High-resolution Thermogravimetric Analysis For Rapid Characterization of Biomass Composition and Selection of Shrub Willow Varieties
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The cultivation of shrub willow (Salix spp.) bioenergy crops is being commercialized in North America, as it has been in Europe for many years. Considering the high genetic diversity and ease of hybridization, there is great potential for genetic improvement of shrub willow through traditional breeding. The State University of New York—College of Environmental Science and Forestry has an extensive breeding program for the genetic improvement of shrub willow for biomass production and for other environmental applications. Since 1998, breeding efforts have produced more than 200 families resulting in more than 5,000 progeny. The goal for this project was to utilize a rapid, low-cost method for the compositional analysis of willow biomass to aid in the selection of willow clones for improved conversion efficiency. A select group of willow clones was analyzed using high-resolution thermogravimetric analysis (HR-TGA), and significant differences in biomass composition were observed. Differences among and within families produced through controlled pollinations were observed, as well as differences by age at time of sampling. These results suggest that HR-TGA has a great promise as a tool for rapid biomass characterization.
KeywordsCellulose Hemicellulose Lignin Salix Wood composition
This work was funded by the McIntire–Stennis Cooperative Forestry Research Program of the US Department of Agriculture. The authors would also like to acknowledge funding of the willow breeding program at SUNY-ESF from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA). Appreciation is also expressed to Dr. Larry Abrahamson, Dr. Tim Volk, Dr. Ed White, and Dr. Bill Winter for their support and advice as collaborators with this research and to Mark Appleby and Ken Burns for excellent technical support.
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