic manipulation of SPL4 led to altered plant architecture with increased branching, enhanced regrowth after cutting and improved biomass yield. © 2017 The Authors. New Phytologist © 2017 New Phytologist Trust.

  8. Production of alcohols and other oxygenates from fossil fuels and renewables : final report for IEA Alternative Motor Fuels Agreement Program of research and development on alternative motor fuels, Annex 4/Phase 2

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Vancea, L. (comp.) [Natural Resources Canada, Ottawa, ON (Canada)

    1995-07-01

    The objective of the International Energy Agency's (IEA's) Alternative Motor Fuels Agreement Program was to exchange information on the production of alcohols and other oxygenates between 6 participating countries including Canada, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Sweden and the United States. Various production methods were reviewed in an effort to identify potential areas of cooperative research programs. The original scope was to examine the production of alcohols and other oxygenates from fossil fuels only, but some participants examined their production from renewables. This report provided a brief description of the Annex and the list of participants. It presented the Operating Agent's Report and contained a summary of the contributions submitted by participating countries by topic. In Canada, Iogen of Ottawa, Ontario has conducted a study on the energy, carbon and economic budgets estimated for wheat grain, corn grain, wheat straw, and switchgrass. Iogen has developed a process for fermenting wheat straw and switchgrass into ethanol. Most research has focused on enzymatic hydrolysis processes because of the low yields inherent in dilute acid hydrolysis processes. Enzymes hydrolyze the cellulose to glucose without producing any degradation products, thereby yielding high quantity products with no toxicity. Future bioethanol production will probably be cellulosic-based rather than grain-based. refs., tabs., figs.

  9. Genomic Characterization of Interspecific Hybrids and an Admixture Population Derived from Panicum amarum × P. virgatum

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Christopher Heffelfinger

    2015-07-01

    Full Text Available Switchgrass ( L. and its relatives are regarded as top bioenergy crop candidates; however, one critical barrier is the introduction of useful genetic diversity and the development of new cultivars and hybrids. Combining genomes from related cultivars and species provides an opportunity to introduce new traits. In switchgrass, a breeding advantage would be achieved by combining the genomes of intervarietal ecotypes or interspecific hybrids. The recovery of wide crosses, however, is often tedious and may involve complicated embryo rescue and numerous backcrosses. Here, we demonstrate a straightforward approach to wide crosses involving the use of a selectable transgene for recovery of interspecific [ cv. Alamo × Ell var or Atlantic Coastal Panicgrass (ACP] F hybrids followed by backcrossing to generate a nontransgenic admixture population. A nontransgenic herbicide-sensitive (HbS admixture population of 83 FBC progeny was analyzed by genotyping-by-sequencing (GBS to characterize local ancestry, parental contribution, and patterns of recombination. These results demonstrate a widely applicable breeding strategy that makes use of transgenic selectable resistance to identify and recover true hybrids.

  10. Identification and thermochemical analysis of high-lignin feedstocks for biofuel and biochemical production

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Mendu Venugopal

    2011-10-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background Lignin is a highly abundant biopolymer synthesized by plants as a complex component of plant secondary cell walls. Efforts to utilize lignin-based bioproducts are needed. Results Herein we identify and characterize the composition and pyrolytic deconstruction characteristics of high-lignin feedstocks. Feedstocks displaying the highest levels of lignin were identified as drupe endocarp biomass arising as agricultural waste from horticultural crops. By performing pyrolysis coupled to gas chromatography-mass spectrometry, we characterized lignin-derived deconstruction products from endocarp biomass and compared these with switchgrass. By comparing individual pyrolytic products, we document higher amounts of acetic acid, 1-hydroxy-2-propanone, acetone and furfural in switchgrass compared to endocarp tissue, which is consistent with high holocellulose relative to lignin. By contrast, greater yields of lignin-based pyrolytic products such as phenol, 2-methoxyphenol, 2-methylphenol, 2-methoxy-4-methylphenol and 4-ethyl-2-methoxyphenol arising from drupe endocarp tissue are documented. Conclusions Differences in product yield, thermal decomposition rates and molecular species distribution among the feedstocks illustrate the potential of high-lignin endocarp feedstocks to generate valuable chemicals by thermochemical deconstruction.

  11. Improving Bioenergy Crops through Dynamic Metabolic Modeling

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Mojdeh Faraji

    2017-10-01

    Full Text Available Enormous advances in genetics and metabolic engineering have made it possible, in principle, to create new plants and crops with improved yield through targeted molecular alterations. However, while the potential is beyond doubt, the actual implementation of envisioned new strains is often difficult, due to the diverse and complex nature of plants. Indeed, the intrinsic complexity of plants makes intuitive predictions difficult and often unreliable. The hope for overcoming this challenge is that methods of data mining and computational systems biology may become powerful enough that they could serve as beneficial tools for guiding future experimentation. In the first part of this article, we review the complexities of plants, as well as some of the mathematical and computational methods that have been used in the recent past to deepen our understanding of crops and their potential yield improvements. In the second part, we present a specific case study that indicates how robust models may be employed for crop improvements. This case study focuses on the biosynthesis of lignin in switchgrass (Panicum virgatum. Switchgrass is considered one of the most promising candidates for the second generation of bioenergy production, which does not use edible plant parts. Lignin is important in this context, because it impedes the use of cellulose in such inedible plant materials. The dynamic model offers a platform for investigating the pathway behavior in transgenic lines. In particular, it allows predictions of lignin content and composition in numerous genetic perturbation scenarios.

  12. Modeling Phosphorus Capture by Plants Growing in a Multispecies Riparian Buffer

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    J. M. Kelly

    2012-01-01

    Full Text Available The NST 3.0 mechanistic nutrient uptake model was used to explore P uptake to a depth of 120 cm over a 126 d growing season in simulated buffer communities composed of mixtures of cottonwood (Populus deltoids Bartr., switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L., and smooth brome (Bromus inermis Leyss. Model estimates of P uptake from pure stands of smooth brome and cottonwood were 18.9 and 24.5 kg ha−1, respectively. Uptake estimates for mixed stands of trees and grasses were intermediate to pure stands. A single factor sensitivity analysis of parameters used to calculate P uptake for each cover type indicated that Imax, k, ro, and Lo were consistently the most responsive to changes ranging from −50% to +100%. Model exploration of P uptake as a function of soil depth interval indicated that uptake was highest in the 0–30 cm intervals, with values ranging from 85% of total for cottonwood to 56% for switchgrass.

  13. Adsorption of metribuzin from aqueous solution using magnetic and nonmagnetic sustainable low-cost biochar adsorbents.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Essandoh, Matthew; Wolgemuth, Daniel; Pittman, Charles U; Mohan, Dinesh; Mlsna, Todd

    2017-02-01

    Switchgrass biochar (SGB) was made by fast pyrolysis in an auger-fed reactor at 425 °C with a solid residence time of 60 s in the pyrolysis zone during bio-oil production. Magnetic switchgrass biochar (MSGB) was prepared by iron oxide precipitation onto the biochar surface using an aqueous Fe 3+ /Fe 2+ solution followed by NaOH treatment. Both the SGB and the MSGB were characterized by FTIR, SEM, SEM-EDX, TGA, pH pzc , elemental analysis, and surface area measurements. Batch sorption studies of metribuzin from aqueous solutions were carried out at different pH values, adsorbate concentrations, and temperatures. The adsorption of metribuzin onto both biochars was highest at a pH of 2. Adsorption isotherms were evaluated from 25 to 45 °C using the Freundlich, Langmuir, Redlich-Peterson, Toth, Sips, Koble-Corrigan, and Radke-Prausnitz adsorption models. Langmuir adsorption capacities at pH 2 were Q 0 SGB  ~ 151, 223, and 205 mg/g and Q 0 MSGB  ~ 155, 205, and 155 mg/g at 25, 35, and 45 °C, respectively. Low-cost magnetization of the biochar occurred without significant loss of absorption capacity, enabling facile separation of slurried biochar from liquids following contaminate absorption. Graphical abstract ᅟ.

  14. Isolation and characterization of Rhizobium sp. strain YS-1r that degrades lignin in plant biomass.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jackson, C A; Couger, M B; Prabhakaran, M; Ramachandriya, K D; Canaan, P; Fathepure, B Z

    2017-04-01

    The aim of this work was to isolate novel lignin-degrading organisms. Several pure cultures of bacteria that degrade lignin were isolated from bacterial consortia developed from decaying biomass. Among the isolates, Rhizobium sp. strain YS-1r (closest relative of Rhizobium petrolearium strain SL-1) was explored for its lignin-degrading ability. Microcosm studies showed that strain YS-1r was able to degrade a variety of lignin monomers, dimers and also native lignin in switchgrass and alfalfa. The isolate demonstrated lignin peroxidase (LiP) activity when grown on alkali lignin, p-anisoin, switchgrass or alfalfa, and only negligible activity was measured in glucose-grown cells suggesting inducible nature of the LiP activity. Analysis of the strain YS-1r genome revealed the presence of a variety of genes that code for various lignin-oxidizing, H 2 O 2 -producing as well as polysaccharide-hydrolysing enzymes. This study shows both the genomic and physiological capability of bacteria in the genus Rhizobium to metabolize lignin and lignin-like compounds. This is the first detailed report on the lignocellulose-degrading ability of a Rhizobium species and thus this study expands the role of alpha-proteobacteria in the degradation of lignin. The organism's ability to degrade lignin is significant since Rhizobia are widespread in soil, water and plant rhizospheres and some fix atmospheric nitrogen and also have the ability to degrade aromatic hydrocarbons. © 2017 The Society for Applied Microbiology.

  15. The impact of site preparation for biofuel and sawtimber production on soil compaction and long-term soil productivity

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Leggett, Z.H.; Sucre, E.B. [Weyerhaeuser NR Co., Vanceboro, NC (United States)

    2010-07-01

    Research into renewable fuel sources has increased as a result of increasing global concerns over carbon dioxide (CO{sub 2}) emissions. This study assessed that potential effects of concurrent biofuel and high quality wood product production in forests along the lower coastal plain of North Carolina. The effects of intercropping and biomass management on site productivity and sustainability were investigated on loblolly pine plantations; loblolly pine and switchgrass; and loblolly pines with flat-planted pine trees planted between crop tree beds. Stands of switchgrass only were also investigated. The treatments were established on 0.81 hectare plots and replicated 4 times. The impacts of various non-traditional land management approaches on soil productivity and sustainability were assessed, as well as the site preparations needed to develop a dual crop system. The study showed no significant differences in soil compaction before and after the treatments were installed. Average soil resistance across all treatments at the soil surface was 201 kPa. Soil resistance increased to 1539 kPa and 1923 kPa at depths of 15 and 30 cm. The study indicated that dual crop systems and practices for biofuel and timber production are both economically feasible and environmentally sustainable.

  16. High-resolution techno-ecological modelling of a bioenergy landscape to identify climate mitigation opportunities in cellulosic ethanol production

    Science.gov (United States)

    Field, John L.; Evans, Samuel G.; Marx, Ernie; Easter, Mark; Adler, Paul R.; Dinh, Thai; Willson, Bryan; Paustian, Keith

    2018-02-01

    Although dedicated energy crops will probably be an important feedstock for future cellulosic bioenergy production, it is unknown how they can best be integrated into existing agricultural systems. Here we use the DayCent ecosystem model to simulate various scenarios for growing switchgrass in the heterogeneous landscape that surrounds a commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol biorefinery in southwestern Kansas, and quantify the associated fuel production costs and lifecycle greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. We show that the GHG footprint of ethanol production can be reduced by up to 22 g of CO2 equivalent per megajoule (CO2e MJ-1) through careful optimization of the soils cultivated and corresponding fertilizer application rates (the US Renewable Fuel Standard requires a 56 gCO2e MJ-1 lifecycle emissions reduction for `cellulosic' biofuels compared with conventional gasoline). This improved climate performance is realizable at modest additional costs, less than the current value of low-carbon fuel incentives. We also demonstrate that existing subsidized switchgrass plantings within this landscape probably achieve suboptimal GHG mitigation, as would landscape designs that strictly minimize the biomass collection radius or target certain marginal lands.

  17. Bioremediation and phytoremediation of total petroleum hydrocarbons (TPH) under various conditions.

    Science.gov (United States)

    McIntosh, Patrick; Schulthess, Cristian P; Kuzovkina, Yulia A; Guillard, Karl

    2017-08-03

    Remediation of contaminated soils is often studied using fine-textured soils rather than low-fertility sandy soils, and few studies focus on recontamination events. This study compared aerobic and anaerobic treatments for remediation of freshly introduced used motor oil on a sandy soil previously phytoremediated and bioacclimated (microorganisms already adapted in the soil environment) with some residual total petroleum hydrocarbon (TPH) contamination. Vegetated and unvegetated conditions to remediate anthropogenic fill containing residual TPH that was spiked with nonaqueous phase liquids (NAPLs) were evaluated in a 90-day greenhouse pot study. Vegetated treatments used switchgrass (Panicum virgatum). The concentration of aerobic bacteria were orders of magnitude higher in vegetated treatments compared to unvegetated. Nevertheless, final TPH concentrations were low in all saturated soil treatments, and high in the presence of switchgrass. Concentrations were also low in unvegetated pots with fertilizer. Acclimated indigenous microbial communities were shown to be more effective in breaking down hydrocarbons than introducing microbes from the addition of plant treatments in sandy soils. Remediation of fresh introduced NAPLs on pre-phytoremediated and bioacclimated soil was most efficient in saturated, anaerobic environments, probably due to the already pre-established microbial associations, easily bioavailable contaminants, and optimized soil conditions for microbial establishment and survival.

  18. Development of Genomic and Genetic Tools for Foxtail Millet, and Use of These Tools in the Improvement of Biomass Production for Bioenergy Crops

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Doust, Andrew, N.

    2011-11-11

    The overall aim of this research was to develop genomic and genetic tools in foxtail millet that will be useful in improving biomass production in bioenergy crops such as switchgrass, napier grass, and pearl millet. A variety of approaches have been implemented, and our lab has been primarily involved in genome analysis and quantitative genetic analysis. Our progress in these activities has been substantially helped by the genomic sequence of foxtail millet produced by the Joint Genome Institute (Bennetzen et al., in prep). In particular, the annotation and analysis of candidate genes for architecture, biomass production and flowering has led to new insights into the control of branching and flowering time, and has shown how closely related flowering time is to vegetative architectural development and biomass accumulation. The differences in genetic control identified at high and low density plantings have direct relevance to the breeding of bioenergy grasses that are tolerant of high planting densities. The developmental analyses have shown how plant architecture changes over time and may indicate which genes may best be manipulated at various times during development to obtain required biomass characteristics. This data contributes to the overall aim of significantly improving genetic and genomic tools in foxtail millet that can be directed to improvement of bioenergy grasses such as switchgrass, where it is important to maximize vegetative growth for greatest biomass production.

  19. Environmental enchancement using short-rotation tree crops: research results and directions

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Tolbert, V.R.; Schiller, A.

    1996-10-01

    Short-rotation woody crops (SRWC) and perennial grasses used as biomass feedstocks for energy and fiber can provide multiple economic and environmental benefits. Site-specific environmental studies are providing information needed to help evaluate the economic and environmental impacts of biomass production at both local and regional scales. Erosion and chemical movement from an annual row crop, switchgrass, and tree crop with and without a groundcover are being compared in the Southeast. Studies of SRWC productivity on the South Carolina coastal plain are comparing surface and subsurface movement of chemicals applied under different fertilization and irrigation regimes, and addressing use of mill and agricultural residues to enhance crop production. Results are helping to assess the effects of biomass crops produced on different principal soil types and to match tree species with appropriate sites to maximize productivity and minimize environmental impacts. Studies are comparing wildlife use of biomass crops to row crops, grasslands, and natural forests. Results to date show that SRWCs support greater bird diversity than row crops, but less than natural forests; switchgrass plantings extend habitat for grasslands birds. Collaboration with an industrial partner on diverse SRWC plantings in the Southeast is addressing the relationship between plantings of different acreage, age, tree species, and landscape context and breeding bird use. Information from wildlife diversity, water, and soil quality studies can be used by the Biofuels Feedstock Development Program (BFDP), researchers, producers, and industry to identify management strategies to maintain productivity While enhancing the environment.

  20. Overexpression of the WOX gene STENOFOLIA improves biomass yield and sugar release in transgenic grasses and display altered cytokinin homeostasis.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Hui Wang

    2017-03-01

    Full Text Available Lignocellulosic biomass can be a significant source of renewable clean energy with continued improvement in biomass yield and bioconversion strategies. In higher plants, the leaf blade is the central energy convertor where solar energy and CO2 are assimilated to make the building blocks for biomass production. Here we report that introducing the leaf blade development regulator STENOFOLIA (STF, a WOX family transcription factor, into the biofuel crop switchgrass, significantly improves both biomass yield and sugar release. We found that STF overexpressing switchgrass plants produced approximately 2-fold more dry biomass and release approximately 1.8-fold more solubilized sugars without pretreatment compared to controls. The biomass increase was attributed mainly to increased leaf width and stem thickness, which was also consistent in STF transgenic rice and Brachypodium, and appeared to be caused by enhanced cell proliferation. STF directly binds to multiple regions in the promoters of some cytokinin oxidase/dehydrogenase (CKX genes and represses their expression in all three transgenic grasses. This repression was accompanied by a significant increase in active cytokinin content in transgenic rice leaves, suggesting that the increase in biomass productivity and sugar release could at least in part be associated with improved cytokinin levels caused by repression of cytokinin degrading enzymes. Our study provides a new tool for improving biomass feedstock yield in bioenergy crops, and uncovers a novel mechanistic insight in the function of STF, which may also apply to other repressive WOX genes that are master regulators of several key plant developmental programs.

  1. Analysis of biomass co-firing systems in Taiwan power markets using linear complementarity models

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Hu, Ming-Che; Lin, Chun-Hung [Department of Bioenvironmental Systems Engineering, National Taiwan University, No. 1, Sec. 4, Roosevelt Road, Taipei 10617, Taiwan (China); Chou, Chun-An [Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, Rutgers University, 96 Frelinghuysen Rd, Piscataway, NJ 08854 (United States); Hsu, Shao-Yiu [Department of Geography and Environmental Engineering, Johns Hopkins University, 3400, N Charles St, Ames-313, Baltimore, MD 21218 (United States); Wen, Tzai-Hung, E-mail: wenthung@ntu.edu.tw [Department of Geography, National Taiwan University, No. 1, Sec. 4, Roosevelt Road, Taipei 10617, Taiwan (China)

    2011-08-15

    Biomass co-firing systems in power plants generate electric power by the simultaneous combustion of biomass and fossil fuels. The co-firing process reduces investment costs by converting biomass energy into electricity in existing conventional power plants. Biomass co-firing significantly reduces carbon dioxide and sulfur dioxide emissions in power generation. To meet the increase in biomass demand, this paper has considered systematic energy crop production, which is expected to increase in the near future. Our aim is to analyze biomass co-firing systems in the Taiwanese electricity market. In this paper, we study two emerging biomass feedstocks: switchgrass and Miscanthus. We focus on the impact of energy crop co-firing on carbon dioxide and sulfur dioxide emissions for electricity generation. A Nash-Cournot competition model, which simulates potential biomass co-firing scenarios, is formulated for power markets. A case study conducted in the Taiwanese electricity market showed that biomass co-firing lowers total electricity demand and sale. Miscanthus is more economical than switchgrass in terms of the production cost and the land required to generate biopower for the same levels of biomass co-firing. - Highlights: > Biomass co-firing system in electricity market is analyzed in this paper. > The research studies the impact of two energy crops in co-firing system. > This paper conducts a case study of co-firing system in Taiwan power markets.

  2. Evaluating the Potential of Marginal Land for Cellulosic Feedstock Production and Carbon Sequestration in the United States.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Emery, Isaac; Mueller, Steffen; Qin, Zhangcai; Dunn, Jennifer B

    2017-01-03

    Land availability for growing feedstocks at scale is a crucial concern for the bioenergy industry. Feedstock production on land not well-suited to growing conventional crops, or marginal land, is often promoted as ideal, although there is a poor understanding of the qualities, quantity, and distribution of marginal lands in the United States. We examine the spatial distribution of land complying with several key marginal land definitions at the United States county, agro-ecological zone, and national scales, and compare the ability of both marginal land and land cover data sets to identify regions for feedstock production. We conclude that very few land parcels comply with multiple definitions of marginal land. Furthermore, to examine possible carbon-flow implications of feedstock production on land that could be considered marginal per multiple definitions, we model soil carbon changes upon transitions from marginal cropland, grassland, and cropland-pastureland to switchgrass production for three marginal land-rich counties. Our findings suggest that total soil organic carbon changes per county are small, and generally positive, and can influence life-cycle greenhouse gas emissions of switchgrass ethanol.

  3. Comparative feedstock analysis in Setaria viridis L. as a model for C4 bioenergy grasses and Panicoid crop species

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Carloalberto ePetti

    2013-06-01

    Full Text Available Second generation feedstocks for bioethanol will likely include a sizable proportion of perennial C4 grasses, principally in the Panicoideae clade. The Panicoideae contain agronomically important annual grasses including Zea mays L. (maize, Sorghum bicolor (L. Moench (sorghum, and Saccharum officinarum L. (sugar cane as well as promising second generation perennial feedstocks including Miscanthus x giganteus and Panicum virgatum L. (switchgrass. The underlying complexity of these polyploid grass genomes is a major limitation for their direct manipulation and thus driving a need for rapidly cycling comparative model. Setaria viridis (green millet is a rapid cycling C4 Panicoid grass with a relatively small and sequenced diploid genome and abundant seed production. Stable, transient and protoplast transformation technologies have also been developed for S. viridis making it a potentially excellent model for other C4 bioenergy grasses. Here, the lignocellulosic feedstock composition, cellulose biosynthesis inhibitor (CBI response and saccharification dynamics of S. viridis are compared with the annual s00orghum and maize and the perennial switchgrass bioenergy crops as a baseline study into the applicability for translational research. A genome-wide systematic investigation of the cellulose synthase-A (CesA genes was performed identifying eight candidate sequences. Two-developmental stages; a metabolically active young tissue and b metabolically plateaued (mature material are examined to compare biomass performance metrics.

  4. Détermination de la cellulose, des hémicelluloses, de la lignine et des cendres dans diverses cultures lignocellulosiques dédiées à la production de bioéthanol de deuxième génération

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Godin, B.

    2010-01-01

    Full Text Available Cellulose, hemicelluloses, lignin, and ash contents in various lignocellulosic crops for second generation bioethanol production. Various green energy crops are available for the production of renewable energy vectors such as second generation bioethanol. The efficiency of the energy recovery potential of these lignocellulosic crops depends on the crop husbandry, their content of main components (cellulose, hemicelluloses, lignin, ash and on the second generation bioethanol production process. The lignocellulosic crops investigated in this study are miscanthus (Miscanthus x giganteus J.M.Greef & Deuter ex Hodk. & Renvoize, switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L., fescue (Festuca arundinacea Schreb., fiber sorghum (Sorghum bicolor (L. Moench, fiber corn (Zea mays L., "cocksfoot-alfalfa" mixture (Dactylis glomerata L. – Medicago sativa L., comfrey (Symphytum officinale L., jerusalem artichoke (aerial part (Helianthus tuberosus L. and hemp (Cannabis sativa L.. The samples came from different energy crop trials and their content in cellulose, hemicelluloses and lignin was quantified using the Van Soest method. The ash content has also been quantified. The lignocellulosic crops with the best theoretical potential to produce second generation bioethanol based on their biochemical composition (with a yield of 100% for the hydrolysis and the fermentation of cellulose and hemicelluloses are in decreasing order miscanthus, switchgrass, fescue, fiber sorghum, fiber corn and hemp. On one hand, these crops are composed of high amounts of cellulose and hemicelluloses and, on the other hand, the lignin and ash concentration are low. A principal component analysis showed that commeniloïd monocotyledonous and dicotyledonous lignocellulosic crops formed two differentiated categories.

  5. Ethanol and High-Value Terpene Co-Production from Lignocellulosic Biomass of Cymbopogon flexuosus and Cymbopogon martinii.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Blake L Joyce

    Full Text Available Cymbopogon flexuosus, lemongrass, and C. martinii, palmarosa, are perennial grasses grown to produce essential oils for the fragrance industry. The objectives of this study were (1 to evaluate biomass and oil yields as a function of nitrogen and sulfur fertilization, and (2 to characterize their utility for lignocellulosic ethanol compared to Panicum virgatum (switchgrass. Mean biomass yields were 12.83 Mg lemongrass ha-1 and 15.11 Mg palmarosa ha-1 during the second harvest year resulting in theoretical biofuel yields of 2541 and 2569 L ethanol ha-1 respectively compared to reported 1749-3691 L ethanol ha-1 for switchgrass. Pretreated lemongrass yielded 198 mL ethanol (g biomass-1 and pretreated palmarosa yielded 170 mL ethanol (g biomass-1. Additionally, lemongrass yielded 85.7 kg essential oil ha-1 and palmarosa yielded 67.0 kg ha-1 with an estimated value of USD $857 and $1005 ha-1. These data suggest that dual-use crops such as lemongrass and palmarosa may increase the economic viability of lignocellulosic biofuels.

  6. Land-use change and greenhouse gas emissions from corn and cellulosic ethanol

    Science.gov (United States)

    2013-01-01

    Background The greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that may accompany land-use change (LUC) from increased biofuel feedstock production are a source of debate in the discussion of drawbacks and advantages of biofuels. Estimates of LUC GHG emissions focus mainly on corn ethanol and vary widely. Increasing the understanding of LUC GHG impacts associated with both corn and cellulosic ethanol will inform the on-going debate concerning their magnitudes and sources of variability. Results In our study, we estimate LUC GHG emissions for ethanol from four feedstocks: corn, corn stover, switchgrass, and miscanthus. We use new computable general equilibrium (CGE) results for worldwide LUC. U.S. domestic carbon emission factors are from state-level modelling with a surrogate CENTURY model and U.S. Forest Service data. This paper investigates the effect of several key domestic lands carbon content modelling parameters on LUC GHG emissions. International carbon emission factors are from the Woods Hole Research Center. LUC GHG emissions are calculated from these LUCs and carbon content data with Argonne National Laboratory’s Carbon Calculator for Land Use Change from Biofuels Production (CCLUB) model. Our results indicate that miscanthus and corn ethanol have the lowest (−10 g CO2e/MJ) and highest (7.6 g CO2e/MJ) LUC GHG emissions under base case modelling assumptions. The results for corn ethanol are lower than corresponding results from previous studies. Switchgrass ethanol base case results (2.8 g CO2e/MJ) were the most influenced by assumptions regarding converted forestlands and the fate of carbon in harvested wood products. They are greater than miscanthus LUC GHG emissions because switchgrass is a lower-yielding crop. Finally, LUC GHG emissions for corn stover are essentially negligible and insensitive to changes in model assumptions. Conclusions This research provides new insight into the influence of key carbon content modelling variables on LUC GHG emissions

  7. Water Use Efficiency for Establishing Biofuel Crops in Central Illinois

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bernacchi, C. J.; Zeri, M.; Hussain, M. Z.; Anderson-Teixeira, K. J.; Masters, M.; DeLucia, E. H.

    2012-12-01

    The production of biofuels from cellulosic plant material is expected to increase worldwide as countries look for alternative sources of energy. The choice of feedstocks suitable for ethanol production from cellulosic material must take into account several factors, such as productivity, response to local climate, and environmental impacts on the carbon, nitrogen and water cycles. With regards to the carbon cycle, the best options for biofuel crops are species that are highly productive in terms of harvestable biomass, but without depleting the soil carbon pools by requiring annual tillage before planting, as is the case of corn (Zea mays), the current dominant biofuel in the US. Perennial species such as miscanthus (Miscanthus × giganteus) and switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.) have many advantages over annual crops due to the reduced use of fertilizer and less irrigation requirements relative to maize. The efficiency of plants in using water while accumulating biomass is an important factor when choosing the best biofuel crop to be planted in a certain location. Water use efficiency (WUE) is the term generally used to refer to the ratio of carbon accumulated over water used during a certain period of time. Water use efficiency is an important metric when cellulosic biofuels are considered, since it takes into account the benefits (carbon accumulated in soils or harvested) and the environmental impact (the use of water). This quantity is derived in many ways based on the metric of carbon for an ecosystem. Net ecosystem production (NEP) is the net balance of carbon derived from GPP - Re, where GPP is the gross primary production and Re is the ecosystem respiration. The ratio of NEP over total water used during the year (TWU) will be referred as EWUE, from "ecosystem" WUE. The value of EWUE represents ecological benefit of the feedstock, since it accounts for the carbon that might be accumulated in soils. Another metric is the HWUE, after "harvest" WUE, which

  8. Land use history, ecosystem type and species composition drive water use efficiency in annual maize and perennial grasslands in a humid temperate climate

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gelfand, I.; Abraha, M.; Chen, J.; Shao, C.; Su, Y. J.; Hamilton, S. K.; Robertson, G. P.

    2015-12-01

    Water use efficiency (WUE), carbon gained per unit water lost, is a fundamental plant and ecosystem function that regulates plant productivity, global hydrology and carbon cycles. We examined ecosystem (E) and intrinsic (i) WUEs derived from eddy covariance (EC) measurements and plant carbon isotope discrimination, respectively, to study how WUE is affected by land-use history, ecosystem type, and plants community composition. We measured EWUE and iWUE of three perennial grasslands planted to mixed-prairie, switchgrass and brome grass as compared to a fields planted to corn. Each of studied ecosystems was replicated on two fields with contrasting land-use histories: one field was managed under the USDA Conservation Reserve Program (CRP, planted to bromgrass) and another was in conventional agriculture (AGR) corn/soybean rotation for few decades before start of the experiment. In 2009, all but one CRP field were converted to no-till soybean. In 2010, the converted CRP and AGR fields were planted to mixed-prairie (C3 and C4 grasses), switchgrass (C4 grass), and no-till corn (C4 grass). During 2009-2013, we measured carbon and water exchange over each field using an EC technique and sampled plant tissue for 13C isotopes analysis. Land-use history, ecosystem type, and species composition had large effects on EWUEs. Intrinsic WUE of individual C3 grass species, however, was similar across the study period, despite drought in 2012. Corn and brome grass had the highest and lowest overall mean EWUE, 4.1 and 2.2 g C kg-1 H2O, respectively. Restored prairie on former AGR land had a mean EWUE of 3.0 g C kg-1 H2O, significantly greater than on former CRP land with a EWUE of 2.5 g C kg-1 H2O. Land use history had no effect on interannual variability of EWUE of corn. Prairie and switchgrass established on former CRP land exhibited no change of EWUE, as well. Same ecosystems established on former AGR land, oppositely, increased their WUEs over the study period from ~ 2.5 g C kg-1

  9. Mapping out the structural changes of natural and pretreated plant cell wall surfaces by atomic force microscopy single molecular recognition imaging

    Science.gov (United States)

    2013-01-01

    Background Enzymatic hydrolysis of lignocellulosic biomass (mainly plant cell walls) is a critical process for biofuel production. This process is greatly hindered by the natural complexity of plant cell walls and limited accessibility of surface cellulose by enzymes. Little is known about the plant cell wall structural and molecular level component changes after pretreatments, especially on the outer surface. Therefore, a more profound understanding of surface cellulose distributions before and after pretreatments at single-molecule level is in great need. In this study, we determined the structural changes, specifically on crystalline cellulose, of natural, dilute sulfuric acid pretreated and delignified cell wall surfaces of poplar, switchgrass, and corn stover using single molecular atomic force microscopy (AFM) recognition imaging. Results The AFM tip was first functionalized by a family 3 carbohydrate-binding module (CBM3a) (Clostridium thermocellum Scaffoldin) which specifically recognizes crystalline cellulose by selectively binding to it. The surface structural changes were studied at single molecule level based on the recognition area percentage (RAP) of exposed crystalline cellulose over the imaged cell wall surface. Our results show that the cell wall surface crystalline cellulose coverage increased from 17-20% to 18-40% after dilute acid pretreatment at 135°C under different acid concentrations and reached to 40-70% after delignification. Pretreated with 0.5% sulfuric acid, the crystalline cellulose surface distributions of 23% on poplar, 28% on switchgrass and, 38% on corn stover were determined as an optimized result. Corn stover cell walls also show less recalcitrance due to more effective pretreatments and delignification compared to poplar and switchgrass. Conclusions The dilute acid pretreatment can effectively increase the cellulose accessibility on plant cell wall surfaces. The optimal acid concentration was determined to be 0.5% acid at 135

  10. Identifying and Mitigating Potential Nutrient and Sediment Hot Spots under a Future Scenario in the Missouri River Basin

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Wu, May [Argonne National Lab. (ANL), Argonne, IL (United States); Zhang, Zhonglong [Argonne National Lab. (ANL), Argonne, IL (United States)

    2015-09-01

    Using the Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) for large-scale watershed modeling could be useful for evaluating the quality of the water in regions that are dominated by nonpoint sources in order to identify potential “hot spots” for which mitigating strategies could be further developed. An analysis of water quality under future scenarios in which changes in land use would be made to accommodate increased biofuel production was developed for the Missouri River Basin (MoRB) based on a SWAT model application. The analysis covered major agricultural crops and biofuel feedstock in the MoRB, including pasture land, hay, corn, soybeans, wheat, and switchgrass. The analysis examined, at multiple temporal and spatial scales, how nitrate, organic nitrogen, and total nitrogen; phosphorus, organic phosphorus, inorganic phosphorus, and total phosphorus; suspended sediments; and water flow (water yield) would respond to the shifts in land use that would occur under proposed future scenarios. The analysis was conducted at three geospatial scales: (1) large tributary basin scale (two: Upper MoRB and Lower MoRB); (2) regional watershed scale (seven: Upper Missouri River, Middle Missouri River, Middle Lower Missouri River, Lower Missouri River, Yellowstone River, Platte River, and Kansas River); and (3) eight-digit hydrologic unit (HUC-8) subbasin scale (307 subbasins). Results showed that subbasin-level variations were substantial. Nitrogen loadings decreased across the entire Upper MoRB, and they increased in several subbasins in the Lower MoRB. Most nitrate reductions occurred in lateral flow. Also at the subbasin level, phosphorus in organic, sediment, and soluble forms was reduced by 35%, 45%, and 65%, respectively. Suspended sediments increased in 68% of the subbasins. The water yield decreased in 62% of the subbasins. In the Kansas River watershed, the water quality improved significantly with regard to every nitrogen and phosphorus compound. The improvement was

  11. DEVELOPMENT OF A VALIDATED MODEL FOR USE IN MINIMIZING NOx EMISSIONS AND MAXIMIZING CARBON UTILIZATION WHEN CO-FIRING BIOMASS WITH COAL

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Larry G. Felix; P. Vann Bush

    2002-07-01

    This is the seventh Quarterly Technical Report for DOE Cooperative Agreement No. DE-FC26-00NT40895. A statement of the project objectives is included in the Introduction of this report. Two additional biomass co-firing test burns were conducted during this quarter. In the first test (Test 12), up to 20% by weight dry hardwood sawdust and switchgrass was comilled with Galatia coal and injected through the single-register burner. Liquid ammonia was intermittently added to the primary air stream to increase fuel-bound nitrogen and simulate cofiring with chicken litter. Galatia coal is a medium-sulfur ({approx} 1.2% S), high chlorine ({approx}0.5%) Illinois Basin coal. In the second test (Test 13), up to 20% by weight dry hardwood sawdust and switchgrass was comilled with Jim Walters No.7 mine coal and injected through the single-register burner. Jim Walters No.7 coal is a low-volatility, low-sulfur ({approx} 0.7% S) Eastern bituminous coal. The results of these tests are presented in this quarterly report. Progress has continued to be made in implementing a modeling approach to combine reaction times and temperature distributions from computational fluid dynamic models of the pilot-scale combustion furnace with char burnout and chemical reaction kinetics to predict NO{sub x} emissions and unburned carbon levels in the furnace exhaust. The Configurable Fireside Simulator has been delivered from REI, Inc. and is being tested with exiting CFD solutions. Preparations are under way for a final pilot-scale combustion experiment using the single-register burner fired with comilled mixtures of Jim Walters No.7 low-volatility bituminous coal and switchgrass. Because of the delayed delivery of the Configurable Fireside Simulator, it is planned to ask for a no-cost time extension for the project until the end of this calendar year. Finally, a paper describing this project that included preliminary results from the first four cofiring tests was presented at the 12th European

  12. Designing bioenergy crop buffers to mitigate nitrous oxide emissions and water quality impacts from agriculture

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gopalakrishnan, G.; Negri, C. M.

    2010-12-01

    There is a strong societal need to evaluate and understand the environmental aspects of bioenergy production, especially due to the significant increases in production mandated by many countries, including the United States. Bioenergy is a land-based renewable resource and increases in production are likely to result in large-scale conversion of land from current uses to bioenergy crop production; potentially causing increases in the prices of food, land and agricultural commodities as well as disruption of ecosystems. Current research on the environmental sustainability of bioenergy has largely focused on the potential of bioenergy crops to sequester carbon and mitigate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and possible impacts on water quality and quantity. A key assumption in these studies is that bioenergy crops will be grown in a manner similar to current agricultural crops such as corn and hence would affect the environment similarly. This study presents a systems approach where the agricultural, energy and environmental sectors are considered as components of a single system, and bioenergy crops are used to design multi-functional agricultural landscapes that meet society’s requirements for food, energy and environmental protection. We evaluate the production of bioenergy crop buffers on marginal land and using degraded water and discuss the potential for growing cellulosic bioenergy crops such as miscanthus and switchgrass in optimized systems such that (1) marginal land is brought into productive use; (2) impaired water is used to boost yields (3); clean freshwater is left for other uses that require higher water quality; and (4) feedstock diversification is achieved that helps ecological sustainability, biodiversity, and economic opportunities for farmers. The process-based biogeochemical model DNDC was used to simulate crop yield, nitrous oxide production and nitrate concentrations in groundwater when bioenergy crops were grown in buffer strips adjacent to

  13. Developing an Experimental Watershed for Monitoring the Impacts of Bioenergy Production on Marginal Lands of the Northeastern U.S

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rau, B. M.; Adler, P. R.; Kemanian, A. R.; Saha, D.; Montes, F.

    2012-12-01

    In the northeastern U.S. over 400,000 acres have been placed into conservation programs to reduce erosion and improve water quality. Most of this acreage is within the Chesepeake Bay watershed. Many of these acres may be suitable for raising second generation bioenergy crops such as switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.) or miscanthus (Miscanthus × giganteus). Bioenergy production may provide a viable economic incentive to keep marginal lands in perennial crop production, and improve water quality. However, the environmental impacts and benefits of second generation bioenergy crop production are not well understood on marginal lands. We designed an experimental watershed to compare switchgrass and miscanthus production against typical conservation grasslands. The Mattern Watershed is a horseshoe shaped 1st order watershed located near Leck Kill, PA, and is representative of the Appalachian Ridge and Valley Province. The upper portions of the watershed have been and are currently used for tillage corn and bean production. The lower portions of the watershed are excessively wet and have been in a conservation easement since 2005. In spring 2012 we planted eight 0.4 ha replicate plots of switchgrass (4 fertilized and 4 with no fertilizer) and four 0.4 ha plots of miscanthus into the lower portions of the watershed an additional four 0.4 ha plots were left in conservation grassland using a randomized block design. We compare biomass production, biomass elemental content, N2O emissions, soil moisture, shallow groundwater quality, surface runoff, and soil organic carbon in order to determine which treatment most effectively produces bioenergy feedstock, mitigates greenhouse gas emissions, and improves water quality. The experimental watershed will provide an unparalleled opportunity to verify and parameterize watershed, and bigeochemical models. Preliminary results suggest that early in the growing season cool season grasses minimized shallow groundwater NO3 and N2O

  14. GREET Pretreatment Module

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Adom, Felix K. [Argonne National Lab. (ANL), Argonne, IL (United States). Energy Systems Division; Dunn, Jennifer B. [Argonne National Lab. (ANL), Argonne, IL (United States). Energy Systems Division; Han, Jeongwoo [Argonne National Lab. (ANL), Argonne, IL (United States). Energy Systems Division

    2014-09-01

    A wide range of biofuels and biochemicals can be produced from cellulosic biomass via different pretreatment technologies that yield sugars. Process simulations of dilute acid and ammonia fiber expansion pretreatment processes and subsequent hydrolysis were developed in Aspen Plus for four lignocellulosic feedstocks (corn stover, miscanthus, switchgrass, and poplar). This processing yields sugars that can be subsequently converted to biofuels or biochemical. Material and energy consumption data from Aspen Plus were then compiled in a new Greenhouses Gases, Regulated Emissions, and Energy Use in Transportation (GREETTM) pretreatment module. The module estimates the cradle-to-gate fossil energy consumption (FEC) and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with producing fermentable sugars. This report documents the data and methodology used to develop this module and the cradle-to-gate FEC and GHG emissions that result from producing fermentable sugars.

  15. The Genetics of Biofuel Traits in Panicum Grasses: Developing a Model System with Diploid Panicum Hallii

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Juenger, Thomas [Univ. of Texas, Austin, TX (United States). Dept. of Integrative Biology; Wolfrum, Ed [National Renewable Energy Lab. (NREL), Golden, CO (United States)

    2016-07-31

    Our DOE funded project focused on characterizing natural variation in C4 perennial grasses including switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) and Hall’s panicgrass (Panicum hallii). The main theme of our project was to better understand traits linked with plant performance and that impact the utility of plant biomass as a biofuel feedstock. In addition, our project developed tools and resources for studying genetic variation in Panicum hallii. Our project successfully screened both Panicum virgatum and Panicum hallii diverse natural collections for a host of phenotypes, developed genetic mapping populations for both species, completed genetic mapping for biofuel related traits, and helped in the development of genomic resources of Panicum hallii. Together, these studies have improved our understanding of the role of genetic and environmental factors in impacting plant performance. This information, along with new tools, will help foster the improvement of perennial grasses for feedstock applications.

  16. Process simulation of ethanol production from biomass gasification and syngas fermentation.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pardo-Planas, Oscar; Atiyeh, Hasan K; Phillips, John R; Aichele, Clint P; Mohammad, Sayeed

    2017-12-01

    The hybrid gasification-syngas fermentation platform can produce more bioethanol utilizing all biomass components compared to the biochemical conversion technology. Syngas fermentation operates at mild temperatures and pressures and avoids using expensive pretreatment processes and enzymes. This study presents a new process simulation model developed with Aspen Plus® of a biorefinery based on a hybrid conversion technology for the production of anhydrous ethanol using 1200tons per day (wb) of switchgrass. The simulation model consists of three modules: gasification, fermentation, and product recovery. The results revealed a potential production of about 36.5million gallons of anhydrous ethanol per year. Sensitivity analyses were also performed to investigate the effects of gasification and fermentation parameters that are keys for the development of an efficient process in terms of energy conservation and ethanol production. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  17. Engineering C4 photosynthetic regulatory networks.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Weissmann, Sarit; Brutnell, Thomas P

    2012-06-01

    C4 photosynthesis is a complex metabolic pathway responsible for carbon fixation in major feed, food and bioenergy crops. Although many enzymes driving this pathway have been identified, regulatory mechanisms underlying this system remain elusive. C4 photosynthesis contributes to photosynthetic efficiency in major bioenergy crops such as sugarcane, Miscanthus, switchgrass, maize and sorghum, and international efforts are underway to engineer C4 photosynthesis into C3 crops. A fundamental understanding of the C4 network is thus needed. New experimental and informatics methods can facilitate the accumulation and analysis of high-throughput data to define components of the C4 system. The use of new model plants, closely related to C4 crops, will also contribute to our understanding of the mechanisms that regulate this complex and important pathway. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  18. Neutron Imaging Reveals Internal Plant Hydraulic Dynamics

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Warren, Jeffrey [ORNL; Bilheux, Hassina Z [ORNL; Kang, Misun [ORNL; Voisin, Sophie [ORNL; Cheng, Chu-Lin [ORNL; Horita, Jusuke [ORNL; Perfect, Edmund [ORNL

    2013-01-01

    Many terrestrial ecosystem processes are constrained by water availability and transport within the soil. Knowledge of plant water fluxes is thus critical for assessing mechanistic processes linked to biogeochemical cycles, yet resolution of root structure and xylem water transport dynamics has been a particularly daunting task for the ecologist. Through neutron imaging, we demonstrate the ability to non-invasively monitor individual root functionality and water fluxes within Zea mays L. (maize) and Panicum virgatum L. (switchgrass) seedlings growing in a sandy medium. Root structure and growth were readily imaged by neutron radiography and neutron computed tomography. Seedlings were irrigated with water or deuterium oxide and imaged through time as a growth lamp was cycled on to alter leaf demand for water. Sub-millimeter scale resolution reveals timing and magnitudes of root water uptake, redistribution within the roots, and root-shoot hydraulic linkages, relationships not well characterized by other techniques.

  19. URBAN WOOD/COAL CO-FIRING IN THE NIOSH BOILERPLANT

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    James T. Cobb, Jr.; Gene E. Geiger; William W. Elder III; Thomas Stickle; Jun Wang; Hongming Li; William P. Barry

    2002-06-13

    During the third quarter, the experimental portion of the project was carried out. Three one-day tests using wood/coal blends of 33% wood by volume (both construction wood and demolition wood) were conducted at the NIOSH Boiler Plant (NBP). Blends using hammer-milled wood were operationally successful and can form the basis of Phase II. Emissions of SO{sub 2} and NOx decreased and that of CO increased when compared with combusting coal alone. Mercury emissions were measured and the mathematical modeling of mercury speciation reactions continued, yielding many interesting results. Material and energy balances for the test periods at the NBP, as well as at the Bellefield Boiler Plant, were prepared. Steps were taken to remove severe constraints from the Pennsylvania Switchgrass Energy and Conservation Project and to organize the supplying of landfill gas to the Bruceton federal complex. Two presentations were made to meetings of the Electric Power Research Institute and the National Energy Technology Laboratory.

  20. Sustainability of bioenergy chains. The result is in the details

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Van Dam, J.M.C.

    2009-05-13

    This thesis investigated how the feasibility and sustainability of large-scale bioenergy production, supply and use for local use or trade can be determined ex ante on a regional level, taking into account the complexities and variabilities of the underlying factors like food demand and land use. Recently, governments, NGOs, companies and international organizations (e.g. Dutch government, Solidaridad, Shell or FAO) have taken initiatives to guarantee the sustainable production and use of biomass. Uncertainties on the feasibility, implementation and costs of international biomass certification systems and the compliance with international laws and agreements have to be resolved. A developed software tool shows that it is possible to allow users from various regions to use one methodology and tool to calculate the GHG balances and cost-effectiveness of biomass energy systems. Core methodological issues are accommodated in the tool. One of the case studies demonstrates e.g. that the allocation procedure should be carefully defined as is shown by the variation in results, which is 35 to 50 kg CO2 eq./GJ delivered in GHG emissions. The technical potentials and cost-supply curves of bioenergy are assessed for Central and Eastern European Countries (CEEC) on a regional level. The more favourable scenarios to 2030 show a highest potential of 11.7 EJ. In most CEEC, bulk of the biomass potential can be produced at costs below 2 euro/GJ. The cost performance of energy carriers supplied from the CEEC is assessed for a set of bioenergy chains. Ethanol can be produced at 12 to 21 euro/GJ if the biomass conversion is performed at selected destinations in Western Europe or at 15 to 18 euro/GJ if biomass to ethanol conversion takes place where the biomass is produced. A case in Argentina shows the potential and economic feasibility of large-scale bioenergy production from soybeans and switchgrass, cultivated in La Pampa province. For the various scenarios to 2030, biodiesel from

  1. Biomass power for rural development. Quarterly report, April 2, 1997--July 2, 1997

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Cooper, J.T.

    1997-10-01

    The information in this report summarizes the major areas of project activities accomplished during the last quarter. Activities concerning conversion technologies have continued to be focused on gaining information and comparing similar systems world wide with project needs. One major effort was a trip to Denmark and Finland; the first section of the report details some of the trip highlights. The second section is a writeup of a previous trip. Additional conversion work undertaken at Iowa State University on the development of material handling, gas sampling, and gas analysis equipment is detailed. An update on the installation of field trial plots is also included. Very brief summaries are provided of quarterly activities, briquette production from switchgrass, and the development of geographical information systems are also included. 8 figs., 1 tab.

  2. Environmental effects of growing short-rotation woody crops on former agricultural lands

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Tolbert, V.R.; Thornton, F.C.; Joslin, J.D.

    1997-01-01

    Field-scale studies in the Southeast have been addressing the environmental effects of converting agricultural lands to biomass crop production since 1994. Erosion, surface water quality and quantity and subsurface movement of water and nutrients from woody crops, switchgrass and agricultural crops are being compared. Nutrient cycling, soil physical changes, and crop productivity are also being monitored at the three sites. Maximum sediment losses occurred in the spring and fall. Losses were greater from sweetgum planted without a cover crop than with a cover crop. Nutrient losses of N and P in runoff and subsurface water occurred primarily after spring fertilizer application. These field plot studies are serving as the basis for a water shed study initiated in 1997. Results from the two studies will be used to develop and model nutrient and hydrologic budgets for woody crop plantings to identify potential constraints to sustainable deployment of short-rotation woody crops in the southeastern United States. (author)

  3. Impact of Mixed Feedstocks and Feedstock Densification on Ionic Liquid Pretreatment Efficiency

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Jian Shi; Vicki S. Thompson; Neal A. Yancey; Vitalie Stavila; Blake A. Simmons; Seema Singh

    2013-01-01

    Background: Lignocellulosic biorefineries must be able to efficiently process the regional feedstocks that are available at cost-competitive prices year round. These feedstocks typically have low energy densities and vary significantly in composition. One potential solution to these issues is blending and/or densifying the feedstocks in order to create a uniform feedstock. Results/discussion: We have mixed four feedstocks - switchgrass, lodgepole pine, corn stover, and eucalyptus - in flour and pellet form and processed them using the ionic liquid 1-ethyl-3-methylimidazolium acetate. Sugar yields from both the mixed flour and pelletized feedstocks reach 90% within 24 hours of saccharification. Conclusions: Mixed feedstocks, in either flour or pellet form, are efficiently processed using this pretreatment process, and demonstrate that this approach has significant potential.

  4. Mississippi State University Sustainable Energy Research Center

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Steele, W. Glenn [Mississippi State Univ., Mississippi State, MS (United States)

    2014-09-26

    The Sustainable Energy Research Center (SERC) project at Mississippi State University included all phases of biofuel production from feedstock development, to conversion to liquid transportation fuels, to engine testing of the fuels. The feedstocks work focused on non-food based crops and yielded an increased understanding of many significant Southeastern feedstocks. an emphasis was placed on energy grasses that could supplement the primary feedstock, wood. Two energy grasses, giant miscanthus and switchgrass, were developed that had increased yields per acre. Each of these grasses was patented and licensed to companies for commercialization. The fuels work focused on three different technologies that each led to a gasoline, diesel, or jet fuel product. The three technologies were microbial oil, pyrolysis oil, and syngas-to liquid-hydrocarbons

  5. Costs of Producing Biomass from Riparian Buffer Strips

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Turhollow, A.

    2000-09-01

    Nutrient runoff from poultry litter applied to agricultural fields in the Delmarva Peninsula contributes to high nutrient loadings in Chesapeake Bay. One potential means of ameliorating this problem is the use of riparian buffer strips. Riparian buffer strips intercept overland flows of water, sediments, nutrients, and pollutants; and ground water flows of nutrients and pollutants. Costs are estimated for three biomass systems grown on buffer strips: willow planted at a density of 15,300 trees/ha (6200 trees/acre); poplar planted at a density of 1345 trees/ha (545 trees/acre); and switchgrass. These costs are estimated for five different scenarios: (1) total economic costs, where everything is costed [cash costs, noncash costs (e.g., depreciation), land rent, labor]; (2) costs with Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) payments (which pays 50% of establishment costs and an annual land rent); (3) costs with enhanced CRP payments (which pays 95% of establishment costs and an annual payment of approximately 170% of land rent for trees and 150% of land rent for grasses); (4) costs when buffer strips are required, but harvest of biomass is not required [costs borne by biomass are for yield enhancing activities (e.g., fertilization), harvest, and transport]; and (5) costs when buffer strips are required. and harvest of biomass is required to remove nutrients (costs borne by biomass are for yield enhancing activities and transport). CRP regulations would have to change to allow harvest. Delivered costs of willow, poplar, and switchgrass [including transportation costs of $0.38/GJ ($0.40/million Btu) for switchgrass and $0.57/GJ ($0.60/million Btu) for willow and poplar] at 11.2 dry Mg/ha-year (5 dry tons/acre-year) for the five cost scenarios listed above are [$/GJ ($million BIN)]: (1) 3.30-5.45 (3.45-5.75); (2) 2.30-3.80 (2.45-4.00); (3) 1.70-2.45 (1.80-2.60); (4) l-85-3.80 (1.95-4.05); and (5) 0.80-1.50 (0.85-1.60). At yields of 15.7 to 17.9 GJ/ha-year (7 to 8 dry tons

  6. A Computational Tool for Comparative Energy Cost Analysis of Multiple-Crop Production Systems

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Efthymios Rodias

    2017-06-01

    Full Text Available Various crops can be considered as potential bioenergy and biofuel production feedstocks. The selection of the crops to be cultivated for that purpose is based on several factors. For an objective comparison between different crops, a common framework is required to assess their economic or energetic performance. In this paper, a computational tool for the energy cost evaluation of multiple-crop production systems is presented. All the in-field and transport operations are considered, providing a detailed analysis of the energy requirements of the components that contribute to the overall energy consumption. A demonstration scenario is also described. The scenario is based on three selected energy crops, namely Miscanthus, Arundo donax and Switchgrass. The tool can be used as a decision support system for the evaluation of different agronomical practices (such as fertilization and agrochemicals application, machinery systems, and management practices that can be applied in each one of the individual crops within the production system.

  7. Improved tissue culture conditions for the emerging C4model Panicum hallii.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Grant, Joshua N; Burris, Jason N; Stewart, C Neal; Lenaghan, Scott C

    2017-04-27

    Panicum hallii Vasey (Hall's panicgrass) is a compact, perennial C 4 grass in the family Poaceae, which has potential to enable bioenergy research for switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.). Unlike P. hallii, switchgrass has a large genome, allopolyploidy, self-incompatibility, a long life cycle, and large stature-all suboptimal traits for rapid genetics research. Herein we improved tissue culture methodologies for two inbred P. hallii populations: FIL2 and HAL2, to enable further development of P. hallii as a model C 4 plant. The optimal seed-derived callus induction medium was determined to be Murashige and Skoog (MS) medium supplemented with 40 mg L -1 L-cysteine, 300 mg L -1 L-proline, 3% sucrose, 1 g L -1 casein hydrolysate, 3 mg L -1 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D), and 45 μg L -1 6-benzylaminopurine (BAP), which resulted in callus induction of 51 ± 29% for FIL2 and 81 ± 19% for HAL2. The optimal inflorescence-derived callus induction was observed on MP medium (MS medium supplemented with 2 g L -1 L-proline, 3% maltose, 5 mg L -1 2,4-D, and 500 μg L -1 BAP), resulting in callus induction of 100 ± 0.0% for FIL2 and 84 ± 2.4% for HAL2. Shoot regeneration rates of 11.5 ± 0.8 shoots/gram for FIL2 and 11.3 ± 0.6 shoots/gram for HAL2 were achieved using seed-induced callus, whereas shoot regeneration rates of 26.2 ± 2.6 shoots/gram for FIL2 and 29.3 ± 3.6 shoots/gram for HAL2 were achieved from inflorescence-induced callus. Further, cell suspension cultures of P. hallii were established from seed-derived callus, providing faster generation of callus tissue compared with culture using solidified media (1.41-fold increase for FIL2 and 3.00-fold increase for HAL2). Aside from abbreviated tissue culture times from callus induction to plant regeneration for HAL2, we noted no apparent differences between FIL2 and HAL2 populations in tissue culture performance. For both populations, the cell suspension cultures

  8. FETC/EPRI Biomass Cofiring Cooperative Agreement. Quarterly technical report, April 1-June 30, 1997

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Hughes, E.; Tillman, D.

    1997-12-01

    The FETC/EPRI Biomass Cofiring Program has accelerated the pace of cofiring development by increasing the testing activities plus the support activities for interpreting test results. Past tests conducted and analyzed include the Allen Fossil Plant and Seward Generating Station programs. On-going tests include the Colbert Fossil Plant precommercial test program, the Greenidge Station commercialization program, and the Blount St. Station switchgrass program. Tests in the formative stages included the NIPSCO cofiring test at Michigan City Generating Station. Analytical activities included modeling and related support functions required to analyze the cofiring test results, and to place those results into context. Among these activities is the fuel availability study in the Pittsburgh, PA area. This study, conducted for Duquesne Light, supports their initial investigation into reburn technology using wood waste as a fuel. This Quarterly Report, covering the third quarter of the FETC/EPRI Biomass Cofiring Program, highlights the progress made on the 16 projects funded under this cooperative agreement.

  9. Characterization of Whole Biomasses in Pyridine Based Ionic Liquid at Low Temperature by 31P NMR: An Approach to Quantitatively Measure Hydroxyl Groups in Biomass As Their Original Structures

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Haoxi Ben

    2018-03-01

    Full Text Available In this study, the dissolution of biomass components—cellulose, hemicellulose, and lignin, and two whole biomasses—switchgrass and poplar in a pyridine based ionic liquid at a low temperature—50°C has been examined, which will provide an opportunity to explore the original structures of biomass components. The following phosphitylation, and 31P NMR measurement could provide quantitative results for various hydroxyl groups, including aliphatic, condensed phenolic, guaiacyl phenolic, p-hydroxyl phenyl and carboxylic hydroxyl groups in the biomass components, and whole biomass. By employing various biomass model compounds (glucose, cellotriose, and cellohexose, artificial mixtures of biomass components (cellulose, hemicellulose, and lignin, and computational simulation for the assignments by using density functional theory calculation in Gaussian, reliability and accuracy of this method have been examined as well, which indicated that this method is a reliable and accurate way to quantitatively characterize five different types of hydroxyl groups in biomass and its components.

  10. Enrichment, isolation and characterization of fungi tolerant to 1-ethyl-3-methylimidazolium acetate

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Singer, S.W.; Reddy, A. P.; Gladden, J. M.; Guo, H.; Hazen, T.C.; Simmons, B. A.; VanderGheynst, J. S.

    2010-12-15

    This work aims to characterize microbial tolerance to 1-ethyl-3-methylimidazolium acetate ([C2mim][OAc]), ionic liquid that has emerged as a novel biomass pretreatment for lignocellulosic biomass. Enrichment experiments performed using inocula treated with [C2mim][OAc] under solid and liquid cultivation yielded fungal populationsdominated by Aspergilli. Ionic liquid-tolerant Aspergillus isolates from these enrichments were capable of growing in a radial plate growth assay in the presence of 10% [C2mim][OAc]. When a [C2mim][OAc]-tolerant Aspergillus fumigatus strain was grown in the presence of switchgrass, endoglucanases and xylanases were secreted that retained residual enzymatic activity in the presence of 20% [C2mim][OAc]. The results of the study suggest tolerance to ionic liquids is a general property of Aspergilli. Tolerance to an industrially important ionic liquid was discovered in a fungal genera that is widely used in biotechnology, including biomass deconstruction.

  11. Miscanthus: A Review of European Experience with a Novel Energy Crop

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Scurlock, J.M.O.

    1999-02-01

    Miscanthus is a tall perennial grass which has been evaluated in Europe over the past 5-10 years as a new bioenergy crop. The sustained European interest in miscanthus suggests that this novel energy crop deserves serious investigation as a possible candidate biofuel crop for the US alongside switchgrass. To date, no agronomic trials or trial results for miscanthus are known from the conterminous US, so its performance under US conditions is virtually unknown. Speculating from European data, under typical agricultural practices over large areas, an average of about 8t/ha (3t/acre dry weight) may be expected at harvest time. As with most of the new bioenergy crops, there seems to be a steep ''learning curve.'' Establishment costs appear to be fairly high at present (a wide range is reported from different European countries), although these may be expected to fall as improved management techniques are developed.

  12. Changing the renewable fuel standard to a renewable material standard: bioethylene case study.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Posen, I Daniel; Griffin, W Michael; Matthews, H Scott; Azevedo, Inês L

    2015-01-06

    The narrow scope of the U.S. renewable fuel standard (RFS2) is a missed opportunity to spur a wider range of biomass use. This is especially relevant as RFS2 targets are being missed due to demand-side limitations for ethanol consumption. This paper examines the greenhouse gas (GHG) implications of a more flexible policy based on RFS2, which includes credits for chemical use of bioethanol (to produce bioethylene). A Monte Carlo simulation is employed to estimate the life-cycle GHG emissions of conventional low-density polyethylene (LDPE), made from natural gas derived ethane (mean: 1.8 kg CO2e/kg LDPE). The life-cycle GHG emissions from bioethanol and bio-LDPE are examined for three biomass feedstocks: U.S. corn (mean: 97g CO2e/MJ and 2.6 kg CO2e/kg LDPE), U.S. switchgrass (mean: -18g CO2e/MJ and -2.9 kg CO2e/kg LDPE), and Brazilian sugar cane (mean: 33g CO2e/MJ and -1.3 kg CO2e/kg LDPE); bioproduct and fossil-product emissions are compared. Results suggest that neither corn product (bioethanol or bio-LDPE) can meet regulatory GHG targets, while switchgrass and sugar cane ethanol and bio-LDPE likely do. For U.S. production, bioethanol achieves slightly greater GHG reductions than bio-LDPE. For imported Brazilian products, bio-LDPE achieves greater GHG reductions than bioethanol. An expanded policy that includes bio-LDPE provides added flexibility without compromising GHG targets.

  13. Well-to-wheels energy use and greenhouse gas emissions of ethanol from corn, sugarcane and cellulosic biomass for US use

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Wang, Michael; Han, Jeongwoo; Dunn, Jennifer B; Cai Hao; Elgowainy, Amgad

    2012-01-01

    Globally, bioethanol is the largest volume biofuel used in the transportation sector, with corn-based ethanol production occurring mostly in the US and sugarcane-based ethanol production occurring mostly in Brazil. Advances in technology and the resulting improved productivity in corn and sugarcane farming and ethanol conversion, together with biofuel policies, have contributed to the significant expansion of ethanol production in the past 20 years. These improvements have increased the energy and greenhouse gas (GHG) benefits of using bioethanol as opposed to using petroleum gasoline. This article presents results from our most recently updated simulations of energy use and GHG emissions that result from using bioethanol made from several feedstocks. The results were generated with the GREET (Greenhouse gases, Regulated Emissions, and Energy use in Transportation) model. In particular, based on a consistent and systematic model platform, we estimate life-cycle energy consumption and GHG emissions from using ethanol produced from five feedstocks: corn, sugarcane, corn stover, switchgrass and miscanthus. We quantitatively address the impacts of a few critical factors that affect life-cycle GHG emissions from bioethanol. Even when the highly debated land use change GHG emissions are included, changing from corn to sugarcane and then to cellulosic biomass helps to significantly increase the reductions in energy use and GHG emissions from using bioethanol. Relative to petroleum gasoline, ethanol from corn, sugarcane, corn stover, switchgrass and miscanthus can reduce life-cycle GHG emissions by 19–48%, 40–62%, 90–103%, 77–97% and 101–115%, respectively. Similar trends have been found with regard to fossil energy benefits for the five bioethanol pathways. (letter)

  14. Well-to-wheels energy use and greenhouse gas emissions of ethanol from corn, sugarcane and cellulosic biomass for US use

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wang, Michael; Han, Jeongwoo; Dunn, Jennifer B.; Cai, Hao; Elgowainy, Amgad

    2012-12-01

    Globally, bioethanol is the largest volume biofuel used in the transportation sector, with corn-based ethanol production occurring mostly in the US and sugarcane-based ethanol production occurring mostly in Brazil. Advances in technology and the resulting improved productivity in corn and sugarcane farming and ethanol conversion, together with biofuel policies, have contributed to the significant expansion of ethanol production in the past 20 years. These improvements have increased the energy and greenhouse gas (GHG) benefits of using bioethanol as opposed to using petroleum gasoline. This article presents results from our most recently updated simulations of energy use and GHG emissions that result from using bioethanol made from several feedstocks. The results were generated with the GREET (Greenhouse gases, Regulated Emissions, and Energy use in Transportation) model. In particular, based on a consistent and systematic model platform, we estimate life-cycle energy consumption and GHG emissions from using ethanol produced from five feedstocks: corn, sugarcane, corn stover, switchgrass and miscanthus. We quantitatively address the impacts of a few critical factors that affect life-cycle GHG emissions from bioethanol. Even when the highly debated land use change GHG emissions are included, changing from corn to sugarcane and then to cellulosic biomass helps to significantly increase the reductions in energy use and GHG emissions from using bioethanol. Relative to petroleum gasoline, ethanol from corn, sugarcane, corn stover, switchgrass and miscanthus can reduce life-cycle GHG emissions by 19-48%, 40-62%, 90-103%, 77-97% and 101-115%, respectively. Similar trends have been found with regard to fossil energy benefits for the five bioethanol pathways.

  15. Prairies Thrive Where Row Crops Drown: A Comparison of Yields in Upland and Lowland Topographies in the Upper Midwest US

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Adam C. von Haden

    2016-05-01

    Full Text Available Cellulosic biofuel production is expected to increase in the US, and the targeted establishment of biofuel agriculture in marginal lands would reduce competition between biofuels and food crops. While poorly drained, seasonally saturated lowland landscape positions are marginal for production of row crops and switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L., it is unclear whether species-diverse tallgrass prairie yield would suffer similarly in saturated lowlands. Prairie yields typically increase as graminoids become more dominant, but it is uncertain whether this trend is due to greater aboveground net primary productivity (ANPP or higher harvest efficiency in graminoids compared to forbs. Belowground biomass, a factor that is important to ecosystem service provisioning, is reduced when switchgrass is grown in saturated lowlands, but it is not known whether the same is true in species-diverse prairie. Our objectives were to assess the effect of topography on yields and live belowground biomass in row crops and prairie, and to determine the mechanisms by which relative graminoid abundance influences tallgrass prairie yield. We measured yield, harvest efficiency, and live belowground biomass in upland and lowland landscape positions within maize silage (Zea mays L., winter wheat (Triticum aestivum L., and restored tallgrass prairie. Maize and winter wheat yields were reduced by more than 60% in poorly drained lowlands relative to well-drained uplands, but diverse prairie yields were equivalent in both topographic settings. Prairie yields increased by approximately 45% as the relative abundance of graminoids increased from 5% to 95%. However, this trend was due to higher harvest efficiency of graminoids rather than greater ANPP compared to forbs. In both row crops and prairie, live belowground biomass was similar between upland and lowland locations, indicating consistent biomass nutrient sequestration potential and soil organic matter inputs between topographic

  16. Influence of inorganic salts on the primary pyrolysis products of cellulose.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Patwardhan, Pushkaraj R; Satrio, Justinus A; Brown, Robert C; Shanks, Brent H

    2010-06-01

    Processing bio-oil with the help of currently existing petroleum refinery infrastructure has been considered as a promising alternative to produce sustainable fuels in the future. The feasibility of bio-oil production and upgrading processes depend upon its chemical composition which in turn depends on the biomass composition and the process conditions of the fast pyrolysis reactions. The primary goal of this paper was to investigate the effect of mineral salts including mixtures of salts in the form of switchgrass ash on the chemical speciation resulting from primary pyrolysis reactions of cellulose and to gain an insight of the underlying mechanisms. Various concentrations of inorganic salts (NaCl, KCl, MgCl(2), CaCl(2), Ca(OH)(2), Ca(NO(3))(2), CaCO(3) and CaHPO(4)) and switchgrass ash were impregnated on pure cellulose. These samples were pyrolyzed in a micro-pyrolyzer connected to a GC-MS/FID system. Effects of minerals on the formation of (a) low molecular weight species - formic acid, glycolaldehyde and acetol, (b) furan ring derivatives - 2-furaldehyde and 5-hydroxy methyl furfural and (c) anhydro sugar - levoglucosan are reported exclusively. Further, the effect of reaction temperature ranging from 350 to 600 degrees C on the pyrolysis speciation of pure and ash-doped cellulose is also reported. The pyrolysis speciation revealed the competitive nature of the primary reactions. Mineral salts and higher temperatures accelerated the reactions that led to the formation of low molecular weight species from cellulose as compared to those leading to anhydro sugars. (c) 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  17. Densified biomass can cost-effectively mitigate greenhouse gas emissions and address energy security in thermal applications.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wilson, Thomas O; McNeal, Frederick M; Spatari, Sabrina; G Abler, David; Adler, Paul R

    2012-01-17

    Regional supplies of biomass are currently being evaluated as feedstocks in energy applications to meet renewable portfolio (RPS) and low carbon fuel standards. We investigate the life cycle greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and associated abatement costs resulting from using densified switchgrass for thermal and electrical energy. In contrast to the large and positive abatement costs for using biomass in electricity generation ($149/Mg CO(2)e) due to the low cost of coal and high feedstock and power plant operation costs, abatement costs for replacing fuel oil with biomass in thermal applications are large and negative (-$52 to -$92/Mg CO(2)e), resulting in cost savings. Replacing fuel oil with biomass in thermal applications results in least cost reductions compared to replacing coal in electricity generation, an alternative that has gained attention due to RPS legislation and the centralized production model most often considered in U.S. policy. Our estimates indicate a more than doubling of liquid fuel displacement when switchgrass is substituted for fuel oil as opposed to gasoline, suggesting that, in certain U.S. locations, such as the northeast, densified biomass would help to significantly decarbonize energy supply with regionally sourced feedstock, while also reducing imported oil. On the basis of supply projections from the recently released Billion Ton Report, there will be enough sustainably harvested biomass available in the northeast by 2022 to offset the entirety of heating oil demand in the same region. This will save NE consumers between $2.3 and $3.9 billion annually. Diverting the same resource to electricity generation would cost the region $7.7 billion per year. While there is great need for finding low carbon substitutes for coal power and liquid transportation fuels in the U.S., we argue that in certain regions it makes cost- (and GHG mitigation-) effective sense to phase out liquid heating fuels with locally produced biomass first.

  18. The potential of C4 grasses for cellulosic biofuel production

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Tim eWeijde

    2013-05-01

    Full Text Available With the advent of biorefinery technologies enabling plant biomass to be processed into biofuel, many researchers set out to study and improve candidate biomass crops. Many of these candidates are C4 grasses, characterized by a high productivity and resource use efficiency. In this review the potential of five C4 grasses as lignocellulose feedstock for biofuel production is discussed. These include three important field crops - maize, sugarcane and sorghum - and two undomesticated perennial energy grasses - miscanthus and switchgrass. Although all these grasses are high yielding, they produce different products. While miscanthus and switchgrass are exploited exclusively for lignocellulosic biomass, maize, sorghum and sugarcane are dual-purpose crops. It is unlikely that all the prerequisites for the sustainable and economic production of biomass for a global cellulosic biofuel industry will be fulfilled by a single crop. High and stable yields of lignocellulose are required in diverse environments worldwide, to sustain a year-round production of biofuel. A high resource use efficiency is indispensable to allow cultivation with minimal inputs of nutrients and water and the exploitation of marginal soils for biomass production. Finally, the lignocellulose composition of the feedstock should be optimized to allow its efficient conversion into biofuel and other by-products. Breeding for these objectives should encompass diverse crops, to meet the demands of local biorefineries and provide adaptability to different environments. Collectively, these C4 grasses are likely to play a central role in the supply of lignocellulose for the cellulosic ethanol industry. Moreover, as these species are evolutionary closely related, advances in each of these crops will expedite improvements in the other crops. This review aims to provide an overview of their potential, prospects and research needs as lignocellulose feedstocks for the commercial production of

  19. BIOBUTANOL ACCUMULATION USING ALTERNATIVE SUBSTRATES BY CULTIVATION OF Clostridium acetobutylicum STRAINS

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    О. О. Тigunova

    2017-10-01

    Full Text Available The aim of the research was to investigate the accumulation of biobutanol by strains Clostridium acetobutylicum using alternative substrates (Jerusalem artichoke juice, technical glycerol, crude glycerol, shredded biomass of soy, rape, wheat and switchgrass. In order to increase the accumulation of butanol in the process of cultivation, the cells of C. acetobutylicum were statically immobilized on carriers (belting strips, ferrite rings and Raschig rings by the method of adsorption immobilization. The cells were precipitated by centrifugation, the supernatant was distilled and then fermentation products were determined. Gas chromatography was used to determine the presence of solvents in the culture fluid. The biggest accumulation of butanol (2 g/dm3 was at concentration of crude glycerol 16 g/dm3 in the medium, and complete inhibition of culture development — at glycerol concentration 25 g/dm3. The accumulation of butanol by the strain C. acetobutylicum ІМВ В-7407 using fill and draw method depended on the amount of sequestered and infused medium. Immobilization of the culture using the Raschig rings allowed increasing the bioconversion to butanol twice. So it is shown the possibility to use non-traditional substrates for the production of biobutanol. The most accumulation of butanol was achieved using glycerol (11 g/dm3 as water-soluble substrate, and using switchgrass as lignocelluloses substrate (2,6 g/dm3. Immobilization of C. acetobutylicum culture cells on carriers increased the accumulation of butanol. The use of Raschig rings, as carriers for immobilization, allowed increasing the accumulation of butanol twice.

  20. Greenhouse gas mitigation for U.S. plastics production: energy first, feedstocks later

    Science.gov (United States)

    Posen, I. Daniel; Jaramillo, Paulina; Landis, Amy E.; Griffin, W. Michael

    2017-03-01

    Plastics production is responsible for 1% and 3% of U.S. greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and primary energy use, respectively. Replacing conventional plastics with bio-based plastics (made from renewable feedstocks) is frequently proposed as a way to mitigate these impacts. Comparatively little research has considered the potential for green energy to reduce emissions in this industry. This paper compares two strategies for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from U.S. plastics production: using renewable energy or switching to renewable feedstocks. Renewable energy pathways assume all process energy comes from wind power and renewable natural gas derived from landfill gas. Renewable feedstock pathways assume that all commodity thermoplastics will be replaced with polylactic acid (PLA) and bioethylene-based plastics, made using either corn or switchgrass, and powered using either conventional or renewable energy. Corn-based biopolymers produced with conventional energy are the dominant near-term biopolymer option, and can reduce industry-wide GHG emissions by 25%, or 16 million tonnes CO2e/year (mean value). In contrast, switching to renewable energy cuts GHG emissions by 50%-75% (a mean industry-wide reduction of 38 million tonnes CO2e/year). Both strategies increase industry costs—by up to 85/tonne plastic (mean result) for renewable energy, and up to 3000 tonne-1 plastic for renewable feedstocks. Overall, switching to renewable energy achieves greater emission reductions, with less uncertainty and lower costs than switching to corn-based biopolymers. In the long run, producing bio-based plastics from advanced feedstocks (e.g. switchgrass) and/or with renewable energy can further reduce emissions, to approximately 0 CO2e/year (mean value).

  1. Strategies for enhancing the effectiveness of metagenomic-based enzyme discovery in lignocellulytic microbial communities

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    DeAngelis, K.M.; Gladden, J.G.; Allgaier, M.; D' haeseleer, P.; Fortney, J.L.; Reddy, A.; Hugenholtz, P.; Singer, S.W.; Vander Gheynst, J.; Silver, W.L.; Simmons, B.; Hazen, T.C.

    2010-03-01

    Producing cellulosic biofuels from plant material has recently emerged as a key U.S. Department of Energy goal. For this technology to be commercially viable on a large scale, it is critical to make production cost efficient by streamlining both the deconstruction of lignocellulosic biomass and fuel production. Many natural ecosystems efficiently degrade lignocellulosic biomass and harbor enzymes that, when identified, could be used to increase the efficiency of commercial biomass deconstruction. However, ecosystems most likely to yield relevant enzymes, such as tropical rain forest soil in Puerto Rico, are often too complex for enzyme discovery using current metagenomic sequencing technologies. One potential strategy to overcome this problem is to selectively cultivate the microbial communities from these complex ecosystems on biomass under defined conditions, generating less complex biomass-degrading microbial populations. To test this premise, we cultivated microbes from Puerto Rican soil or green waste compost under precisely defined conditions in the presence dried ground switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.) or lignin, respectively, as the sole carbon source. Phylogenetic profiling of the two feedstock-adapted communities using SSU rRNA gene amplicon pyrosequencing or phylogenetic microarray analysis revealed that the adapted communities were significantly simplified compared to the natural communities from which they were derived. Several members of the lignin-adapted and switchgrass-adapted consortia are related to organisms previously characterized as biomass degraders, while others were from less well-characterized phyla. The decrease in complexity of these communities make them good candidates for metagenomic sequencing and will likely enable the reconstruction of a greater number of full length genes, leading to the discovery of novel lignocellulose-degrading enzymes adapted to feedstocks and conditions of interest.

  2. Using The Corngrass1 Gene To Enhance The Biofuel Properties Of Crop Plants

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Hake, Sarah [USDA Agricultural Research Service, Washington DC (United States); Chuck, George [USDA Agricultural Research Service, Washington DC (United States)

    2015-10-29

    The development of novel plant germplasm is vital to addressing our increasing bioenergy demands. The major hurdle to digesting plant biomass is the complex structure of the cell walls, the substrate of fermentation. Plant cell walls are inaccessible matrices of macromolecules that are polymerized with lignin, making fermentation difficult. Overcoming this hurdle is a major goal toward developing usable bioenergy crop plants. Our project seeks to enhance the biofuel properties of perennial grass species using the Corngrass1 (Cg1) gene and its targets. Dominant maize Cg1 mutants produce increased biomass by continuously initiating extra axillary meristems and leaves. We cloned Cg1 and showed that its phenotype is caused by over expression of a unique miR156 microRNA gene that negatively regulates SPL transcription factors. We transferred the Cg1 phenotype to other plants by expressing the gene behind constitutive promoters in four different species, including the monocots, Brachypodium and switchgrass, and dicots, Arabidopsis and poplar. All transformants displayed a similar range of phenotypes, including increased biomass from extended leaf production, and increased vegetative branching. Field grown switchgrass transformants showed that overall lignin content was reduced, the ratio of glucans to xylans was increased, and surprisingly, that starch levels were greatly increased. The goals of this project are to control the tissue and temporal expression of Cg1 by using different promoters to drive its expression, elucidate the function of the SPL targets of Cg1 by generating gain and loss of function alleles, and isolate downstream targets of select SPL genes using deep sequencing and chromatin immunoprecipitation. We believe it is possible to control biomass accumulation, cell wall properties, and sugar levels through manipulation of either the Cg1 gene and/or its SPL targets.

  3. Evaluation of Bioenergy Crop Growth and the Impacts Of Bioenergy Crops on Streamflow, Tile Drain Flow and Nutrient Losses Using SWAT

    Science.gov (United States)

    Guo, T.; Raj, C.; Chaubey, I.; Gitau, M. W.; Arnold, J. G.; Srinivasan, R.; Kiniry, J. R.; Engel, B.

    2016-12-01

    Bioenery crops are expected to produce large quantities of biofuel at a national scale to meet US biofuel goals. It is important to study bioenergy crop growth and the impacts on water quantity and quality to identify environment-friendly and productive biofeedstocks. In this study, SWAT2012 with a new tile drainage routine (DRAINMOD routine) and improved perennial grass and tree growth simulation was used to model long-term annual biomass yields, streamflow, tile flow, sediment load, total nitrogen, nitrate load in flow, nitrate in tile flow, soluble nitrogen, organic nitrogen, total phosphorus, mineral phosphorus and organic phosphorus under various bioenergy scenarios in an extensively agricultural watershed in the Midwestern US. The results showed that simulated annual crop yields matched with observed county level values for corn and soybeans, and were reasonable for Miscanthus, switchgrass and hybrid poplar. Removal of 38% of corn stover (66,439 Mg/yr) with Miscanthus production on highly erodible areas and marginal land (19,039 Mg/yr) provided the highest biofeedstock production. Streamflow, tile flow, erosion and nutrient losses were reduced under bioenergy crop scenarios of Miscanthus, switchgrass, and hybrid poplar on highly erodible areas, marginal land. Corn stover removal did not result in significant water quality changes. The increase in sediment load and nutrient losses under corn stover removal could be offset with production of other bioenergy crops. The study showed that corn stover removal with bioenergy crops both on highly erodible areas and marginal land could provide more biofuel production relative to the baseline, and was beneficial to hydrology and water quality at the watershed scale, providing guidance for further research on evaluation of bioenergy crop scenarios in a typical extensively tile-drained watershed in the Midwestern U.S.

  4. New Estimates of Land Use Intensity of Potential Bioethanol Production in the U.S.A.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kheshgi, H. S.; Song, Y.; Torkamani, S.; Jain, A. K.

    2016-12-01

    We estimate potential bioethanol land use intensity (the inverse of potential bioethanol yield per hectare) across the United States by modeling crop yields and conversion to bioethanol (via a fermentation pathway), based on crop field studies and conversion technology analyses. We apply the process-based land surface model, the Integrated Science Assessment model (ISAM), to estimate the potential yield of four crops - corn, Miscanthus, and two variants of switchgrass (Cave-in-Rock and Alamo) - across the U.S.A. landscape for the 14-year period from 1999 through 2012, for the case with fertilizer application but without irrigation. We estimate bioethanol yield based on recent experience for corn bioethanol production from corn kernel, and current cellulosic bioethanol process design specifications under the assumption of the maximum practical harvest fraction for the energy grasses (Miscanthus and switchgrasses) and a moderate (30%) harvest fraction of corn stover. We find that each of four crops included has regions where that crop is estimated to have the lowest land use intensity (highest potential bioethanol yield per hectare). We find that minimizing potential land use intensity by including both corn and the energy grasses only improves incrementally to that of corn (using both harvested kernel and stover for bioethanol). Bioethanol land use intensity is one fundamental factor influencing the desirability of biofuels, but is not the only one; others factors include economics, competition with food production and land use, water and climate, nitrogen runoff, life-cycle emissions, and the pace of crop and technology improvement into the future.

  5. Land management strategies for improving water quality in biomass production under changing climate

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ha, Miae; Wu, May

    2017-03-01

    The Corn Belt states are the largest corn-production areas in the United States because of their fertile land and ideal climate. This attribute is particularly important as the region also plays a key role in the production of bioenergy feedstock. This study focuses on potential change in streamflow, sediment, nitrogen, and phosphorus due to climate change and land management practices in the South Fork Iowa River (SFIR) watershed, Iowa. The watershed is covered primarily with annual crops (corn and soybeans). With cropland conversion to switchgrass, stover harvest, and implementation of best management practices (BMPs) (such as establishing riparian buffers and applying cover crops), significant reductions in nutrients were observed in the SFIR watershed under historical climate and future climate scenarios. Under a historical climate scenario, suspended sediment (SS), total nitrogen (N), and phosphorus (P) at the outlet point of the SFIR watershed could decrease by up to 56.7%, 32.0%, and 16.5%, respectively, compared with current land use when a portion of the cropland is converted to switchgrass and a cover crop is in place. Climate change could cause increases of 9.7% in SS, 4.1% in N, and 7.2% in P compared to current land use. Under future climate scenarios, nutrients including SS, N, and P were reduced through land management and practices and BMPs by up to 54.0% (SS), 30.4% (N), and 7.1% (P). Water footprint analysis further revealed changes in green water that are highly dependent on land management scenarios. The study highlights the versatile approaches in landscape management that are available to address climate change adaptation and acknowledged the complex nature of different perspectives in water sustainability. Further study involving implementing landscape design and management by using long-term monitoring data from field to watershed is necessary to verify the findings and move toward watershed-specific regional programs for climate adaptation.

  6. Systems Studies

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Graham, R.L.

    1998-03-17

    The Systems Studies Activity had two objectives: (1) to investigate nontechnical barriers to the deployment of biomass production and supply systems and (2) to enhance and extend existing systems models of bioenergy supply and use. For the first objective, the Activity focused on existing bioenergy markets. Four projects were undertaken: a comparative analysis of bioenergy in Sweden and Austria; a one-day workshop on nontechnical barriers jointly supported by the Production Systems Activity; the development and testing of a framework for analyzing barriers and drivers to bioenergy markets; and surveys of wood pellet users in Sweden, Austria and the US. For the second objective, two projects were undertaken. First, the Activity worked with the Integrated BioEnergy Systems (TBS) Activity of TEA Bioenergy Task XIII to enhance the BioEnergy Assessment Model (BEAM). This model is documented in the final report of the IBS Activity. The Systems Studies Activity contributed to enhancing the feedstock portion of the model by developing a coherent set of willow, poplar, and switchgrass production modules relevant to both the US and the UK. The Activity also developed a pretreatment module for switchgrass. Second, the Activity sponsored a three-day workshop on modeling bioenergy systems with the objectives of providing an overview of the types of models used to evaluate bioenergy and promoting communication among bioenergy modelers. There were nine guest speakers addressing different types of models used to evaluate different aspects of bioenergy, ranging from technoeconomic models based on the ASPEN software to linear programming models to develop feedstock supply curves for the US. The papers from this workshop have been submitted to Biomass and Bioenergy and are under editorial review.

  7. Accelerated development in Johnsongrass seedlings (Sorghum halepense suppresses the growth of native grasses through size-asymmetric competition.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Susanne Schwinning

    Full Text Available Invasive plant species often dominate native species in competition, augmenting other potential advantages such as release from natural enemies. Resource pre-emption may be a particularly important mechanism for establishing dominance over competitors of the same functional type. We hypothesized that competitive success of an exotic grass against native grasses is mediated by establishing an early size advantage. We tested this prediction among four perennial C4 warm-season grasses: the exotic weed Johnsongrass (Sorghum halepense, big bluestem (Andropogon gerardii, little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparius and switchgrass (Panicum virgatum. We predicted that a the competitive effect of Johnsongrass on target species would be proportional to their initial biomass difference, b competitive effect and response would be negatively correlated and c soil fertility would have little effect on competitive relationships. In a greenhouse, plants of the four species were grown from seed either alone or with one Johnsongrass neighbor at two fertilizer levels and periodically harvested. The first two hypotheses were supported: The seedling biomass of single plants at first harvest (50 days after seeding ranked the same way as the competitive effect of Johnsongrass on target species: Johnsongrass < big bluestem < little bluestem/switchgrass, while Johnsongrass responded more strongly to competition from Johnsongrass than from native species. At final harvest, native plants growing with Johnsongrass attained between 2-5% of their single-plant non-root biomass, while Johnsongrass growing with native species attained 89% of single-plant non-root biomass. Fertilization enhanced Johnsongrass' competitive effects on native species, but added little to the already severe competitive suppression. Accelerated early growth of Johnsongrass seedlings relative to native seedlings appeared to enable subsequent resource pre-emption. Size-asymmetric competition and resource

  8. Will energy crop yields meet expectations?

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Searle, Stephanie Y.; Malins, Christopher J.

    2014-01-01

    Expectations are high for energy crops. Government policies in the United States and Europe are increasingly supporting biofuel and heat and power from cellulose, and biomass is touted as a partial solution to energy security and greenhouse gas mitigation. Here, we review the literature for yields of 5 major potential energy crops: Miscanthus spp., Panicum virgatum (switchgrass), Populus spp. (poplar), Salix spp. (willow), and Eucalyptus spp. Very high yields have been achieved for each of these types of energy crops, up to 40 t ha −1  y −1 in small, intensively managed trials. But yields are significantly lower in semi-commercial scale trials, due to biomass losses with drying, harvesting inefficiency under real world conditions, and edge effects in small plots. To avoid competition with food, energy crops should be grown on non-agricultural land, which also lowers yields. While there is potential for yield improvement for each of these crops through further research and breeding programs, for several reasons the rate of yield increase is likely to be slower than historically has been achieved for cereals; these include relatively low investment, long breeding periods, low yield response of perennial grasses to fertilizer, and inapplicability of manipulating the harvest index. Miscanthus × giganteus faces particular challenges as it is a sterile hybrid. Moderate and realistic expectations for the current and future performance of energy crops are vital to understanding the likely cost and the potential of large-scale production. - Highlights: • This review covers Miscanthus, switchgrass, poplar, willow, and Eucalyptus. • High yields of energy crops are typically from small experimental plots. • Field scale yields are lower due to real world harvesting losses and edge effects. • The potential for yield improvement of energy crops is relatively limited. • Expectations must be realistic for successful policies and commercial production

  9. Changes in Soil Carbon Turnover after Five Years of Bioenergy Cropping Systems from a Long-Term Incubation Experiment and Radiocarbon Measurements.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Szymanski, L. M.; Sanford, G. R.; Heckman, K. A.; Jackson, R. D.; Marin-Spiotta, E.

    2016-12-01

    In the face of climate change, the global production of bioenergy crops has increased in response to policies calling for non-fossil energy sources as a means to mitigate rising atmospheric carbon (C) concentrations. To provide overall C sequestration benefits, identifying biomass crops that can maintain or enhance soil resources is desirable for sustainable bioenergy production. The objective of our study was to compare the effects of four bioenergy cropping systems on SOM dynamics in two agricultural soils: Mollisols at the University of Wisconsin Agricultural Research Station in Arlington, Wisconsin and Alfisols at Kellogg Biological Station in Hickory Corners, Michigan, USA. We used fresh soils collected in 2013 and archived soils collected in 2008 to measure differences among biofuel crops after 5 years of management. Using a 365-day laboratory soil incubation and radiocarbon measurements of bulk soil and respired C, we separated soils into three SOM pools and determined their corresponding turnover times. Total soil C respired from surface soils increased in the order: mixed species perennials > monoculture perennials > monoculture annuals. More C was associated with the active fraction in the sandy loam Alfisol and with the slow-cycling fraction in the silt loam Mollisol. Radiocarbon content of respired CO2 did not differ between corn and switchgrass, but did differ between 2008 and 2013. The respiration of more radiocarbon-depleted C after 5 years of cultivation may be due to an initial flux of young C following tillage in 2008 or to depletion of labile plant inputs with continued harvest. All bioenergy cropping systems lost soil C after 5 years. Monoculture perennial switchgrass systems did not provide significant C sequestration benefits, as expected, compared to monoculture annual corn systems. Bioenergy crop land-use change affects soil C dynamics, with implications for assessing C costs associated with biofuel production.

  10. Projecting the land cover change and its environmental impacts in the Cedar River Basin in the Midwestern United States

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Wu Yiping; Liu Shuguang; Sohl, Terry L; Young, Claudia J

    2013-01-01

    The physical surface of the Earth is in constant change due to climate forcing and human activities. In the Midwestern United States, urban area, farmland, and dedicated energy crop (e.g., switchgrass) cultivation are predicted to expand in the coming decades, which will lead to changes in hydrological processes. This study is designed to (1) project the land use and land cover (LULC) by mid-century using the FORecasting SCEnarios of future land-use (FORE-SCE) model under the A1B greenhouse gas emission scenario (future condition) and (2) assess its potential impacts on the water cycle and water quality against the 2001 baseline condition in the Cedar River Basin using the physically based soil and water assessment tool (SWAT). We compared the baseline LULC (National Land Cover data 2001) and 2050 projection, indicating substantial expansions of urban area and pastureland (including the cultivation of bioenergy crops) and a decrease in rangeland. We then used the above two LULC maps as the input data to drive the SWAT model, keeping other input data (e.g., climate) unchanged to isolate the LULC change impacts. The modeling results indicate that quick-response surface runoff would increase significantly (about 10.5%) due to the projected urban expansion (i.e., increase in impervious areas), and the baseflow would decrease substantially (about 7.3%) because of the reduced infiltration. Although the net effect may cause an increase in water yield, the increased variability may impede its use for public supply. Additionally, the cultivation of bioenergy crops such as switchgrass in the newly added pasture lands may further reduce the soil water content and lead to an increase in nitrogen loading (about 2.5% increase) due to intensified fertilizer application. These study results will be informative to decision makers for sustainable water resource management when facing LULC change and an increasing demand for biofuel production in this area. (letter)

  11. Bio-energy feedstock yields and their water quality benefits in Mississippi

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Parajuli, Prem B.

    2011-08-10

    Cellulosic and agricultural bio-energy crops can, under careful management, be harvested as feedstock for bio-fuels production and provide environmental benefits. However, it is required to quantify their relative advantages in feedstock production and water quality. The primary objective of this research was to evaluate potential feedstock yield and water quality benefit scenarios of bioenergy crops: Miscanthus (Miscanthus-giganteus), Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum), Johnsongrass (Sorghum halepense), Alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.), Soybean {Glycine max (L.) Merr.}, and Corn (Lea mays) in the Upper Pearl River watershed (UPRW), Mississippi using a Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT). The SWAT model was calibrated (January 1981 to December 1994) and validated (January 1995 to September 2008) using monthly measured stream flow data. The calibrated and validated model determined good to very good performance for stream flow prediction (R2 and E from 0.60 to 0.86). The RMSE values (from 14 m3 s-1 to 37 m3 s-1) were estimated at similar levels of errors during model calibration and validation. The long-term average annual potential feedstock yield as an alternative energy source was determined the greatest when growing Miscanthus grass (373,849 Mg) as followed by Alfalfa (206,077 Mg), Switchgrass (132,077 Mg), Johnsongrass (47,576 Mg), Soybean (37,814 Mg), and Corn (22,069 Mg) in the pastureland and cropland of the watershed. Model results determined that average annual sediment yield from the Miscanthus grass scenario determined the least (1.16 Mg/ha) and corn scenario the greatest (12.04 Mg/ha). The SWAT model simulated results suggested that growing Miscanthus grass in the UPRW would have the greatest potential feedstock yield and water quality benefits.

  12. Combining enhanced biomass density with reduced lignin level for improved forage quality.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gallego-Giraldo, Lina; Shadle, Gail; Shen, Hui; Barros-Rios, Jaime; Fresquet Corrales, Sandra; Wang, Huanzhong; Dixon, Richard A

    2016-03-01

    To generate a forage crop with increased biomass density that retains forage quality, we have genetically transformed lines of alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) expressing antisense constructs targeting two different lignin pathway biosynthetic genes with a construct for down-regulation of a WRKY family transcription factor that acts as a repressor of secondary cell wall formation in pith tissues. Plants with low-level expression of the WRKY dominant repressor construct produced lignified cell walls in pith tissues and exhibited enhanced biomass and biomass density, with an increase in total sugars in the cell wall fraction; however, lines with high expression of the WRKY dominant repressor construct exhibited a very different phenotype, with loss of interfascicular fibres associated with repression of the NST1 transcription factor. This latter phenotype was not observed in transgenic lines in which the WRKY transcription factor was down-regulated by RNA interference. Enhanced and/or ectopic deposition of secondary cell walls was also seen in corn and switchgrass expressing WRKY dominant repressor constructs, with enhanced biomass in corn but reduced biomass in switchgrass. Neutral detergent fibre digestibility was not impacted by WRKY expression in corn. Cell walls from WRKY-DR-expressing alfalfa plants with enhanced secondary cell wall formation exhibited increased sugar release efficiency, and WRKY dominant repressor expression further increased sugar release in alfalfa down-regulated in the COMT, but not the HCT, genes of lignin biosynthesis. These results suggest that significant enhancements in forage biomass and quality can be achieved through engineering WRKY transcription factors in both monocots and dicots. © 2015 Society for Experimental Biology, Association of Applied Biologists and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  13. Exploiting the Substrate Promiscuity of Hydroxycinnamoyl-CoA:Shikimate Hydroxycinnamoyl Transferase to Reduce Lignin.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Eudes, Aymerick; Pereira, Jose H; Yogiswara, Sasha; Wang, George; Teixeira Benites, Veronica; Baidoo, Edward E K; Lee, Taek Soon; Adams, Paul D; Keasling, Jay D; Loqué, Dominique

    2016-03-01

    Lignin poses a major challenge in the processing of plant biomass for agro-industrial applications. For bioengineering purposes, there is a pressing interest in identifying and characterizing the enzymes responsible for the biosynthesis of lignin. Hydroxycinnamoyl-CoA:shikimate hydroxycinnamoyl transferase (HCT; EC 2.3.1.133) is a key metabolic entry point for the synthesis of the most important lignin monomers: coniferyl and sinapyl alcohols. In this study, we investigated the substrate promiscuity of HCT from a bryophyte (Physcomitrella) and from five representatives of vascular plants (Arabidopsis, poplar, switchgrass, pine and Selaginella) using a yeast expression system. We demonstrate for these HCTs a conserved capacity to acylate with p-coumaroyl-CoA several phenolic compounds in addition to the canonical acceptor shikimate normally used during lignin biosynthesis. Using either recombinant HCT from switchgrass (PvHCT2a) or an Arabidopsis stem protein extract, we show evidence of the inhibitory effect of these phenolics on the synthesis of p-coumaroyl shikimate in vitro, which presumably occurs via a mechanism of competitive inhibition. A structural study of PvHCT2a confirmed the binding of a non-canonical acceptor in a similar manner to shikimate in the active site of the enzyme. Finally, we exploited in Arabidopsis the substrate flexibility of HCT to reduce lignin content and improve biomass saccharification by engineering transgenic lines that overproduce one of the HCT non-canonical acceptors. Our results demonstrate conservation of HCT substrate promiscuity and provide support for a new strategy for lignin reduction in the effort to improve the quality of plant biomass for forage and cellulosic biofuels. © The Author 2016. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Japanese Society of Plant Physiologists.

  14. Evaluating environmental consequences of producing herbaceous crops for bioenergy

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    McLaughlin, S.B.

    1995-12-31

    The environmental costs and benefits of producing bioenergy crops can be measured both in kterms of the relative effects on soil, water, and wildlife habitat quality of replacing alternate cropping systems with the designated bioenergy system, and in terms of the quality and amount of energy that is produced per unit of energy expended. While many forms of herbaceous and woody energy crops will likely contribute to future biofuels systems, The Dept. of Energy`s Biofuels Feedstock Development Program (BFDP), has chosen to focus its primary herbaceous crops research emphasis on a perennial grass species, switchgrass (Panicum virgatum), as a bioenergy candidate. This choice was based on its high yields, high nutrient use efficiency, and wide geographic distribution, and also on its poistive environmental attributes. The latter include its positive effects on soil quality and stabiity, its cover value for wildlife, and the lower inputs of enerty, water, and agrochemicals required per unit of energy produced. A comparison of the energy budgets for corn, which is the primary current source of bioethanol, and switchgrass reveals that the efficiency of energy production for a perennial grass system can exceed that for an energy intensive annual row crop by as much as 15 times. In additions reductions in CO{sub 2} emission, tied to the energetic efficiency of producing transportation fuels, are very efficient with grasses. Calculated carbon sequestration rates may exceed those of annual crops by as much as 20--30 times, due in part to carbon storage in the soil. These differences have major implications for both the rate and efficiency with which fossil energy sources can be replaced with cleaner burning biofuels.

  15. Projecting the land cover change and its environmental impacts in the Cedar River Basin in the Midwestern United States

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wu, Yiping; Liu, Shuguang; Sohl, Terry L.; Young, Claudia

    2013-01-01

    The physical surface of the Earth is in constant change due to climate forcing and human activities. In the Midwestern United States, urban area, farmland, and dedicated energy crop (e.g., switchgrass) cultivation are predicted to expand in the coming decades, which will lead to changes in hydrological processes. This study is designed to (1) project the land use and land cover (LULC) by mid-century using the FORecasting SCEnarios of future land-use (FORE-SCE) model under the A1B greenhouse gas emission scenario (future condition) and (2) assess its potential impacts on the water cycle and water quality against the 2001 baseline condition in the Cedar River Basin using the physically based soil and water assessment tool (SWAT). We compared the baseline LULC (National Land Cover data 2001) and 2050 projection, indicating substantial expansions of urban area and pastureland (including the cultivation of bioenergy crops) and a decrease in rangeland. We then used the above two LULC maps as the input data to drive the SWAT model, keeping other input data (e.g., climate) unchanged to isolate the LULC change impacts. The modeling results indicate that quick-response surface runoff would increase significantly (about 10.5%) due to the projected urban expansion (i.e., increase in impervious areas), and the baseflow would decrease substantially (about 7.3%) because of the reduced infiltration. Although the net effect may cause an increase in water yield, the increased variability may impede its use for public supply. Additionally, the cultivation of bioenergy crops such as switchgrass in the newly added pasture lands may further reduce the soil water content and lead to an increase in nitrogen loading (about 2.5% increase) due to intensified fertilizer application. These study results will be informative to decision makers for sustainable water resource management when facing LULC change and an increasing demand for biofuel production in this area.

  16. Carbon Calculator for Land Use Change from Biofuels Production (CCLUB). Users' manual and technical documentation.

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Mueller, S; Dunn, JB; Wang, M (Energy Systems); (Univ. of Illinois at Chicago)

    2012-06-07

    The Carbon Calculator for Land Use Change from Biofuels Production (CCLUB) calculates carbon emissions from land use change (LUC) for four different ethanol production pathways including corn grain ethanol and cellulosic ethanol from corn stover, miscanthus, and switchgrass. This document discusses the version of CCLUB released May 31, 2012 which includes corn, as did the previous CCLUB version, and three cellulosic feedstocks: corn stover, miscanthus, and switchgrass. CCLUB calculations are based upon two data sets: land change areas and above- and below-ground carbon content. Table 1 identifies where these data are stored and used within the CCLUB model, which is built in MS Excel. Land change area data is from Purdue University's Global Trade Analysis Project (GTAP) model, a computable general equilibrium (CGE) economic model. Section 2 describes the GTAP data CCLUB uses and how these data were modified to reflect shrubland transitions. Feedstock- and spatially-explicit below-ground carbon content data for the United States were generated with a surrogate model for CENTURY's soil organic carbon sub-model (Kwon and Hudson 2010) as described in Section 3. CENTURY is a soil organic matter model developed by Parton et al. (1987). The previous CCLUB version used more coarse domestic carbon emission factors. Above-ground non-soil carbon content data for forest ecosystems was sourced from the USDA/NCIAS Carbon Online Estimator (COLE) as explained in Section 4. We discuss emission factors used for calculation of international greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in Section 5. Temporal issues associated with modeling LUC emissions are the topic of Section 6. Finally, in Section 7 we provide a step-by-step guide to using CCLUB and obtaining results.

  17. Projecting the land cover change and its environmental impacts in the Cedar River Basin in the Midwestern United States

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wu, Yiping; Liu, Shuguang; Sohl, Terry L.; Young, Claudia J.

    2013-06-01

    The physical surface of the Earth is in constant change due to climate forcing and human activities. In the Midwestern United States, urban area, farmland, and dedicated energy crop (e.g., switchgrass) cultivation are predicted to expand in the coming decades, which will lead to changes in hydrological processes. This study is designed to (1) project the land use and land cover (LULC) by mid-century using the FORecasting SCEnarios of future land-use (FORE-SCE) model under the A1B greenhouse gas emission scenario (future condition) and (2) assess its potential impacts on the water cycle and water quality against the 2001 baseline condition in the Cedar River Basin using the physically based soil and water assessment tool (SWAT). We compared the baseline LULC (National Land Cover data 2001) and 2050 projection, indicating substantial expansions of urban area and pastureland (including the cultivation of bioenergy crops) and a decrease in rangeland. We then used the above two LULC maps as the input data to drive the SWAT model, keeping other input data (e.g., climate) unchanged to isolate the LULC change impacts. The modeling results indicate that quick-response surface runoff would increase significantly (about 10.5%) due to the projected urban expansion (i.e., increase in impervious areas), and the baseflow would decrease substantially (about 7.3%) because of the reduced infiltration. Although the net effect may cause an increase in water yield, the increased variability may impede its use for public supply. Additionally, the cultivation of bioenergy crops such as switchgrass in the newly added pasture lands may further reduce the soil water content and lead to an increase in nitrogen loading (about 2.5% increase) due to intensified fertilizer application. These study results will be informative to decision makers for sustainable water resource management when facing LULC change and an increasing demand for biofuel production in this area.

  18. Evaluating environmental consequences of producing herbaceous crops for bioenergy

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    McLaughlin, S.B.

    1995-01-01

    The environmental costs and benefits of producing bioenergy crops can be measured both in kterms of the relative effects on soil, water, and wildlife habitat quality of replacing alternate cropping systems with the designated bioenergy system, and in terms of the quality and amount of energy that is produced per unit of energy expended. While many forms of herbaceous and woody energy crops will likely contribute to future biofuels systems, The Dept. of Energy's Biofuels Feedstock Development Program (BFDP), has chosen to focus its primary herbaceous crops research emphasis on a perennial grass species, switchgrass (Panicum virgatum), as a bioenergy candidate. This choice was based on its high yields, high nutrient use efficiency, and wide geographic distribution, and also on its poistive environmental attributes. The latter include its positive effects on soil quality and stabiity, its cover value for wildlife, and the lower inputs of enerty, water, and agrochemicals required per unit of energy produced. A comparison of the energy budgets for corn, which is the primary current source of bioethanol, and switchgrass reveals that the efficiency of energy production for a perennial grass system can exceed that for an energy intensive annual row crop by as much as 15 times. In additions reductions in CO 2 emission, tied to the energetic efficiency of producing transportation fuels, are very efficient with grasses. Calculated carbon sequestration rates may exceed those of annual crops by as much as 20--30 times, due in part to carbon storage in the soil. These differences have major implications for both the rate and efficiency with which fossil energy sources can be replaced with cleaner burning biofuels

  19. Soil carbon sequestration and land use change associated with biofuel production: Empirical evidence

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Qin, Zhangcai; Dunn, Jennifer B.; Kwon, Hoyoung; Mueller, Steffen; Wander, Michelle M.

    2016-01-01

    Soil organic carbon (SOC) change can be a major impact of land use change (LUC) associated with biofuel feedstock production. By collecting and analyzing data from worldwide field observations with major LUCs from cropland, grassland and forest to lands producing biofuel crops (i.e., corn, switchgrass, Miscanthus, poplar and willow), we were able to estimate SOC response ratios and sequestration rates and evaluate the effects of soil depth and time scale on SOC change. Both the amount and rate of SOC change were highly dependent on the specific land transition. Irrespective of soil depth or time horizon, cropland conversions resulted in an overall SOC gain of 6-14% relative to initial SOC level, while conversion from grassland or forest to corn (without residue removal) or poplar caused significant carbon loss (9-35%). No significant SOC changes were observed in land converted from grasslands or forests to switchgrass, Miscanthus or willow. The SOC response ratios were similar in both 0-30 and 0-100 cm soil depths in most cases, suggesting SOC changes in deep soil and that use of top soil only for SOC accounting in biofuel life cycle analysis (LCA) might underestimate total SOC changes. Soil carbon sequestration rates varied greatly among studies and land transition types. Generally, the rates of SOC change tended to be the greatest during the 10 years following land conversion, and had declined to approach 0 within about 20 years for most LUCs. Observed trends in SOC change were generally consistent with previous reports. Soil depth and duration of study significantly influence SOC change rates and so should be considered in carbon emission accounting in biofuel LCA. High uncertainty remains for many perennial systems, field trials and modeling efforts are needed to determine the site- and system-specific rates and direction of change associated with their production.

  20. Selecting Metrics for Sustainable Bioenergy Feedstocks

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Dale, Virginia H [ORNL; Kline, Keith L [ORNL; Mulholland, Patrick J [ORNL; Downing, Mark [ORNL; Graham, Robin Lambert [ORNL; Wright, Lynn L [ORNL

    2009-01-01

    Key decisions about land-use practices and dynamics in biofuel systems affect the long-term sustainability of biofuels. Choices about what crops are grown and how are they planted, fertilized, and harvested determine the effects of biofuels on native plant diversity, competition with food crops, and water and air quality. Those decisions also affect economic viability since the distance that biofuels must be transported has a large effect on the market cost of biofuels. The components of a landscape approach include environmental and socioeconomic conditions and the bioenergy features [type of fuel, plants species, management practices (e.g., fertilizer and pesticide applications), type and location of production facilities] and ecological and biogeochemical feedbacks. Significantly, while water (availability and quality) emerges as one of the most limiting factors to sustainability of bioenergy feedstocks, the linkage between water and bioenergy choices for land use and management on medium and large scales is poorly quantified. Metrics that quantify environmental and socioeconomic changes in land use and landscape dynamics provide a way to measure and communicate the influence of alternative bioenergy choices on water quality and other components of the environment. Cultivation of switchgrass could have both positive and negative environmental effects, depending on where it is planted and what vegetation it replaces. Among the most important environmental effects are changes in the flow regimes of streams (peak storm flows, base flows during the growing season) and changes in stream water quality (sediment, nutrients, and pesticides). Unfortunately, there have been few controlled studies that provide sufficient data to evaluate the hydrological and water quality impacts of conversion to switchgrass. In particular, there is a need for experimental studies that use the small watershed approach to evaluate the effects of growing a perennial plant as a biomass crop

  1. Development of a system for characterizing biomass quality of lignocellulosic feedstocks for biochemical conversion

    Science.gov (United States)

    Murphy, Patrick Thomas

    The purpose of this research was twofold: (i) to develop a system for screening lignocellulosic biomass feedstocks for biochemical conversion to biofuels and (ii) to evaluate brown midrib corn stover as feedstock for ethanol production. In the first study (Chapter 2), we investigated the potential of corn stover from bm1-4 hybrids for increased ethanol production and reduced pretreatment intensity compared to corn stover from the isogenic normal hybrid. Corn stover from hybrid W64A X A619 and respective isogenic bm hybrids was pretreated by aqueous ammonia steeping using ammonium hydroxide concentrations from 0 to 30%, by weight, and the resulting residues underwent simultaneous saccharification and cofermentation (SSCF) to ethanol. Dry matter (DM) digested by SSCF increased with increasing ammonium hydroxide concentration across all genotypes (P>0.0001) from 277 g kg-1 DM in the control to 439 g kg-1 DM in the 30% ammonium hydroxide pretreatment. The bm corn stover materials averaged 373 g kg-1 DM of DM digested by SSCF compared with 335 g kg-1 DM for the normal corn stover (PHTP) modifications to the original assay methods, including (i) using filter bags with batch sample processing, (ii) replacement of AIR with neutral detergent fiber (NDF) as a cell-wall isolation procedure, and (iii) elimination of the fermentation organism in the SSCF procedures used to determine biochemically available carbohydrates. The original and the HTP assay methods were compared using corn cobs, hybrid poplar, kenaf, and switchgrass. Biochemically available carbohydrates increased with the HTP methods in the corn cobs, hybrid poplar, and switchgrass, but remained the same in the kenaf. Total available carbohydrates increased and unavailable carbohydrates decreased with the HTP methods in the corn cobs and switchgrass and remained the same in the hybrid poplar and kenaf. There were no differences in total carbohydrates (CT) between the two methods. The final study evaluated the

  2. Fluxes of nitrous oxide and carbon dioxide over four potential biofuel crops in Central Illinois

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zeri, M.; Hickman, G. C.; Bernacchi, C.

    2009-12-01

    Nitrous oxide (N2O) and carbon dioxide (CO2) are important greenhouse gases that contribute to global climate change. Agriculture is a significant source of N2O to the atmosphere due to the use of nitrogen-based fertilizers. Fluxes of N2O and CO2 are measured using the flux-gradient technique over four different crops at the Energy Farm, a University of Illinois research facility in Urbana, Illinois. Measurements started in June of 2009 and are part of a project that aims to assess the impacts of potential biofuel crops on the carbon, water and nitrogen cycles. The species chosen are Maize (Zea mays), Miscanthus (Miscanthus x giganteus), Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) and Prairie (a mix of several native species). The choice of species was based on their potential for the production of second-generation biofuels, i.e., fuels derived from the decomposition of the cellulosic material in the plant biomass. The use of corn residue for cellulosic biofuels might impact the carbon cycle through the reduction of soil organic content. Miscanthus is a perennial grass with great potential for biomass production. However, the total water used during the growing season and its water use efficiency might impose limits on the regions where this biofuel crop can be sustainably planted on a large scale. Switchgrass and the prairie species are less productive but might be suited for being well adapted and easy to establish. This study is the first side-by-side comparison of fluxes of N2O for these agro-ecosystems. The measurements are performed at micrometeorological towers placed at the center of 4 ha plots. The air is sampled at two heights over the vegetation and is analyzed in a tunable diode laser (TDL) installed nearby. A valve system cycles the TDL measurements trough all the intakes in the plots. The fluxes are calculated using the flux-gradient method, which requires the knowledge of the scalar vertical gradient as well as of the friction velocity (u*) and the Monin

  3. Biochemical conversions of lignocellulosic biomass for sustainable fuel-ethanol production in the upper Midwest

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brodeur-Campbell, Michael J.

    Biofuels are an increasingly important component of worldwide energy supply. This research aims to understand the pathways and impacts of biofuels production, and to improve these processes to make them more efficient. In Chapter 2, a life cycle assessment (LCA) is presented for cellulosic ethanol production from five potential feedstocks of regional importance to the upper Midwest — hybrid poplar, hybrid willow, switchgrass, diverse prairie grasses, and logging residues — according to the requirements of Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). Direct land use change emissions are included for the conversion of abandoned agricultural land to feedstock production, and computer models of the conversion process are used in order to determine the effect of varying biomass composition on overall life cycle impacts. All scenarios analyzed here result in greater than 60% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions relative to petroleum gasoline. Land use change effects were found to contribute significantly to the overall emissions for the first 20 years after plantation establishment. Chapter 3 is an investigation of the effects of biomass mixtures on overall sugar recovery from the combined processes of dilute acid pretreatment and enzymatic hydrolysis. Biomass mixtures studied were aspen, a hardwood species well suited to biochemical processing; balsam, a high-lignin softwood species, and switchgrass, an herbaceous energy crop with high ash content. A matrix of three different dilute acid pretreatment severities and three different enzyme loading levels was used to characterize interactions between pretreatment and enzymatic hydrolysis. Maximum glucose yield for any species was 70% of theoretical for switchgrass, and maximum xylose yield was 99.7% of theoretical for aspen. Supplemental β-glucosidase increased glucose yield from enzymatic hydrolysis by an average of 15%, and total sugar recoveries for mixtures could be predicted to within 4% by linear interpolation of the pure

  4. Rapid optimization of enzyme mixtures for deconstruction of diverse pretreatment/biomass feedstock combinations

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Walton Jonathan D

    2010-10-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background Enzymes for plant cell wall deconstruction are a major cost in the production of ethanol from lignocellulosic biomass. The goal of this research was to develop optimized synthetic mixtures of enzymes for multiple pretreatment/substrate combinations using our high-throughput biomass digestion platform, GENPLAT, which combines robotic liquid handling, statistical experimental design and automated Glc and Xyl assays. Proportions of six core fungal enzymes (CBH1, CBH2, EG1, β-glucosidase, a GH10 endo-β1,4-xylanase, and β-xylosidase were optimized at a fixed enzyme loading of 15 mg/g glucan for release of Glc and Xyl from all combinations of five biomass feedstocks (corn stover, switchgrass, Miscanthus, dried distillers' grains plus solubles [DDGS] and poplar subjected to three alkaline pretreatments (AFEX, dilute base [0.25% NaOH] and alkaline peroxide [AP]. A 16-component mixture comprising the core set plus 10 accessory enzymes was optimized for three pretreatment/substrate combinations. Results were compared to the performance of two commercial enzymes (Accellerase 1000 and Spezyme CP at the same protein loadings. Results When analyzed with GENPLAT, corn stover gave the highest yields of Glc with commercial enzymes and with the core set with all pretreatments, whereas corn stover, switchgrass and Miscanthus gave comparable Xyl yields. With commercial enzymes and with the core set, yields of Glc and Xyl were highest for grass stovers pretreated by AP compared to AFEX or dilute base. Corn stover, switchgrass and DDGS pretreated with AFEX and digested with the core set required a higher proportion of endo-β1,4-xylanase (EX3 and a lower proportion of endo-β1,4-glucanase (EG1 compared to the same materials pretreated with dilute base or AP. An optimized enzyme mixture containing 16 components (by addition of α-glucuronidase, a GH11 endoxylanase [EX2], Cel5A, Cel61A, Cip1, Cip2, β-mannanase, amyloglucosidase,

  5. The drought of 2012: Effects on photosynthesis and soil respiration in bioenergy cropping systems of the Midwest USA

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cruse, M.; Kucharik, C. J.

    2012-12-01

    Climate change is predicted to increase the frequency and severity of drought conditions across the central US. This heightened risk on producers and economies alike also supports the need to improve our understanding of how extreme environmental conditions impact other ecosystem services such as carbon sequestration, which is directly linked to net ecosystem exchange (NEE). In doing so, the scientific community aims to improve the realism of ecosystem models that are relied upon to project changes in large scale and long-term land surface-atmosphere carbon exchange as they are affected by continued land management change and climate change. One such large-scale land management change of the next several decades in the Midwest US could be the expansion of bioenergy cropping systems across the landscape. A wide range of bioenergy cropping systems (e.g., miscanthus, switchgrass, diverse prairie, hybrid poplar) are now targeted to support a feedstock supply chain for production of cellulosic biofuels. Many of these agroecosystems have only recently begun to appear as functional types in dynamic ecosystem models, and a general lack of observational data across a wide range of soils and climate has hampered model development and validation. In response to this shortcoming, from 2009 through 2012, component measurements of ecosystem carbon exchange (total soil respiration and leaf level photosynthetic rates) have been made along with measurements of other soil and meteorological variables in three model bioenergy cropping systems (continuous corn, hybrid poplar and switchgrass) at the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center (GLBRC) field trial at Arlington, Wisconsin. The three cropping systems encompass a wide range of growth (e.g. C3 vs. C4, annual vs. perennial) and management (e.g., tillage, harvesting) strategies that are predicted to impart different controls on NEE given likely varying biological responses to extreme weather events. Throughout the study period, the

  6. Renewable Enhanced Feedstocks for Advanced Biofuels and Bioproducts (REFABB)

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Peoples, Oliver [Metabolix Inc., Cambridge, MA (United States); Snell, Kristi [Metabolix Inc., Cambridge, MA (United States)

    2016-06-09

    The basic concept of the REFABB project was that by genetically engineering the biomass crop switchgrass to produce a natural polymer PHB, which is readily broken down by heating (thermolysis) into the chemical building block crotonic acid, sufficient additional economic value would be added for the grower and processor to make it an attractive business at small scale. Processes for using thermolysis to upgrade biomass to densified pellets (char) or bio-oil are well known and require low capital investment similar to a corn ethanol facility. Several smaller thermolysis plants would then supply the densified biomass, which is easier to handle and transport to a centralized biorefinery where it would be used as the feedstock. Crotonic acid is not by itself a large volume commodity chemical, however, the project demonstrated that it can be used as a feedstock to produce a number of large volume chemicals including butanol which itself is a biofuel target. In effect the project would try to address three key technology barriers, feedstock logistics, feedstock supply and cost effective biomass conversion. This project adds to our understanding of the potential for future biomass biorefineries in two main areas. The first addressed in Task A was the importance and potential of developing an advanced value added biomass feedstock crop. In this Task several novel genetic engineering technologies were demonstrated for the first time. One important outcome was the identification of three novel genes which when re-introduced into the switchgrass plants had a remarkable impact on increasing the biomass yield based on dramatically increasing photosynthesis. These genes also turned out to be critical to increasing the levels of PHB in switchgrass by enabling the plants to fix carbon fast enough to support both plant growth and higher levels of the polymer. Challenges in the critical objective of Task B, demonstrating conversion of the PHB in biomass to crotonic acid at over 90

  7. Compounds Released from Biomass Deconstruction: Understanding Their Effect on Cellulose Enzyme Hydrolysis and Their Biological Activity

    Science.gov (United States)

    Djioleu, Angele Mezindjou

    The effect of compounds produced during biomass pretreatment on cellulolytic enzyme was investigated. Liquid prehydrolyzates were prepared by pretreating switchgrass using 24 combinations of temperature, time, and sulfuric acid concentration based on a full factorial design. Temperature was varied from 140°C to 180°C; time ranged from 10 to 40 min; and the sulfuric acid concentrations were 0.5% or 1% (v/v). Identified products in the prehydrolyzates included xylose, glucose, hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF), furfural, acetic acid, formic acid, and phenolic compounds at concentration ranging from 0 to 21.4 g/L. Pretreatment conditions significantly affected the concentrations of compounds detected in prehydrolyzates. When assayed in the presence of switchgrass prehydrolyzates against model substrates, activities of cellulase, betaglucosidase, and exoglucanase, were significantly reduced by at least 16%, 31.8%, and 57.8%, respectively, as compared to the control. A strong positive correlation between inhibition of betaglucosidase and concentration of glucose, acetic acid, and furans in prehydrolyzate was established. Exoglucanase inhibition correlated with the presence of phenolic compounds and acetic acid. The prehydrolyzate, prepared at 160°C, 30 min, and 1% acid, was fractionated by centrifugal partition chromatography (CPC) into six fractions; the inhibition effect of these fractions on betaglucosidase and exoglucanase was determined. The initial hydrolysis rate of cellobiose by betaglucosidase was significantly reduced by the CPC sugar-rich fraction; however, exoglucanase was deactivated by the CPC phenolic-rich fraction. Finally, biological activities of water-extracted compounds from sweetgum bark and their effect on cellulase was investigated. It was determined that 12% of solid content of the bark extract could be accounted by phenolic compounds with gallic acid identified as the most concentrated phytochemical. Sweetgum bark extract inhibited Staphylococcus

  8. Nitrogen recycling in prairie species managed for biomass production

    Science.gov (United States)

    Smith, L.; Jackson, R. D.

    2011-12-01

    Plant nutrient recycling is an important mechanism for nitrogen (N) retention in plants and has been identified as a means for reducing N losses in perennial grass systems managed for biomass production. Warm-season (C4 photosynthesis) prairie grasses are thought to be inherently good at recycling N, because they often thrive in nutrient-limited native grasslands where N recycling strategies would be advantageous. Results from studies of plant responses to altered N resources and the subsequent ability or need for plants to resorb N in high-productivity environments have been equivocal. We addressed N resorption of four species -- Panicum virgatum in a switchgrass monoculture, and Andropogen gerardii, Sorghastrum nutans and Helianthus grosseserratus in a restored prairie -- and their responses to fertilizer additions of 0, 50, or 150 kg N ha-1 on productive mollisols. We hypothesized that senesced leaf N (the final N concentration retained in a senesced leaf) would increase with fertility, while N resorption efficiency (the proportion of original green leaf N resorbed after senescence) would decrease with fertility. N resorption efficiency rates in the prairie differed mainly by species without significant treatment effects. Helianthus grosseserratus resorption efficiency was highest (69.0 ± 2.6% [s.e.]), followed by Sorghastrum nutans (47.9 ± 5.4%) and Andropogen gerardii (35.3 ± 5.7%). Panicum virgatum resorption efficiencies responded opposite to our predictions with the highest resorption rates in the high-fertility treatment (62.9 ± 5.7%) and the lowest resorption rates in the unfertilized treatment (49.4 ± 6.1%). Fertilizer effects were only significant in senesced Panicum virgatum leaves, but across all species, plants with high green leaf N tended to also have higher senesced leaf N. This suggests that plants with high N resorption efficiencies may resorb a higher proportion of original leaf N because there is more N to remobilize. However, these

  9. Spatial optimization of cropping pattern for sustainable food and biofuel production with minimal downstream pollution.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Femeena, P V; Sudheer, K P; Cibin, R; Chaubey, I

    2018-04-15

    Biofuel has emerged as a substantial source of energy in many countries. In order to avoid the 'food versus fuel competition', arising from grain-based ethanol production, the United States has passed regulations that require second generation or cellulosic biofeedstocks to be used for majority of the biofuel production by 2022. Agricultural residue, such as corn stover, is currently the largest source of cellulosic feedstock. However, increased harvesting of crops residue may lead to increased application of fertilizers in order to recover the soil nutrients lost from the residue removal. Alternatively, introduction of less-fertilizer intensive perennial grasses such as switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.) and Miscanthus (Miscanthus x giganteus Greef et Deu.) can be a viable source for biofuel production. Even though these grasses are shown to reduce nutrient loads to a great extent, high production cost have constrained their wide adoptability to be used as a viable feedstock. Nonetheless, there is an opportunity to optimize feedstock production to meet bioenergy demand while improving water quality. This study presents a multi-objective simulation optimization framework using Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) and Multi Algorithm Genetically Adaptive Method (AMALGAM) to develop optimal cropping pattern with minimum nutrient delivery and minimum biomass production cost. Computational time required for optimization was significantly reduced by loose coupling SWAT with an external in-stream solute transport model. Optimization was constrained by food security and biofuel production targets that ensured not more than 10% reduction in grain yield and at least 100 million gallons of ethanol production. A case study was carried out in St. Joseph River Watershed that covers 280,000 ha area in the Midwest U.S. Results of the study indicated that introduction of corn stover removal and perennial grass production reduce nitrate and total phosphorus loads without

  10. Examination of lignocellulosic fibers for chemical, thermal, and separations properties: Addressing thermo-chemical stability issues

    Science.gov (United States)

    Johnson, Carter David

    Natural fiber-plastic composites incorporate thermoplastic resins with fibrous plant-based materials, sometimes referred to as biomass. Pine wood mill waste has been the traditional source of natural fibrous feedstock. In anticipation of a waste wood shortage other fibrous biomass materials are being investigated as potential supplements or replacements. Perennial grasses, agricultural wastes, and woody biomass are among the potential source materials. As these feedstocks share the basic chemical building blocks; cellulose, hemicellulose, and lignin, they are collectively called lignocellulosics. Initial investigation of a number of lignocellulosic materials, applied to fiber-plastic composite processing and material testing, resulted in varied results, particularly response to processing conditions. Less thermally stable lignocellulosic filler materials were physically changed in observable ways: darkened color and odor. The effect of biomass materials' chemical composition on thermal stability was investigated an experiment involving determination of the chemical composition of seven lignocellulosics: corn hull, corn stover, fescue, pine, soy hull, soy stover, and switchgrass. These materials were also evaluated for thermal stability by thermogravimetric analysis. The results of these determinations indicated that both chemical composition and pretreatment of lignocellulosic materials can have an effect on their thermal stability. A second study was performed to investigate what effect different pretreatment systems have on hybrid poplar, pine, and switchgrass. These materials were treated with hot water, ethanol, and a 2:1 benzene/ethanol mixture for extraction times of: 1, 3, 6, 12, and 24 hours. This factorial experiment demonstrated that both extraction time and medium have an effect on the weight percent of extractives removed from all three material types. The extracted materials generated in the above study were then subjected to an evaluation of thermal

  11. Stochastic techno-economic analysis of alcohol-to-jet fuel production.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yao, Guolin; Staples, Mark D; Malina, Robert; Tyner, Wallace E

    2017-01-01

    Alcohol-to-jet (ATJ) is one of the technical feasible biofuel technologies. It produces jet fuel from sugary, starchy, and lignocellulosic biomass, such as sugarcane, corn grain, and switchgrass, via fermentation of sugars to ethanol or other alcohols. This study assesses the ATJ biofuel production pathway for these three biomass feedstocks, and advances existing techno-economic analyses of biofuels in three ways. First, we incorporate technical uncertainty for all by-products and co-products though statistical linkages between conversion efficiencies and input and output levels. Second, future price uncertainty is based on case-by-case time-series estimation, and a local sensitivity analysis is conducted with respect to each uncertain variable. Third, breakeven price distributions are developed to communicate the inherent uncertainty in breakeven price. This research also considers uncertainties in utility input requirements, fuel and by-product outputs, as well as price uncertainties for all major inputs, products, and co-products. All analyses are done from the perspective of a private firm. The stochastic dominance results of net present values (NPV) and breakeven price distributions show that sugarcane is the lowest cost feedstock over the entire range of uncertainty with the least risks, followed by corn grain and switchgrass, with the mean breakeven jet fuel prices being $0.96/L ($3.65/gal), $1.01/L ($3.84/gal), and $1.38/L ($5.21/gal), respectively. The variation of revenues from by-products in corn grain pathway can significantly impact its profitability. Sensitivity analyses show that technical uncertainty significantly impacts breakeven price and NPV distributions. Technical uncertainty is critical in determining the economic performance of the ATJ fuel pathway. Technical uncertainty needs to be considered in future economic analyses. The variation of revenues from by-products plays a significant role in profitability. With the distribution of breakeven

  12. Differential priming of soil carbon driven by soil depth and root impacts on carbon availability

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    de Graaff, Marie-Anne; Jastrow, Julie D.; Gillette, Shay; Johns, Aislinn; Wullschleger, Stan D.

    2013-11-15

    Enhanced root-exudate inputs can stimulate decomposition of soil carbon (C) by priming soil microbial activity, but the mechanisms controlling the magnitude and direction of the priming effect remain poorly understood. With this study we evaluated how differences in soil C availability affect the impact of simulated root exudate inputs on priming. We conducted a 60-day laboratory incubation with soils collected (60 cm depth) from under six switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) cultivars. Differences in specific root length (SRL) among cultivars were expected to result in small differences in soil C inputs and thereby create small differences in the availability of recent labile soil C; whereas soil depth was expected to create large overall differences in soil C availability. Soil cores from under each cultivar (roots removed) were divided into depth increments of 0–10, 20–30, and 40–60 cm and incubated with addition of either: (1) water or (2) 13C-labeled synthetic root exudates (0.7 mg C/g soil). We measured CO2 respiration throughout the experiment. The natural difference in 13C signature between C3 soils and C4 plants was used to quantify cultivar-induced differences in soil C availability. Amendment with 13C-labeled synthetic root-exudate enabled evaluation of SOC priming. Our experiment produced three main results: (1) switchgrass cultivars differentially influenced soil C availability across the soil profile; (2) small differences in soil C availability derived from recent root C inputs did not affect the impact of exudate-C additions on priming; but (3) priming was greater in soils from shallow depths (relatively high total soil C and high ratio of labile-to-stable C) compared to soils from deep depths (relatively low total soil C and low ratio of labile-to-stable C). These findings suggest that the magnitude of the priming effect is affected, in part, by the ratio of root exudate C inputs to total soil C and that the impact of changes in exudate inputs on

  13. Genus-Wide Assessment of Lignocellulose Utilization in the Extremely Thermophilic Genus Caldicellulosiruptor by Genomic, Pangenomic, and Metagenomic Analyses.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lee, Laura L; Blumer-Schuette, Sara E; Izquierdo, Javier A; Zurawski, Jeffrey V; Loder, Andrew J; Conway, Jonathan M; Elkins, James G; Podar, Mircea; Clum, Alicia; Jones, Piet C; Piatek, Marek J; Weighill, Deborah A; Jacobson, Daniel A; Adams, Michael W W; Kelly, Robert M

    2018-05-01

    Metagenomic data from Obsidian Pool (Yellowstone National Park, USA) and 13 genome sequences were used to reassess genus-wide biodiversity for the extremely thermophilic Caldicellulosiruptor The updated core genome contains 1,401 ortholog groups (average genome size for 13 species = 2,516 genes). The pangenome, which remains open with a revised total of 3,493 ortholog groups, encodes a variety of multidomain glycoside hydrolases (GHs). These include three cellulases with GH48 domains that are colocated in the glucan degradation locus (GDL) and are specific determinants for microcrystalline cellulose utilization. Three recently sequenced species, Caldicellulosiruptor sp. strain Rt8.B8 (renamed here Caldicellulosiruptor morganii ), Thermoanaerobacter cellulolyticus strain NA10 (renamed here Caldicellulosiruptor naganoensis ), and Caldicellulosiruptor sp. strain Wai35.B1 (renamed here Caldicellulosiruptor danielii ), degraded Avicel and lignocellulose (switchgrass). C. morganii was more efficient than Caldicellulosiruptor bescii in this regard and differed from the other 12 species examined, both based on genome content and organization and in the specific domain features of conserved GHs. Metagenomic analysis of lignocellulose-enriched samples from Obsidian Pool revealed limited new information on genus biodiversity. Enrichments yielded genomic signatures closely related to that of Caldicellulosiruptor obsidiansis , but there was also evidence for other thermophilic fermentative anaerobes ( Caldanaerobacter , Fervidobacterium , Caloramator , and Clostridium ). One enrichment, containing 89.8% Caldicellulosiruptor and 9.7% Caloramator , had a capacity for switchgrass solubilization comparable to that of C. bescii These results refine the known biodiversity of Caldicellulosiruptor and indicate that microcrystalline cellulose degradation at temperatures above 70°C, based on current information, is limited to certain members of this genus that produce GH48 domain

  14. United States biomass energy: An assessment of costs and infrastructure for alternative uses of biomass energy crops as an energy feedstock

    Science.gov (United States)

    Morrow, William Russell, III

    Reduction of the negative environmental and human health externalities resulting from both the electricity and transportation sectors can be achieved through technologies such as clean coal, natural gas, nuclear, hydro, wind, and solar photovoltaic technologies for electricity; reformulated gasoline and other fossil fuels, hydrogen, and electrical options for transportation. Negative externalities can also be reduced through demand reductions and efficiency improvements in both sectors. However, most of these options come with cost increases for two primary reasons: (1) most environmental and human health consequences have historically been excluded from energy prices; (2) fossil energy markets have been optimizing costs for over 100 years and thus have achieved dramatic cost savings over time. Comparing the benefits and costs of alternatives requires understanding of the tradeoffs associated with competing technology and lifestyle choices. As bioenergy is proposed as a large-scale feedstock within the United States, a question of "best use" of bioenergy becomes important. Bioenergy advocates propose its use as an alternative energy resource for electricity generation and transportation fuel production, primarily focusing on ethanol. These advocates argue that bioenergy offers environmental and economic benefits over current fossil energy use in each of these two sectors as well as in the U.S. agriculture sector. Unfortunately, bioenergy research has offered very few comparisons of these two alternative uses. This thesis helps fill this gap. This thesis compares the economics of bioenergy utilization by a method for estimating total financial costs for each proposed bioenergy use. Locations for potential feedstocks and bio-processing facilities (co-firing switchgrass and coal in existing coal fired power plants and new ethanol refineries) are estimated and linear programs are developed to estimate large-scale transportation infrastructure costs for each sector

  15. Projections of Biofuel Growth Patterns Reveal the Potential Importance of Nitrogen Fixation for Miscanthus Productivity

    Science.gov (United States)

    Davis, S. C.; Parton, W. J.; Dohleman, F. G.; Gottel, N. R.; Smith, C. M.; Kent, A. D.; Delucia, E. H.

    2008-12-01

    Demand for liquid biofuels is increasing because of the disparity between fuel demand and supply. Relative to grain crops, the more intensive harvest required for second generation liquid biofuel production leads to the removal of significantly more carbon and nitrogen from the soil. These elements are conventionally litter products of crops that are returned to the soil and can accumulate over time. This loss of organic matter represents a management challenge because the energy cost associated with fertilizers or external sources of organic matter reduce the net energy value of the biofuel crops. Plants that have exceptional strategies for exploiting nutrients may be the most viable options for sustainable biofuel yields because of low management and energy cost. Miscanthus x giganteus has high N retranslocation rates, maintains high photosynthetic rates over a large temperature range, exploits a longer-than-average growing season, and yields at least twice the biomass of other candidate biofuel grass crops (i.e. switchgrass). We employed the DAYCENT model to project potential productivity of Miscanthus, corn, switchgrass, and mixed prairie communities based on our current knowledge of these species. Ecosystem process descriptions that have been validated for many crop species did not accurately predict Miscanthus yields and lead to new hypotheses about unknown N cycling mechanisms for this species. We tested the hypothesis that Miscanthus hosts N-fixing bacteria in several ways. First, we used enrichment culture and molecular methods to detect N-fixing bacteria in Miscanthus. Then, we demonstrated the plant-growth promoting effect of diazotrophs isolated from Miscanthus rhizomes on a model grass. And finally, we applied 15N2 to the soil and rooting zone of field grown Miscanthus plants to determine if atmospheric N2 was incorporated into plant tissue, a process that requires N-fixation. These experiments are the first tests of N-fixation in Miscanthus x

  16. The role of char and tar in determining the gas-phase partitioning of nitrogen during biomass gasification

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Broer, Karl M.; Brown, Robert C.

    2015-01-01

    Highlights: • Switchgrass was gasified at an equivalence ratio of zero and 650–850 °C. • Short residence times were employed to minimize secondary reactions. • Char- and tar-bound nitrogen, NH 3 , HCN, and N 2 were all significant products. • Increasing temperature leads to increased release of gaseous nitrogen compounds. • Kinetic models of gasification should include nitrogen release from char and tar. - Abstract: Gasification is an attractive option for converting biomass into fuels and chemicals. Most biomass contains significant amounts of fuel-bound nitrogen (FBN), which partially converts into ammonia (NH 3 ) and hydrogen cyanide (HCN) during gasification. These nitrogen compounds are problematic as they can lead to NO X emissions or catalyst poisoning in downstream applications of syngas. FBN can convert to other products as well, including diatomic nitrogen (N 2 ), char-bound nitrogen (char-N), and tar-bound nitrogen (tar-N). Efforts to predict concentrations of NH 3 and HCN have been hindered by a lack of accurate, comprehensive measurements of nitrogen partitioning among gasification products. The present study gasified switchgrass under allothermal, short residence time conditions and measured NH 3 , HCN, char-N, and tar-N as a function of temperature in the range of 650–850 °C with diatomic nitrogen determined by difference. It was found that a major portion of FBN was retained in the char and tar products. As temperature was increased, char and tar were consumed, releasing nitrogen as gaseous NH 3 and HCN. This increase in undesirable nitrogen compounds is contrary to the predictions of most gasification models, which overlook the presence of significant nitrogen in char and tar even if they include tar cracking and char gasification reactions. The results of this study demonstrate that gas-phase reactions alone are not sufficient to predict the fate of nitrogen during gasification. In order for modeling efforts to obtain more accurate

  17. Watershed scale impacts of bioenergy, landscape changes, and ecosystem response

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chaubey, Indrajeet; Cibin, Raj; Chiang, Li-Chi

    2013-04-01

    In recent years, high US gasoline prices and national security concerns have prompted a renewed interest in alternative fuel sources to meet increasing energy demands, particularly by the transportation sector. Food and animal feed crops, such as corn and soybean, sugarcane, residue from these crops, and cellulosic perennial crops grown specifically to produce bioenergy (e.g. switchgrass, Miscanthus, mixed grasses), and fast growing trees (e.g. hybrid poplar) are expected to provide the majority of the biofeedstock for energy production. One of the grand challenges in supplying large quantities of grain-based and lignocellulosic materials for the production of biofuels is ensuring that they are produced in environmentally sustainable and economically viable manner. Feedstock selection will vary geographically based on regional adaptability, productivity, and reliability. Changes in land use and management practices related to biofeedstock production may have potential impacts on water quantity and quality, sediments, and pesticides and nutrient losses, and these impacts may be exacerbated by climate variability and change. We have made many improvements in the currently available biophysical models (e.g. Soil and Water Assessment Tool or SWAT model) to evaluate sustainability of energy crop production. We have utilized the improved model to evaluate impacts of both annual (e.g. corn) and perennial bioenergy crops (e.g. Miscanthus and switchgrass at) on hydrology and water quality under the following plausible bioenergy crop production scenarios: (1) at highly erodible areas; (2) at agriculturally marginal areas; (3) at pasture areas; (4) crop residue (corn stover) removal; and (5) combinations of above scenarios. Overall results indicated improvement in water quality with introduction of perennial energy crops. Stream flow at the watershed outlet was reduced under energy crop production scenarios and ranged between 0.3% and 5% across scenarios. Erosion and sediment

  18. Simulating and evaluating best management practices for integrated landscape management scenarios in biofuel feedstock production: Evaluating Best Management Practices for Biofuel Feedstock Production

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Ha, Miae [Argonne National Laboratory, Lemont IL 60439 USA; Wu, May [Argonne National Laboratory, Lemont IL 60439 USA

    2015-09-08

    Sound crop and land management strategies can maintain land productivity and improve the environmental sustainability of agricultural crop and feedstock production. This study evaluates the improvement of water sustainability through an integrated landscaping management strategy, where landscaping design, land management operations, crop systems, and agricultural best management practices (BMPs) play equal roles. The strategy was applied to the watershed of the South Fork Iowa River in Iowa, with a focus on implementing riparian buffers and converting low productivity land to provide cellulosic biomass while benefiting soil and water quality. The Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) was employed to simulate the impact of integrated landscape design on nutrients, suspended sediments, and flow on the watershed and subbasin scales. First, the study evaluated the representation of buffer strip as a vegetative barrier and as a riparian buffer using trapping efficiency and area ratio methods in SWAT. For the riparian buffer, the area ratio method tends to be more conservative, especially in nitrate loadings, while the trapping efficiency method generates more optimistic results. The differences between the two methods increase with buffer width. The two methods may not be comparable for the field-scale vegetative barrier simulation because of limitations in model spatial resolution. Landscape scenarios were developed to quantify water quality under (1) current land use, (2) partial land conversion to switchgrass, and (3) riparian buffer implementation. Results show that when low productivity land (15.2% of total watershed land area) is converted to grow switchgrass, suspended sediment, total nitrogen, total phosphorus, and nitrate loadings are reduced by 69.3%, 55.5%, 46.1%, and 13.4%, respectively, in the watershed surface streams. The reduction was less extensive when riparian buffer strips (30 m or 50 m) were applied to the stream network at 1.4% of total land area

  19. Autohydrolysis Pretreatment of Lignocellulosic Biomass for Bioethanol Production

    Science.gov (United States)

    Han, Qiang

    Autohydrolysis, a simple and environmental friendly process, has long been studied but often abandoned as a financially viable pretreatment for bioethanol production due to the low yields of fermentable sugars at economic enzyme dosages. The introduction of mechanical refining can generate substantial improvements for autohydrolysis process, making it an attractive pretreatment technology for bioethanol commercialization. In this study, several lignocellulosic biomass including wheat straw, switchgrass, corn stover, waste wheat straw have been subjected to autohydrolysis pretreatment followed by mechanical refining to evaluate the total sugar recovery at affordable enzyme dosages. Encouraging results have been found that using autohydrolysis plus refining strategy, the total sugar recovery of most feedstock can be as high as 76% at 4 FPU/g enzymes dosages. The mechanical refining contributed to the improvement of enzymatic sugar yield by as much as 30%. Three non-woody biomass (sugarcane bagasse, wheat straw, and switchgrass) and three woody biomass (maple, sweet gum, and nitens) have been subjected to autohydrolysis pretreatment to acquire a fundamental understanding of biomass characteristics that affect the autohydrolysis and the following enzymatic hydrolysis. It is of interest to note that the nonwoody biomass went through substantial delignification during autohydrolysis compared to woody biomass due to a significant amount of p-coumaric acid and ferulic acid. It has been found that hardwood which has a higher S/V ratio in the lignin structure tends to have a higher total sugar recovery from autohydrolysis pretreatment. The economics of bioethanol production from autohydrolysis of different feedstocks have been investigated. Regardless of different feedstocks, in the conventional design, producing bioethanol and co-producing steam and power, the minimum ethanol revenues (MER) required to generate a 12% internal rate of return (IRR) are high enough to

  20. Regional water implications of reducing oil imports with liquid transportation fuel alternatives in the United States.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jordaan, Sarah M; Diaz Anadon, Laura; Mielke, Erik; Schrag, Daniel P

    2013-01-01

    The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) is among the cornerstone policies created to increase U.S. energy independence by using biofuels. Although greenhouse gas emissions have played a role in shaping the RFS, water implications are less understood. We demonstrate a spatial, life cycle approach to estimate water consumption of transportation fuel scenarios, including a comparison to current water withdrawals and drought incidence by state. The water consumption and land footprint of six scenarios are compared to the RFS, including shale oil, coal-to-liquids, shale gas-to-liquids, corn ethanol, and cellulosic ethanol from switchgrass. The corn scenario is the most water and land intense option and is weighted toward drought-prone states. Fossil options and cellulosic ethanol require significantly less water and are weighted toward less drought-prone states. Coal-to-liquids is an exception, where water consumption is partially weighted toward drought-prone states. Results suggest that there may be considerable water and land impacts associated with meeting energy security goals through using only biofuels. Ultimately, water and land requirements may constrain energy security goals without careful planning, indicating that there is a need to better balance trade-offs. Our approach provides policymakers with a method to integrate federal policies with regional planning over various temporal and spatial scales.

  1. Quantifying Impact of Biofeedstock Production on Hydrology/Water Quality in Midwest USA

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chaubey, Indrajeet; Engel, Bernard; Thomas, Mark; Raj, Cibin; Saraswat, Dharmendra

    2010-05-01

    The production of biofeedstocks for biofuels is likely to impact the hydrology and water quality of watersheds. Communities potentially impacted are increasingly concerned, and at present, little is known regarding the magnitude of impacts of biofeedstock production on hydrology and water quality. We have initiated a national facilitation project to answer the following questions: What are the unintended environmental consequences of increased corn production to meet biofuel demands? What are the environmental impacts of various second generation biofeedstock production systems to meet cellulosic ethanol demands? Would the management of cropping systems involving corn silage meet cellulosic ethanol demands with minimal environmental impact? What are the broad-scale water quality implications of energy crops, such as switchgrass, grown for bioenergy production on highly erodible soils? This presentation will discuss development of multi-regional agricultural land management practices that can be implemented to mitigate potential negative environmental impacts associated with biofeedstock production while meeting the biofuel production demand. Specifically, we will discuss how watershed scale modeling can be utilized to evaluate the environmental impacts of various biofeedstock production strategies. We will also discuss regional differences in alternative biofeedstock production and associated hydrologic/water quality impacts.

  2. Perennial Forages as Second Generation Bioenergy Crops

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Paul R. Adler

    2008-05-01

    Full Text Available The lignocellulose in forage crops represents a second generation of biomass feedstock for conversion into energy-related end products. Some of the most extensively studied species for cellulosic feedstock production include forages such as switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L., reed canarygrass (Phalaris arundinacea L., and alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.. An advantage of using forages as bioenergy crops is that farmers are familiar with their management and already have the capacity to grow, harvest, store, and transport them. Forage crops offer additional flexibility in management because they can be used for biomass or forage and the land can be returned to other uses or put into crop rotation. Estimates indicate about 22.3 million ha of cropland, idle cropland, and cropland pasture will be needed for biomass production in 2030. Converting these lands to large scale cellulosic energy farming could push the traditional forage-livestock industry to ever more marginal lands. Furthermore, encouraging bioenergy production from marginal lands could directly compete with forage-livestock production.

  3. Supply Chain Sustainability Analysis of Indirect Liquefaction of Blended Biomass to Produce High Octane Gasoline

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Cai, Hao [Argonne National Lab. (ANL), Argonne, IL (United States); Canter, Christina E. [Argonne National Lab. (ANL), Argonne, IL (United States); Dunn, Jennifer B. [Argonne National Lab. (ANL), Argonne, IL (United States); Tan, Eric [National Renewable Energy Lab. (NREL), Golden, CO (United States); Biddy, Mary [National Renewable Energy Lab. (NREL), Golden, CO (United States); Talmadge, Michael [National Renewable Energy Lab. (NREL), Golden, CO (United States); Hartley, Damon [Idaho National Lab. (INL), Idaho Falls, ID (United States); Searcy, Erin [Idaho National Lab. (INL), Idaho Falls, ID (United States); Snowden-Swan, Lesley [Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States)

    2016-03-01

    This report describes the SCSA of the production of renewable high octane gasoline (HOG) via indirect liquefaction (IDL) of lignocellulosic biomass. This SCSA was developed for both the 2015 SOT (Hartley et al., 2015; ANL, 2016; DOE, 2016) and the 2017 design case for feedstock logistics (INL, 2014) and for both the 2015 SOT (Tan et al., 2015a) and the 2022 target case for HOG production via IDL (Tan et al., 2015b). The design includes advancements that are likely and targeted to be achieved by 2017 for the feedstock logistics and 2022 for the IDL conversion process. In the SCSA, the 2015 SOT case for the conversion process, as modeled in Tan et al. (2015b), uses the 2015 SOT feedstock blend of pulpwood, wood residue, and construction and demolition waste (C&D). Moreover, the 2022 design case for the conversion process, as described in Tan et al. (2015a), uses the 2017 design case blend of pulpwood, wood residue, switchgrass, and C&D. The performance characteristics of this blend are consistent with those of a single woody feedstock (e.g., pine or poplar). We also examined the influence of using a single feedstock type on SCSA results for the design case. These single feedstock scenarios could be viewed as bounding SCSA results given that the different components of the feedstock blend have varying energy and material demands for production and logistics.

  4. Mineralization of soil organic matter in biochar amended agricultural landscape

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chintala, R.; Clay, D. E.; Schumacher, T. E.; Kumar, S.; Malo, D. D.

    2015-12-01

    Pyrogenic biochar materials have been identified as a promising soil amendment to enhance climate resilience, increase soil carbon recalcitrance and achieve sustainable crop production. A three year field study was initiated in 2013 to study the impact of biochar on soil carbon and nitrogen storage on an eroded Maddock soil series - Sandy, Mixed, Frigid Entic Hapludolls) and deposition Brookings clay loam (Fine-Silty, Mixed, Superactive, Frigid Pachic Hapludolls) landscape positions. Three biochars produced from corn stover (Zea mays L.), Ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa Lawson and C. Lawson) wood residue, and switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.) were incorporated at 9.75 Mg ha-1 rate (≈7.5 cm soil depth and 1.3 g/cm3 soil bulk density) with a rototiller. The changes in chemical fractionation of soil carbon (soluble C, acid hydrolyzable C, total C, and δ13 C) and nitrogen (soluble N, acid hydrolyzable N, total N, and δ14 N) were monitored for two soil depths (0-7.5 and 7.5 - 15 cm). Soluble and acid hydrolyzable fractions of soil C and N were influenced by soil series and were not significantly affected by incorporation of biochars. Based on soil and plant samples to be collected in the fall of 2015, C and N budgets are being developed using isotopic and non-isotopic techniques. Laboratory studies showed that the mean residence time for biochars used in this study ranged from 400 to 666 years. Laboratory and field studies will be compared in the presentation.

  5. Dissolution, sorption, and phytoremediation of IMX-101 explosive formulation constituents: 2,4-dinitroanisole (DNAN), 3-nitro-1,2,4-triazol-5-one (NTO), and nitroguanidine.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Richard, Thomas; Weidhaas, Jennifer

    2014-09-15

    The insensitive munition, IMX-101 approved for use in the USA, contains 2,4-dinitroanisole (DNAN), 3-nitro-1,2,4-triazol-5-one (NTO), and nitroguanidine (NQ) and is designed to be less sensitive to shock and sympathetic detonation. Given the estimated future use of IMX-101, an understanding of IMX-101 constituent attenuation mechanisms on testing and training ranges is needed. Studies were conducted to determine (1) the rates of IMX-101 fragment dissolution during simulated rainfall, (2) DNAN and NTO soil sorption coefficients, (3) ability of grasses to germinate in and phytoremediate IMX-101 contaminated soil, and (4) effect of the addition of IMX-101 degrading enrichment cultures on phytoremediation. The IMX-101 particles were found to dissolve slowly under simulated rainfall conditions with NQ and NTO dissolving first, leaving DNAN crystals. DNAN and NTO sorption to soils fit Freundlich isotherms and limited desorption was observed. DNAN and NQ were shown to be taken up into the roots and shoots of a mixture of big bluestem grass (Andropogon gerardii), Nash Indiangrass (Sorghastrum nutans), and switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) during phytoremediation of soils contaminated with up to 50 mg kg(-1) IMX-101. Complete degradation of IMX-101 to below detection limits occurred over 225 days. The addition of an IMX-101 degrading enrichment culture to the treatments significantly increased the root and shoot mass. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  6. Consumptive water use in the production of ethanonl and petroleum gasoline.

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Wu, M.; Mintz, M.; Wang, M.; Arora, S.; Energy Systems

    2009-01-30

    The production of energy feedstocks and fuels requires substantial water input. Not only do biofuel feedstocks like corn, switchgrass, and agricultural residues need water for growth and conversion to ethanol, but petroleum feedstocks like crude oil and oil sands also require large volumes of water for drilling, extraction, and conversion into petroleum products. Moreover, in many cases, crude oil production is increasingly water dependent. Competing uses strain available water resources and raise the specter of resource depletion and environmental degradation. Water management has become a key feature of existing projects and a potential issue in new ones. This report examines the growing issue of water use in energy production by characterizing current consumptive water use in liquid fuel production. As used throughout this report, 'consumptive water use' is the sum total of water input less water output that is recycled and reused for the process. The estimate applies to surface and groundwater sources for irrigation but does not include precipitation. Water requirements are evaluated for five fuel pathways: bioethanol from corn, ethanol from cellulosic feedstocks, gasoline from Canadian oil sands, Saudi Arabian crude, and U.S. conventional crude from onshore wells. Regional variations and historic trends are noted, as are opportunities to reduce water use.

  7. A Quick-Test for Biochar Effects on Seed Germination ...

    Science.gov (United States)

    Biochar is being globally evaluated as a soil amendment to improve soil characteristics (e.g. soil water holding, nutrient exchange, microbiology, pesticides and chemical availability) to increase crop yields. Unfortunately, there are no quick tests to determine what biochar types are most effective at improving soil characteristics amenable for higher crop yields. Seed germination is a critical parameter for plant establishment and may be a quick indicator of biochar quality. We adapted Oregon State University Seed Laboratory procedures to develop a “quick-test” for screening the effects of biochar on seed germination. We used 11.0 cm rectangular x 3.5 cm deep containers fitted with blotter paper. The paper was premoistened with reverse-osmosis water, followed by placement of seeds (25 in a uniform 5 x 5 vacuum-assisted pattern, and biochar mixtures). A Norfolk and Coxville soil series from South Carolina were used. A total of 18 biochars were evaluated that were produced from 6 feedstocks (pine chips, poultry litter, swine solids, switchgrass, and two blends of pine chips and poultry litter); with biochar from each feedstock made by pyrolysis at 350, 500 and 700 ̊ C. Crops were cabbage, cucumber, onion, ryegrass and tomato. Preliminary results from the test indicated differences in seed germination due to soil type and possibly soil x biochar feedstock interactions. Other measurements including shoot dry weight per plate and pH of the soil+ biochar mixtur

  8. Energy Savings from Optimised In-Field Route Planning for Agricultural Machinery