Assaying Sorghum for Fuel Production
The publicly available NREL suite of laboratory analytical procedures (LAPs) provides researchers with the analytical tools to determine the composition of woody and herbaceous feedstocks. Feedstock characterization includes several steps: sample preparation, starch determination, moisture analysis, ashing, extraction, and hydrolysis. These steps provide information on specific compounds and classes of compounds such as ash, protein, moisture, extractives, sucrose, starch, glucan, xylan, galactan, arabinan, acetate and lignin. Here, we describe the use of these procedures to characterize sorghum [Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench] with specific consideration of four main sorghum types: grain, forage, sweet, and biomass, which can vary significantly in composition. Special attention is paid to the extraction and the differentiation of glucose from starch and glucan from cellulose in the hybrids with significant amounts of nonstructural carbohydrates.
Key wordsSorghum Glucan Xylan Lignin Characterization LAPs Structural carbohydrates Starch Cellulose Hemicellulose Lignocellulose Nonstructural carbohydrates
The authors would like to acknowledge Amie Sluiter and David Templeton for their extensive contributions to the development of the original LAPs and Michelle Reed for her contributions to starch method optimization. The authors would also like to thank Jeff Dahlberg for his support of our methods. This work was supported by the U.S. Department of Energy under Contract No. DE-AC36-08GO28308 with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Funding provided by USDOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s BioEnergy Technologies Office.
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