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A Review on Miscanthus Biomass Production and Composition for Bioenergy Use: Genotypic and Environmental Variability and Implications for Breeding

Arnoult, Stéphanie, Brancourt-Hulmel, Maryse
BioEnergy research 2015 v.8 no.2 pp. 502-526
Miscanthus giganteus, Miscanthus sacchariflorus, Miscanthus sinensis, ash content, bioenergy, biomass production, breeding, clones, crops, disease resistance, environmental impact, feedstocks, industry, lignin, lignocellulose, winter
The lignocellulosic C4 perennial crop miscanthus and, more particularly, one of its species, Miscanthus × giganteus, are especially interesting for bioenergy production because they combine high biomass production with a low environmental impact. However, few varieties are available, which is risky due to disease susceptibility. Gathering worldwide references, this review shows a high genotypic and environmental variability for traits of interest related to miscanthus biomass production and composition, which may be useful in breeding programs for enhancing the availability of suitable clones for bioenergy production. The M. × giganteus species and certain clones in the Miscanthus sinensis species seem particularly interesting due to high biomass production per hectare. Although the industrial requirements for biomass composition have not been fully defined for the different bioenergy conversion processes, the M. × giganteus and Miscanthus sacchariflorus species, which show high lignin contents, appear more suitable for thermochemical conversion processes. In contrast, the M. sinensis species and certain M. × giganteus clones with low lignin contents were interesting for biochemical conversion processes. The M. sacchariflorus species is also interesting as a progenitor for breeding programs, due to its low ash content, which is suitable for the different bioenergy conversion processes. Moreover, mature miscanthus crops harvested in winter seem preferred by industry to enhance efficiency and reduce the expense of the processes. This investigation on miscanthus can be extrapolated to other monocotyledons and perennial crops, which may be proposed as feedstocks in addition to miscanthus.