Evaluation of Fifteen Cultivars of Cool-Season Perennial Grasses as Biofuel Feedstocks Using Near-Infrared

Courtney Payne, Edward Wolfrum, Nicholas Nagle, Joe Brummer, Neil Hansen

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5 Scopus Citations


Cool-season (C3) perennial grasses have a long history of cultivation and use as animal forage. This study evaluated 15 cultivars of C3 grasses, when harvested in late June for increased biomass yield, as biofuel feedstocks using near- infrared spectroscopy (NIR) based partial least square (PLS) analysis. These grasses were grown near Iliff, CO, for three growing seasons (2009–2011). The carbohydrate composition and released carbohydrates (total glucose and xylose released from dilute acid pretreatment and enzymatic hydrolysis [EH]) were predicted for samples from the study using NIR/PLS. The results were analyzed from a biofuels perspective, where composition combined with harvest yield provided information on the carbohydrate yield available for biomass conversion processes, and released carbohydrate yield provided information on the accessibility of those carbohydrates to conversion methods. The range in harvest yields varied more among cultivars (2900 kg ha–1) than did the range in carbohydrate composition (56.0 g kg–1) or released carbohydrates (60.0 g kg–1). When comparing carbohydrate yield to released carbohydrate yield between cultivars, an efficiency as high as 87% release of available carbohydrates was obtained for pubescent wheatgrass [Thinopyrum intermedium (Host) Barkworth & D.R. Dewey ‘Mansaka’], with a low of 71% for hybrid wheatgrass [Elytrigia repens (L.) nevski ´ pseudo-roegneria spicata (PURSH) A. Love ‘Newhy’]. Though hybrid wheatgrass had the lowest release efficiency, its high harvest yield resulted in release of more total carbohydrates than half the other cultivars analyzed. This suggested that harvest yield, carbohydrate release, and carbohydrate composition, together-play significant roles in biofuel feedstock evaluation.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1923-1934
Number of pages12
JournalAgronomy Journal
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 American Society of Agronomy.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5100-67041


  • biofuels
  • carbohydrate yields
  • composition
  • cool season grasses
  • dilute acid pretreatment
  • enzymatic hydrolysis
  • feedstocks
  • harvest yields
  • herabaceous feedstocks
  • multivariate
  • near infrared spectroscopy
  • partial least square
  • perennial grasses


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