Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

A quick way to grade grasses for ethanol yields

Date:
August 18, 2011
Source:
USDA/Agricultural Research Service
Summary:
Researchers have developed an inexpensive way to grade the ethanol potential of perennial grasses at the biorefinery's loading dock.

ARS geneticist Ken Vogel has helped develop a way to grade the ethanol potential of perennial grasses at the biorefinery's loading dock at a cost of only about $5 a sample rather than the $300 to $2,000 per sample that conventional analytical methods cost.
Credit: Brett Hampton

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) researchers have developed an inexpensive way to grade the ethanol potential of perennial grasses at the biorefinery's loading dock.

That future has been made possible by a team of Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists, including Ken Vogel, Rob Mitchell, and Steve Masterson at Lincoln, Neb.; Hans Jung at St. Paul, Minn.; Bruce Dien at Peoria, Ill.; and Michael Casler at Madison, Wis. ARS is USDA's chief intramural scientific research agency, and this research supports the USDA priority of developing new sources of bioenergy.

The researchers developed the first use of near-infrared sensing (NIRS) to measure 20 components in switchgrass biomass that determine its potential value to biorefiners. These components include cell wall sugars, soluble sugars and lignin. With this information, 13 traits can be determined, including the efficiency of the conversion from sugars to ethanol.

This is the first use of NIRS to predict maximum and actual ethanol yields of grasses from a basic conversion process. This capability already exists for corn grain using NIRS.

Predictions of actual ethanol yields were based on hexoses, or six-carbon sugars, in the plant cell wall and as soluble sugars. Since additional ethanol could be produced from pentose or five-carbon sugars as conversion technology improves, the NIRS method can be used to estimate what the total potential yield of ethanol or other biofuels would be if all sugars in the plant were converted.

The scientists tested switchgrass varieties and experimental lines adapted to the Midwest with the NIRS analyses and found significant differences for actual and potential ethanol yield per ton and per acre.

The study shows it is feasible to use NIRS to estimate ethanol yields of switchgrass at about $5 a sample, instead of $300 to $2,000 per sample using conventional analytical methods.

The calibrations developed in this study -- and improved future versions -- can be used in all aspects of plant research, including basic genetics and harvest and storage research for a variety of perennial grasses. The NIRS equations are already being used for developing new cultivars in ARS breeding programs in Nebraska and Wisconsin.

This method also can be used to find ways to grow grasses for the highest ethanol yields.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by USDA/Agricultural Research Service. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

USDA/Agricultural Research Service. "A quick way to grade grasses for ethanol yields." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 August 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110818101738.htm>.
USDA/Agricultural Research Service. (2011, August 18). A quick way to grade grasses for ethanol yields. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110818101738.htm
USDA/Agricultural Research Service. "A quick way to grade grasses for ethanol yields." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110818101738.htm (accessed July 30, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

AP (July 30, 2014) Thousands of people are trekking to a Bavarian farmer's field to check out a mysterious set of crop circles. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

AFP (July 30, 2014) Pan-African airline ASKY has suspended all flights to and from the capitals of Liberia and Sierra Leone amid the worsening Ebola health crisis, which has so far caused 672 deaths in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Duration: 00:43 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

AP (July 30, 2014) At least 20 New Jersey residents have tested positive for chikungunya, a mosquito-borne virus that has spread through the Caribbean. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Otters Enjoy Water Slides at Japan Zoo

Raw: Otters Enjoy Water Slides at Japan Zoo

AP (July 30, 2014) River otters were hitting the water slides to beat the summer heatwave on Wednesday at Ichikawa City's Zoological and Botanical Garden. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins