GCB Bioenergy

Cover image for Vol. 6 Issue 3

Edited By: Steve Long

Impact Factor: 4.714

ISI Journal Citation Reports © Ranking: 2012: 2/78 (Agronomy); 8/81 (Energy & Fuels)

Online ISSN: 1757-1707

Associated Title(s): Global Change Biology

A Comparison of Bioenergy Feedstock Cell Wall Compositions

A Comparison of Bioenergy Feedstock Cell Wall CompositionsThe use of dedicated lignocellulosic energy crops is an essential component of future bioenergy production. Much of a plant’s mass is comprised of lignocellulose, a structural material primarily composed of polysaccharides (cellulose and hemicellulose) and lignin. Lignocellulosic biomass is abundant and can be produced in large quantities.

Perennial grasses are excellent candidate lignocellulosic energy crops due to their high yield, generally low costs for establishment, reduced soil erosion, and improved wildlife habitats, yet, the cost efficiency of converting lignocellulose to biofuel is limited by the additional processing required to release the polysaccharides so that they can be degraded into sugars by saccharification. Therefore, energy crop genotypes developed to have ideal cell wall properties would result in higher efficiency of biomass conversion.

Lygin and coauthors characterized the composition and concentrations of cell wall polysaccharides and phenolic compounds of several Miscanthus genotypes, switchgrass, and reed (Arundo donax). Phenolic content was used as a proxy to cell wall cross-linking. The authors found that lignin content and cross-linking may be the major factors determining biomass degradation.

The considerable genetic variability that was found across Miscanthus genotypes, evident by the wide range in polysaccharide and phenolic content, can be used for breeding or engineering of varieties in the future which can maximize both biomass production and degradability in order to produce the most biofuel per unit land area possible.

Lygin A V, Upton J, Dohleman F G, Juvik J, Zabotina O A, Widholm J M, Lozovaya V V (2011) Composition of cell wall phenolics and polysaccharides of the potential bioenergy crop –Miscanthus. GCB Bioenergy. DOI: 10.1111/j.1757-1707.2011.01091.x Read this paper.

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