, Volume 5, Issue 2, pp 387-397
Date: 16 Aug 2011

Analysis of Crystallinity Index and Hydrolysis Rates in the Bioenergy Crop Sorghum bicolor

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Maximum yield from any cellulosic bioenergy crop is largely dependent upon total dry weight at harvest and process-specific bioconversion rates. Using enzymatic hydrolysis rate as a bioconversion metric, we have investigated the relationship between the biomass crystallinity index (CI) and hydrolysis yield potential (HYP) among ∼20 Sorghum bicolor varieties grown in two environments. The comparison of HYP to CI revealed a significant negative correlation in both environments indicating that high cellulose crystallinity in sorghum can have an impact on conversion yield. Interestingly, no correlation was seen between CI and HYP after pretreatment. Compositional analysis revealed a significant positive correlation between lignin content and CI, as well as a significant negative correlation between lignin content and HYP. Additionally, CI and HYP were found to be significantly correlated only after 24 h of hydrolysis. These results suggest that when a sorghum cultivar is being considered for industrial scale production, the inclusion of cellulose crystallinity should be factored into the decision along with total biomass yield and lignin composition.