Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Record number 506687
Title Impact of drought stress on growth and quality of miscanthus for biofuel production
Author(s) Weijde, Tim van der; Huxley, Laurie M.; Hawkins, Sarah; Eben Haeser Sembiring, Eben; Farrar, Kerrie; Dolstra, Oene; Visser, Richard G.F.; Trindade, Luisa M.
Source Global change biology Bioenergy 9 (2017)4. - ISSN 1757-1693 - p. 770 - 782.
Department(s) Laboratory of Plant Breeding
WUR Plant Breeding
PBR Biobased Economy
WUR PB Biobased Economy
Publication type Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Publication year 2017
Keyword(s) Cell wall composition - Cellulose - Drought tolerance - Hemicellulose - Lignin - Miscanthus - Saccharification efficiency
Abstract Miscanthus has a high potential as a biomass feedstock for biofuel production. Drought tolerance is an important breeding goal in miscanthus as water deficit is a common abiotic stress and crop irrigation is in most cases uneconomical. Drought may not only severely reduce biomass yields, but also affect biomass quality for biofuel production as cell wall remodeling is a common plant response to abiotic stresses. The quality and plant weight of 50 diverse miscanthus genotypes were evaluated under control and drought conditions (28 days no water) in a glasshouse experiment. Overall, drought treatment decreased plant weight by 45%. Drought tolerance - as defined by maintenance of plant weight - varied extensively among the tested miscanthus genotypes and ranged from 30% to 110%. Biomass composition was drastically altered due to drought stress, with large reductions in cell wall and cellulose content and a substantial increase in hemicellulosic polysaccharides. Stress had only a small effect on lignin content. Cell wall structural rigidity was also affected by drought conditions; substantially higher cellulose conversion rates were observed upon enzymatic saccharification of drought-treated samples with respect to controls. Both cell wall composition and the extent of cell wall plasticity under drought varied extensively among all genotypes, but only weak correlations were found with the level of drought tolerance, suggesting their independent genetic control. High drought tolerance and biomass quality can thus potentially be advanced simultaneously. The extensive genotypic variation found for most traits in the evaluated miscanthus germplasm provides ample scope for breeding of drought-tolerant varieties that are able to produce substantial yields of high-quality biomass under water deficit conditions. The higher degradability of drought-treated samples makes miscanthus an interesting crop for the production of second-generation biofuels in marginal soils.
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