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Screening for tolerance to periodic flooding for cane grown for sucrose and bioenergy

Viator, R.P., White, P.M., Jr., Hale, A.J., Waguespack, H.L.
Biomass and bioenergy 2012 v.44 pp. 56-63
bioenergy, biomass, clones, drained conditions, energy cane, flooded conditions, flooding tolerance, food production, germplasm, ratooning, screening, sucrose, sugarcane, wild relatives
To prevent negative impacts on food production, energy crops will have to be grown on marginal lands that in some cases may be prone to flooding. Two high fiber/low sugar energycane clones, L 79-1002 and Ho 01-12, and two low fiber/high sugar sugarcane clones, HoCP 96-540 and L 99-226, were grown under periodic flooded and adequately drained conditions to determine if energycane is better suited for cultivation than sugarcane under these stressed field conditions. Periodic flooding consisted of a 7 d duration flood applied every month from February to August. Energycane tolerated the flooded conditions better than sugarcane when biomass and sucrose yields were compared between treatments. Tolerance to flooding was demonstrated in the plant cane and ratoon crops of L 79-1002, and in the ratoon crops of Ho 01-12. Flooding reduced sucrose yields of the two sugarcanes by 23 and 24% in plant and ratoon crops, respectively. Based on total yield loss divided by the number of flooded days, each day of flooding reduced sucrose yields for HoCP 96-540 and L 99-226 by 50 kg ha⁻¹ in plant cane and 30 kg ha⁻¹ for the average of the first and second ratoons. An extensive screening of sugarcane clones is needed to determine if flood tolerance exists within this germplasm. Otherwise exotic sugarcane clones or wild relatives may need to be utilized to develop flood-tolerant sugarcane. If sucrose cannot be produced economically under periodic flooding, energycane for production of cellulosic biomass may be a viable alternative because existing energycane clones are tolerant to periodic flooding.