Sudangrass, an alternative lignocellulosic feedstock for bioenergy in Argentina

Alberto Acevedo, Rachael Simister, Simon J McQueen-Mason, Leonardo D Gómez

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Sudangrass, Sorghum sudanense (Piper) Stapf, is a vigorous forage crop that has also been used for biogas, paper, and electricity production. Due to the large biomass yields achieved by sudangrass and the large area of potential growth in Argentina seven sudangrass accessions from a collection of S. sudanense were analyzed to evaluate their potential as feedstocks for lignocellulosic bioethanol production, and to assess whether there is an association between the response to biotic and abiotic stresses and the composition of the biomass. The biomass composition was analyzed for major cell wall polymers, monosaccharides, and elemental composition. On average, 68% of stem lignocellulosic biomass was comprised of matrix polysaccharides and crystalline cellulose, representing a potential source of sugars for bioethanol production. Xylose was the predominant matrix polysaccharide monosaccharide comprising, on average, 45% of the total sugars, followed by arabinose, glucose, galactose, galacturonic acid, mannose, glucuronic acid, and fucose. Rhamnose was not detected in any of the biomasses analyzed. Silica was the most abundant element in sudangrass stem, followed by chloride, calcium, phosphorus and sulfur. We performed saccharification analyses after pretreatments. Alkaline pretreatment was more effective than water pretreatment. Sodium hydroxide pretreatment exposed different levels of recalcitrance among sudangrass accessions, whereas the water pretreatment did not. Phenological traits were also evaluated, showing significant variability among accessions. The comparison of major cell wall polymers and monosaccharide composition between tolerant and susceptible accessions to abiotic and biotic stresses suggests an association between the composition of the biomass and the response to stress.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0217435
Number of pages16
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 23 May 2019

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© 2019 Acevedo et al.

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