Assessment of Bermudagrass and Bunch Grasses as Feedstock for Conversion to Ethanol
Research is needed to allow more efficient processing of lignocellulose from abundant plant biomass resources for production to fuel ethanol at lower costs. Potential dedicated feedstock species vary in degrees of recalcitrance to ethanol processing. The standard dilute acid hydrolysis pretreatment followed by simultaneous sacharification and fermentation (SSF) was performed on leaf and stem material from three grasses: giant reed (Arundo donax L.), napiergrass (Pennisetum purpureum Schumach.), and bermudagrass (Cynodon spp). In a separate study, napiergrass, and bermudagrass whole samples were pretreated with esterase and cellulose before fermentation. Conversion via SSF was greatest with two bermudagrass cultivars (140 and 122 mg g−1 of biomass) followed by leaves of two napiergrass genotypes (107 and 97 mg g−1) and two giant reed clones (109 and 85 mg g−1). Variability existed among bermudagrass cultivars for conversion to ethanol after esterase and cellulase treatments, with Tifton 85 (289 mg g) and Coastcross II (284 mg g−1) being superior to Coastal (247 mg g−1) and Tifton 44 (245 mg g−1). Results suggest that ethanol yields vary significantly for feedstocks by species and within species and that genetic breeding for improved feedstocks should be possible.
KeywordsBiomass Bioethanol Bermudagrass Energy crops
Enzymatically pretreated materials were supplied by Dr. Danny E. Akin; sugarand phenolic acid data were provided by W. Herbert Morrison III.
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