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Comparison of Stem Damage and Carbohydrate Composition in the Stem Juice Between Sugarcane and Sweet Sorghum Harvested Before and After Late Fall Frost

Ming Li Wang, Marsha Cole, Brandon Tonnis, David Pinnow, Zhanguo Xin, Jerry Davis, Yen-Con Hung, Jianming Yu, Gary A. Pederson, Gillian Eggleston
Journal of Sustainable Bioenergy Systems 2014 v.4 no.3 pp. 161-174
autumn, biofuels, bioprocessing, carbohydrate composition, cultivars, environmental factors, feedstocks, frost, frost injury, fructose, glucose, harvest date, ice damage, juice quality, stems, sugar crops, sugarcane juice, sweet sorghum, Georgia
Alate fall frost may significantly affect sugar crops' stem sugar composition, yield and juice quality for biofuel and bioproduct manufacture. Researcb on tbe effects of late fall frost in sugarcane is well documented, but information is lacking for sweet sorgbum. Three and six commercial cultivars ofsugarcane and sweet sorghum, respectively, were selected and evaluated for exposure to a late fall frost (-l.8·C) in Griffin, Georgia, USA. Under tbe same controlled environmental conditions in a screen house, tbe late fall frost induced more damage to sugarcane tban sweet sorghum stems. The frost caused damage to sugarcane ~ueand for juice to exude from stems, whereas similar behavior was not observed for sweet sorgbum. In botb sugarcane and sweet sorghum, tbe glucose/fructose ratio was significantly reduced, but tbis change may not be totally directly related to tbe frost effect. Overall, tbese initial results suggest tbat sweet sorgbum may have a better tolerance to fall frost tban sugarcane. Two sweet sorghum cultivars, Grassl and M8lE, responded well to tbe late fall frost, and tbey can possibly be used as feedstocks for biofuel/bioproduct manufacture in areas susceptible to frosts including northern regions oftbe Soutbeastern US.