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Accumulation of Biomass and Compositional Change Over the Growth Season for Six Photoperiod Sorghum Lines
- Hoffmann, Leo, Jr., Rooney, William L.
- BioEnergy research 2014 v.7 no.3 pp. 811-815
- Sorghum bicolor, autumn, biomass production, cellulose, crop yield, drought, genotype, growing season, harvest date, hybrids, lignin, photoperiod, planting, Texas
- Biomass sorghums [Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench] are short-day photoperiod sensitive (PS) types, meaning that the crop will grow vegetatively late into the fall season in subtropical and temperate environments. This feature results in high biomass yield potential and mitigates drought susceptibility. The objective of this study is to assess biomass growth patterns and associated changes in composition over a growing season for PS sorghum. The experiment had a split-plot design with two replications, six PS sorghum genotypes, and 13 harvest dates. Harvest started at 60 days after planting (DAP) and continued every 15 days thereafter in both College Station (CS) and Corpus Christi (CC) in Texas, 2010. At each harvest, dry biomass yield, plant height and biomass composition (percent lignin and cellulose) were measured. For all genotypes, biomass accumulation followed a standard growth pattern which included an early lag phase, followed by a log phase of growth and finally, a general reduction in the rate of accumulation. The early lag phase ended at approximately 70 DAP, the log phase of growth ended at approximately 125 DAP, and biomass yields maximized between 180 and 225 DAP. The highest yielding genotype produced 24 Mg ha⁻¹. Plant heights up to 400 cm were also measured between 180 and 225 DAP. Plant height and biomass yield patterns were similar, indicating that height is important to increase yield. Lignin and cellulose concentrations increased with time; at the highest yields (between 180 and 225 DAP), maximum lignin content were 14.5 to 15.5 % and maximum cellulose content was 31 to 32 %. As with yield potential, significant differences were detected for composition as well. The growth curves indicate that PS biomass sorghum yields sufficiently and can be harvested as early as 130 DAP with maximum sorghum biomass accumulation occurring between 180 and 225 days. Thus, with careful selection and deployment of biomass sorghum hybrids, the harvest season of biomass sorghum can be extended over a 3-month period in southern regions of the US.