BioEnergy Research

, Volume 8, Issue 1, pp 259–269 | Cite as

Ploidy Level Affects Important Biomass Traits of Novel Shrub Willow (Salix) Hybrids

  • Michelle J. Serapiglia
  • Fred E. Gouker
  • J. Foster Hart
  • Faride Unda
  • Shawn D. Mansfield
  • Arthur J. Stipanovic
  • Lawrence B. SmartEmail author


Polyploidy is a common observation in the genus Salix, including some of the shrub willow species currently being bred as a potential bioenergy feedstock. Breeding of shrub willow has produced new species hybrids, among which a disproportionate number of high-yielding genotypes are triploid, produced from crosses between diploid and tetraploid parents. These novel hybrids display significant variation in biomass compositional quality, including differences according to ploidy. The triploid and tetraploid genotypes possess lower lignin content than diploid genotypes. Biomass composition was also significantly different across the 3-year growth cycle typical of bioenergy plantings. There were differences in syringyl/guaiacyl (S:G) lignin ratios among the 75 genotypes examined, in addition to significant correlations with willow growth traits, yield, and composition. These differences suggest that a long-term strategy of breeding for triploid progeny will generate cultivars with improved growth traits and wood composition for conversion to biofuels.


Biofuel feedstock Cellulose Lignin Polyploid Wood composition 



This work was funded by grants from the Northeast Sun Grant Initiative from the US Department of Transportation and the US Department of Agriculture. The authors would like to thank Kayla Relyea, Michelle Von Loessl, Berdine Coetzee, and Rebecca Chase for their assistance on this project. Steve Gordner and Matt Christiansen provided expert assistance with field trial establishment, maintenance, and harvesting. Additional technical support was provided by Kimberly Cameron, Michael Rosato, Kayleigh Hogan, Jane Petzoldt, Cody Lafler, and James Ballerstein.

Supplementary material

12155_2014_9521_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (26 kb)
Online Resource 1 (PDF 26 kb)
12155_2014_9521_MOESM2_ESM.xlsx (42 kb)
Online Resource 2 (XLSX 41 kb)
12155_2014_9521_MOESM3_ESM.pdf (9 kb)
Online Resource 3 (PDF 8 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michelle J. Serapiglia
    • 1
    • 4
  • Fred E. Gouker
    • 1
  • J. Foster Hart
    • 2
  • Faride Unda
    • 2
  • Shawn D. Mansfield
    • 2
  • Arthur J. Stipanovic
    • 3
  • Lawrence B. Smart
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Horticulture, New York State Agricultural Experiment StationCornell UniversityGenevaUSA
  2. 2.Department of Wood Science, Forest Sciences CentreUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada
  3. 3.Department of ChemistryState University of New York College of Environmental Science and ForestrySyracuseUSA
  4. 4.Sustainable Biofuels and Coproducts Research Unit, Eastern Regional Research CenterUSDA—ARSWyndmoorUSA

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