Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Napiergrass: A potential biofuel crop for the sunny Southeast

Date:
September 27, 2012
Source:
United States Department of Agriculture - Research, Education and Economics
Summary:
A grass fed to cattle throughout much of the tropics may become a biofuel crop that helps the nation meet its future energy needs, according to a scientist.

Photo: ARS geneticist William Anderson measures the height of napiergrass. Link to photo information ARS geneticist William Anderson thinks napiergrass (Pennisetum purpureum) has great potential as a biofuel crop for the southeastern United States.
Credit: Photo by Peggy Greb

A grass fed to cattle throughout much of the tropics may become a biofuel crop that helps the nation meet its future energy needs, according to a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientist.

Related Articles


Napiergrass (Pennisetum purpureum) is fairly drought-tolerant, grows well on marginal lands, and filters nutrients out of runoff in riparian areas, according to William Anderson, a geneticist in the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Crop Genetics and Breeding Research Unit in Tifton, Ga. ARS is USDA's principal intramural scientific research agency, and this research supports the USDA priority of developing new sources of bioenergy.

Government mandates call for production of up to 36 billion gallons of biofuel by 2022. While much of that will come from grain ethanol, 21 billion gallons is expected to be derived from other crop-based feedstocks.

As part of a nationwide search for alternatives, Anderson and his colleagues compared napiergrass with several other candidate feedstocks in a study to see how they would fare in head-to-head competition. The researchers grew energy cane, napiergrass, switchgrass and giant reed for four years and compared biomass yields and soil nutrient requirements.

Joseph Knoll, a post-doctoral researcher in Anderson's laboratory, led the research effort. The team included Timothy Strickland and Robert Hubbard, ARS scientists with the agency's Southeast Regional Watershed Research Unit in Tifton, and Ravindra Malik of Albany State University in Albany, Ga.

With sunny skies and long growing seasons, farms and forests in the Southeastern United States are expected to play a major role in providing biofuel crops. The researchers' findings, along with others, show that napiergrass could be a viable biofuel crop in the Southeast's southern tier. It is not as cold-tolerant as switchgrass, but does offer advantages, such as continuing to produce biomass until the first frost. The research results have been published in BioEnergy Research.

The researchers are continuing to study napiergrass with an eye toward improving yields, usable fiber content, and disease resistance. They are also evaluating production systems that use chicken litter, synthetic fertilizer, and winter cover crops, as well as different irrigation levels, harvest times and planting dates. Preliminary findings in those studies show yields are sufficient without irrigation, and that there is little difference in yield when poultry litter is used instead of synthetic fertilizers.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by United States Department of Agriculture - Research, Education and Economics. The original article was written by Dennis O'Brien. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

United States Department of Agriculture - Research, Education and Economics. "Napiergrass: A potential biofuel crop for the sunny Southeast." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 September 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120927142524.htm>.
United States Department of Agriculture - Research, Education and Economics. (2012, September 27). Napiergrass: A potential biofuel crop for the sunny Southeast. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120927142524.htm
United States Department of Agriculture - Research, Education and Economics. "Napiergrass: A potential biofuel crop for the sunny Southeast." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120927142524.htm (accessed December 20, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Monarch Butterflies Descend Upon Mexican Forest During Annual Migration

Monarch Butterflies Descend Upon Mexican Forest During Annual Migration

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Dec. 19, 2014) Millions of monarch butterflies begin to descend onto Mexico as part of their annual migration south. Rough Cut (no reporter narration) Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Best Protein-Filled Foods to Energize You for the New Year

The Best Protein-Filled Foods to Energize You for the New Year

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) The new year is coming and nothing will energize you more for 2015 than protein-filled foods. Fitness and nutrition expert John Basedow (@JohnBasedow) gives his favorite high protein foods that will help you build muscle, lose fat and have endless energy. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Birds Might Be Better Meteorologists Than Us

Birds Might Be Better Meteorologists Than Us

Newsy (Dec. 19, 2014) A new study suggests a certain type of bird was able to sense a tornado outbreak that moved through the U.S. a day before it hit. Video provided by Newsy
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

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