Monitoring switchgrass composition to optimize harvesting periods for bioenergy and value-added products

Lindsey, Kline, Amy Johnson, Pyoungchung Kim, Samuel Jackson, and Nicole Labbé. 2013. Biomass and Bioenergy 56 (0): 29–37. doi:10.1016/j.biombioe.2013.04.023.

Type Journal Article
Author Kline Lindsey
Author Amy Johnson
Author Pyoungchung Kim
Author Samuel Jackson
Author Nicole Labbé
URL http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.biombioe.2013.04.023
Volume 56
Issue 0
Pages 29-37
Publication Biomass and Bioenergy
ISSN 0961-9534
Date September, 2013
Journal Abbr Biomass and Bioenergy
DOI 10.1016/j.biombioe.2013.04.023
Abstract Abstract Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) is a perennial grass that has emerged as an ideal candidate for production of biofuel and value-added co-products. One of the primary requirements for the successful manufacturing of these switchgrass-derived bioproducts is to produce a consistent feedstock with reliable and adequate amounts of the substrate constituent needed. For example, the biofuels industry requires a fast-growing energy crop with higher cellulose content and lower inhibitors found in secondary constituents. Other industries would profit from higher lignin content for products such as carbon fibers, or higher water and ethanol-soluble extracts containing compounds of interest. Two switchgrass field plots in eastern Tennessee were monitored over a period of six months, including before and after traditional harvesting times for the biorefinery. Characterization of the biomass and its constituents, such as water and ethanol extracts, cellulose, hemicelluloses, lignin, and ash, was performed to examine chemical changes in switchgrass that occurred prior to, during, and after traditional harvesting times used in a biorefinery setting. Total carbohydrate (65.6–66.7 wt%) and lignin (21.7–23.2 wt%) content was found to peak in January. Extractives content was at a maximum in early harvests at 15.9–16.6 wt% and decreased to 5.5–5.8 wt% in February. An inverse relationship exists between the extractives and lignin content (R2 = 0.94). Nonstructural soluble sugars peaked in early October with 5.1 wt% of the switchgrass composition. Remobilization efficiencies of K, Mg, P, and Fe increased with time, indicating conservation of soil nutrients if harvests were completed in late winter.

Keywords:

  • Ash
  • Bioenergy
  • Biofuels
  • Biomass
  • Chemical composition
  • Extractives
  • Extracts
  • Panicum virgatum
  • Phenolic composition
  • Phosphorus
  • Statistical methods
  • Sugar
  • Switchgrass

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