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Biomass recalcitrance in barley, wheat and triticale straw: Correlation of biomass quality with classic agronomical traits

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JournalPLoS ONE
DateAccepted/In press - 3 Oct 2018
DatePublished (current) - 7 Nov 2018
Issue number11
Pages (from-to)e0205880
Original languageEnglish


The global production of cereal straw as an agricultural by-product presents a significant source of biomass, which could be used as feedstock for the production of second generation biofuels by fermentation. The production of sugars for fermentation is an important measure of straw quality and in its suitability for biofuel production. In this paper, we present a characterization of straw digestibility from a wide range of cereal. Our main objective is to evaluate the variability of fermentable sugars released from different species including wheat (Triticum durum L., Triticum aestivum L.), barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) and triticale (X Triticosecale Wittmack). To this end, we adapted a saccharification method (IAS Method) capable of detecting significant differences of released sugars between cultivars and species, while using separately another method that would serve as a control and with which we could contrast our results (CNAP method). ANOVA analyses revealed that barley has a higher saccharification potential than wheat and triticale and shows more variation between genotypes. Thus, populations derived from crosses among them such as Steptoe × Morex and OWB Dominant × OWB Recessive hold potential for the identification of genetic basis for saccharification-related traits. The correlation of glucose released between the two methods was moderate (R2 = 0.57). An evaluation of the inter- and intra- specific correlation between a number of chemical and agronomical parameters and saccharification suggests that the cell wall thickness and lignin content in straw could be used in breeding programs for the improvement of the saccharification potential. Finally, the lack of correlation between grain yield and saccharification suggests that it would be possible to make a selection of genotypes for dual purpose, low recalcitrance and grain yield.

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