Regular Article

Plant and Soil

, Volume 338, Issue 1, pp 83-97

First online:

Quality and decomposition in soil of rhizome, root and senescent leaf from Miscanthus x giganteus, as affected by harvest date and N fertilization

  • Norbert AmougouAffiliated withINRA, UMR614 FAREURCA, UMR614 FARE
  • , Isabelle BertrandAffiliated withINRA, UMR614 FAREURCA, UMR614 FARE
  • , Jean-Marie MachetAffiliated withINRA, US1158 Agro-Impact
  • , Sylvie RecousAffiliated withINRA, UMR614 FAREURCA, UMR614 FARE Email author 

Rent the article at a discount

Rent now

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access


To predict the environmental benefits of energy crop production and use, the nature and fate of biomass residues in the soil need to be quantified. Our objective was to quantify Miscanthus x giganteus biomass recycling to soil and to assess how harvesting time and N fertilization affect their characteristics and subsequent biodegradability. The quantification of aerial and belowground biomass and their sampling were performed on 2- and 3-year-old Miscanthus stands, either fertilized with 120 kg N ha−1 year−1 or not fertilized, in autumn (maximal biomass production) and winter (maturity). Plant biomass was chemically characterized (total sugars, Klason lignin, C/N) and incubated in optimum decomposition conditions (15°C, −80 kPa) for 263 days, for C and N mineralization. Accumulation of carbon in rhizomes and roots was 7.5 to 10 t C ha−1 and represented about 50% of total plant biomass C. Senescent leaves represented about 1.5 t C ha−1 year−1. All residues, especially the roots, had high lignin contents, while the rhizomes also had a high soluble content due to their nutrient storage function. The C mineralization rates were closely related to the chemical characteristics of the residue, higher sugar and lower lignin contents leading to faster decomposition, as observed for rhizomes.


Carbon Energy crop Litter quality Miscanthus Mineralization Nitrogen