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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The potential roles of bio-economy in the transition to equitable, sustainable, post fossil-carbon societies : Findings from this virtual special issue
Ingrao, Carlo ; Bacenetti, Jacopo ; Bezama, Alberto ; Blok, Vincent ; Goglio, Pietro ; Koukios, Emmanuel G. ; Lindner, Marcus ; Nemecek, Thomas ; Siracusa, Valentina ; Zabaniotou, Anastasia ; Huisingh, Donald - \ 2018
Journal of Cleaner Production 204 (2018). - ISSN 0959-6526 - p. 471 - 488.
Agriculture - Bio-economy - Bioenergy - Biomass - Comprehensive review - Forestry

Bio-economy can be defined as an economy where renewable biomasses are produced and converted into value-added materials, chemicals, foods, feeds, fuels and energy: therefore, it represents one valid, reliable way to transition to equitable, sustainable, post fossil-carbon societies. For this reason, it is increasingly gaining attention by scientists and academics worldwide, as is supported by this special issue developed within the Journal of Cleaner Production and presented in this editorial article. This Virtual Special Issue (VSI) was designed to highlight the importance of academic research in documenting the multiple greening effects that bio-economy has in multiple societal sectors. Therefore, the editors are confident that it will help to create the platform to exchange and to enhance knowledge on the evolving bio-economy. In this context, this editorial was designed to provide an overview of the papers contained in this special issue and to highlight their contributions to the bio-economy within five main research themes: biomass, biomaterials and bioenergy; agriculture; forestry; production and packaging of foods and feeds; and miscellaneous applications. Based upon the analysis of this VSI's papers, the authors found that there is an urgent need for research on: meta-studies of cross-country/regional interventions, to assess which interventions are more effective; more effective harmonisation solutions of methodological approaches for bio-economy assessments; and finally more interdisciplinary collaboration among technical and social scientists to identify and address the relevant questions for the bio-economy and to exchange and involve academics with all actors of the “innovation pipeline” of the bio-economy.

Assessing the Capacity of Ecosystems to Supply Ecosystem Services Using Remote Sensing and An Ecosystem Accounting Approach
Vargas, Leonardo ; Willemen, Louise ; Hein, Lars - \ 2018
Environmental Management (2018). - ISSN 0364-152X - 15 p.
Biomass - Colombia - Ecosystem capacity - Ecosystem change - Net primary productivity - Orinoco river basin

Ecosystems contribute to economic development through the supply of ecosystem services such as food and fresh water. Information on ecosystems and their services is required to support policy making, but this information is not captured in economic statistics. Ecosystem accounting has been developed to integrate ecosystems and ecosystem services into national accounts. Ecosystem accounting includes the compilation of an ecosystem services supply and use account, which reflects actual flows of ecosystem services, and the ecosystem capacity account, which reflects the capacity of ecosystems to sustainably supply ecosystem services. A capacity assessment requires detailed data on ecosystem processes, which are often not available over large scales. In this study, we examined how net primary productivity derived from remote sensing can be used as an indicator to assess changes in the capacity of ecosystems to supply services. We examine the spatial and temporal patterns in this capacity for the Orinoco river basin from 2001 to 2014. Specifically, we analyze the capacity of six types of ecosystems to supply timber, pastures for grazing cattle, oil palm fresh fruit bunches and to sequester carbon. We compared ecosystem capacities with the level of ecosystem service supply to assess a sustainable use of ecosystems. Our study provides insights on how the capacity of ecosystems can be quantified using remote sensing data in the context of ecosystem accounting. Ecosystem capacity indicators indicate ecosystems change and harvesting-regeneration patterns which are important for the design and monitoring of sustainable management regimes for ecosystems.

Calibration and validation of the AquaCrop model for repeatedly harvested leafy vegetables grown under different irrigation regimes
Nyathi, M.K. ; Halsema, G.E. van; Annandale, J.G. ; Struik, P.C. - \ 2018
Agricultural Water Management 208 (2018). - ISSN 0378-3774 - p. 107 - 119.
Biomass - Crop modelling - Evapotranspiration, indigenous leafy vegetables - Water productivity

Traditional leafy vegetables (TLVs’) are vegetables that were introduced in an area a long time ago, where they adapted to local conditions and became part of the local culture. In Sub-Saharan Africa, the use of TLVs’ as a nutrient dense alternative food source to combat micronutrient deficiency of rural resource-poor households (RRPHs), has gained attention in debates on food and nutrition security. However, TLVs’ are underutilised because of lack of information on their yield response to water and fertiliser. To better assess TLVs’ yield response to water stress, the AquaCrop model was calibrated (using 2013/14 data) and validated (using 2014/15 data) for three repeatedly harvested leafy vegetables [Amaranthus cruentus (Amaranth), Cleome gynandra (Spider flower), and Beta vulgaris (Swiss chard)] in Pretoria, South Africa. Experiments were conducted during two consecutive seasons, in which the selected leafy vegetables were subjected to two irrigation regimes; well-watered (I30) and severe water stress (I80). Measured parameters were canopy cover (CC), soil water content (SWC), aboveground biomass (AGB), actual evapotranspiration (ETa), and water productivity (WP). Statistical indicators [root mean square error (RMSE), RMSE-standard deviation ratio (RSR), R2, and relative deviation] showed good fit between measured and simulated (0.60 < R2 < 0.99, 0.94 < RMSE < 5.44, and 0.04 < RSR < 0.79) values for the well-watered treatment. However, the fit was not as good for the water-stressed treatment for CC, SWC, ETa and WP. Nevertheless, the model simulated the selected parameters satisfactorily. These results revealed that there was a clear difference between transpiration water productivity (WPTr) for C4 crops (Amaranth and Spider flower) and a C3 crop (Swiss chard); WPTr for the C4 crops ranged from 4.61 to 6.86 kg m−3, whereas for the C3 crop, WPTr ranged from 3.11 to 4.43 kg m−3. It is a challenge to simulate yield response of repeatedly harvested leafy vegetables because the model cannot run sequential harvests at one time; therefore, each harvest needs to be simulated separately, making it cumbersome. To design sustainable food production systems that are health-driven and inclusive of RRPHs, we recommend that more vegetables (including traditional vegetables) should be included in the model database, and that sequential harvesting be facilitated.

Biomass dynamics in a logged forest : the role of wood density
Nam, Vu Thanh ; Anten, Niels P.R. ; Kuijk, Marijke van - \ 2018
Journal of Plant Research 131 (2018)4. - ISSN 0918-9440 - p. 611 - 621.
Biomass - Carbon dynamics - Demographic rates - Tropical forest - Vietnam

Wood density (WD) is believed to be a key trait in driving growth strategies of tropical forest species, and as it entails the amount of mass per volume of wood, it also tends to correlate with forest carbon stocks. Yet there is relatively little information on how interspecific variation in WD correlates with biomass dynamics at the species and population level. We determined changes in biomass in permanent plots in a logged forest in Vietnam from 2004 to 2012, a period representing the last 8 years of a 30 years logging cycle. We measured diameter at breast height (DBH) and estimated aboveground biomass (AGB) growth, mortality, and net AGB increment (the difference between AGB gains and losses through growth and mortality) per species at the individual and population (i.e. corrected for species abundance) level, and correlated these with WD. At the population level, mean net AGB increment rates were 6.47 Mg ha−1 year−1 resulting from a mean AGB growth of 8.30 Mg ha−1 year−1, AGB recruitment of 0.67 Mg ha−1 year−1 and AGB losses through mortality of 2.50 Mg ha−1 year−1. Across species there was a negative relationship between WD and mortality rate, WD and DBH growth rate, and a positive relationship between WD and tree standing biomass. Standing biomass in turn was positively related to AGB growth, and net AGB increment both at the individual and population level. Our findings support the view that high wood density species contribute more to total biomass and indirectly to biomass increment than low wood density species in tropical forests. Maintaining high wood density species thus has potential to increase biomass recovery and carbon sequestration after logging.

Managing the interactions between soil abiotic factors to alleviate the effect of Fusarium wilt in bananas
Segura, R.A. ; Stoorvogel, J.J. ; Samuels, J.Z. ; Sandoval, J.A. - \ 2018
In: 10th International Symposium on Banana. - International Society for Horticultural Science (Acta Horticulturae ) - ISBN 9789462611924 - p. 163 - 168.
Biomass - Micronutrients - Panama disease - Plant disease - Soil fertility
Soil management offers various options to alleviate the effects of Fusarium wilt caused by Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. cubense (Foc) in bananas. Nevertheless, it receives little attention as a strategy in Fusarium wilt management. Literature provides ample evidence linking soil conditions such as soil texture and fertility to the spread and severity of plant diseases. However, the inconsistency of results between case studies limits the attention of soil management in crop disease management. The present study aimed at unravelling the role of soil abiotic factors on nutrient concentrations in plant tissue, biomass production and the incidence of Fusarium wilt (Foc race 1) in bananas (‘Gros Michel’, AAA) under field conditions. A large field trial was established in which the effects of soil pH and nutrients (N, Ca, Mg and Mn) were studied. Around 30% of the plants showed symptoms of Fusarium wilt at flowering in the first season. However, Fusarium wilt incidence did not vary between treatments. Soil pH showed significant interactions with soil N and Mn concentrations resulting in a lower bunch weight and increased micronutrient concentrations in the pseudostem. With a higher pH, bunch weight increased, although higher Mn concentrations suppressed this positive effect. Interactions between a high soil pH and Ca and Mg resulted in a higher bunch weight and lower micronutrient concentrations in the pseudostem. The results can be used to develop soil management strategies for improving banana productivity in infected plantations.
Sailing into Unchartered Waters : Plotting a Course for EU Bio-Based Sectors
Philippidis, George ; Bartelings, Heleen ; Smeets, Edward - \ 2018
Ecological Economics 147 (2018). - ISSN 0921-8009 - p. 410 - 421.
Biochemicals - Bioenergy - Biomass - CGE modelling
The use of biomass to achieve a sustainable, low carbon, competitive model of growth and employment is at the heart of European Union (EU) policy making. This study constitutes a first step toward understanding (i) the medium-term prospects for biobased sectors in the context of expected EU biomass policy developments and (ii) the degree of coherency with the Bioeconomy strategy in terms of identifying potential policy conflicts. A general finding is that EU bio-based sectors face important challenges, largely due to slower assumed rates of economic growth and land productivity, coupled with deeper greenhouse gas emissions cuts. Furthermore, EU policy conflicts are encountered in attempting to reconcile greenhouse gas reductions with macroeconomic growth, food security and biofuel mandates. To conclude, a more holistic public policy approach is necessary to avoid the perceived conflicts in biomass usage, whilst there is a clear need for targeted and sustained investments in EU bio-based activity to fully exploit its potential.
Analysis of coffee (Coffea arabica L.) performance in relation to radiation level and rate of nitrogen supply II. Uptake and distribution of nitrogen, leaf photosynthesis and first bean yields
Bote, Adugna Debela ; Zana, Zewdneh ; Ocho, Fikre L. ; Vos, Jan - \ 2018
European Journal of Agronomy 92 (2018). - ISSN 1161-0301 - p. 107 - 114.
Apparent nitrogen recovery - Biomass - N uptake - Partitioning - Physiological efficiency - Radiation
Natural supply of nitrogen is often limiting coffee production. From the viewpoints of growth and biomass production, adequate nitrogen supply is important. Growing coffee under full sunlight not only enhances potential yields but also increases demands for nitrogen fertilizer, the extent of which is ill quantified. This paper provides a comprehensive analysis of N uptake and distribution, biomass production, photosynthetic characteristics of 2.5 years old trees and first bean yields of 3.5 years old coffee trees in response to four radiation treatments (30%–100% of full sun), factorially combined with four rates of nitrogen supply (0–88 g tree−1 y−1). The experiment was arranged in a randomized split-split plot design and was conducted at Jimma University horticultural farm, Ethiopia, using three coffee varieties. With larger N application and higher level of radiation, more N was utilized and more biomass and yield were produced. The fertilizer-N recovery ranged from 7 to 17% and declined with larger N supply and increased with radiation level. Coffee trees provided with larger amount of N had higher amounts of N per unit leaf area, light-saturated rate of leaf photosynthesis and first bean yield compared to trees grown in low N supply and limited radiation. The relation between biomass and plant N content was conservative across coffee varieties and can be used to estimate N content from biomass or calculate required uptake to produce a given amount of biomass. Though testing of the relation for other climatic conditions is advisable, this relation can also be used in the development of process-based quantitative coffee tree growth models,. Achieving synchronies between N supply and coffee trees demand without excess or deficiency requires further investigation of options to improve the low nitrogen recovery.
The potential role of waste biomass in the future urban electricity system
Jiang, Yu ; Werf, Edwin van der; Ierland, Ekko C. van; Keesman, Karel J. - \ 2017
Biomass and Bioenergy 107 (2017). - ISSN 0961-9534 - p. 182 - 190.
Bioenergy - Biomass - Intermittent renewable energy - Power system modelling - Urban electricity system - Waste stream
The share of intermittent renewable electricity (IRE) in the future urban electricity system is expected to increase significantly. Sufficient back-up capacity is needed in the period when IRE output is low. Bioenergy is both dispatchable and carbon-neutral, and can hence be a promising option to back up IRE. The objective of this study is to explore the potential of urban waste biomass in backing up IRE in an urban electricity system. An urban electricity system model is developed to project future electricity generation configurations. Given the projected electricity generation configuration, the potential demand for bioenergy as back-up capacity is estimated by simulating hourly electricity demand and the supply of IRE for a whole year. The estimated potential demand for bioenergy is then compared with the potential supply of bioenergy from the urban waste stream. We apply our model using data for the city of Amsterdam, the Netherlands. The complementarity of wind and solar energy is found to reduce the demand for back-up capacity from bioenergy. An extreme weather day with hardly any wind and solar energy supply requires about 2800 tonne waste biomass per day in an emission reduction scenario and 1300 tonne waste biomass per day in a renewable energy quota scenario, respectively. The average daily waste biomass generated in the city is about 1400 tonne. Bioenergy storage as a buffer is found to be necessary due to the monthly fluctuations in both the supply and demand of waste biomass.
Biodiversity effects on ecosystem functioning in a 15-year grassland experiment : Patterns, mechanisms, and open questions
Weisser, Wolfgang ; Roscher, Christiane ; Meyer, Sebastian T. ; Ebeling, Anne ; Luo, Guangjuan ; Allan, Eric ; Beßler, Holger ; Barnard, Romain L. ; Buchmann, Nina ; Buscot, François ; Engels, Christof ; Fischer, Christine ; Fischer, Markus ; Gessler, Arthur ; Gleixner, Gerd ; Halle, Stefan ; Hildebrandt, Anke ; Hillebrand, Helmut ; Kroon, Hans de; Lange, Markus ; Leimer, Sophia ; Roux, Xavier Le; Milcu, Alexandru ; Mommer, Liesje ; Niklaus, Pascal A. ; Oelmann, Yvonne ; Proulx, Raphael ; Roy, Jacques ; Scherber, Christoph ; Scherer-lorenzen, Michael ; Scheu, Stefan ; Tscharntke, Teja ; Wachendorf, Michael ; Wagg, Cameron ; Weigelt, Alexandra ; Wilcke, Wolfgang ; Wirth, Christian ; Schulze, Ernst Detlef ; Schmid, Bernhard ; Eisenhauer, Nico - \ 2017
Basic and Applied Ecology 23 (2017). - ISSN 1439-1791 - p. 1 - 73.
Biomass - Carbon storage - Complementarity - Multi-trophic interactions - Nutrient cycling - Selection effect
In the past two decades, a large number of studies have investigated the relationship between biodiversity and ecosystem functioning, most of which focussed on a limited set of ecosystem variables. The Jena Experiment was set up in 2002 to investigate the effects of plant diversity on element cycling and trophic interactions, using a multi-disciplinary approach. Here, we review the results of 15 years of research in the Jena Experiment, focussing on the effects of manipulating plant species richness and plant functional richness. With more than 85,000 measures taken from the plant diversity plots, the Jena Experiment has allowed answering fundamental questions important for functional biodiversity research.First, the question was how general the effect of plant species richness is, regarding the many different processes that take place in an ecosystem. About 45% of different types of ecosystem processes measured in the 'main experiment', where plant species richness ranged from 1 to 60 species, were significantly affected by plant species richness, providing strong support for the view that biodiversity is a significant driver of ecosystem functioning. Many measures were not saturating at the 60-species level, but increased linearly with the logarithm of species richness. There was, however, great variability in the strength of response among different processes. One striking pattern was that many processes, in particular belowground processes, took several years to respond to the manipulation of plant species richness, showing that biodiversity experiments have to be long-term, to distinguish trends from transitory patterns. In addition, the results from the Jena Experiment provide further evidence that diversity begets stability, for example stability against invasion of plant species, but unexpectedly some results also suggested the opposite, e.g. when plant communities experience severe perturbations or elevated resource availability. This highlights the need to revisit diversity-stability theory.Second, we explored whether individual plant species or individual plant functional groups, or biodiversity itself is more important for ecosystem functioning, in particular biomass production. We found strong effects of individual species and plant functional groups on biomass production, yet these effects mostly occurred in addition to, but not instead of, effects of plant species richness.Third, the Jena Experiment assessed the effect of diversity on multitrophic interactions. The diversity of most organisms responded positively to increases in plant species richness, and the effect was stronger for above- than for belowground organisms, and stronger for herbivores than for carnivores or detritivores. Thus, diversity begets diversity. In addition, the effect on organismic diversity was stronger than the effect on species abundances.Fourth, the Jena Experiment aimed to assess the effect of diversity on N, P and C cycling and the water balance of the plots, separating between element input into the ecosystem, element turnover, element stocks, and output from the ecosystem. While inputs were generally less affected by plant species richness, measures of element stocks, turnover and output were often positively affected by plant diversity, e.g. carbon storage strongly increased with increasing plant species richness. Variables of the N cycle responded less strongly to plant species richness than variables of the C cycle.Fifth, plant traits are often used to unravel mechanisms underlying the biodiversity-ecosystem functioning relationship. In the Jena Experiment, most investigated plant traits, both above- and belowground, were plastic and trait expression depended on plant diversity in a complex way, suggesting limitation to using database traits for linking plant traits to particular functions.Sixth, plant diversity effects on ecosystem processes are often caused by plant diversity effects on species interactions. Analyses in the Jena Experiment including structural equation modelling suggest complex interactions that changed with diversity, e.g. soil carbon storage and greenhouse gas emission were affected by changes in the composition and activity of the belowground microbial community. Manipulation experiments, in which particular organisms, e.g. belowground invertebrates, were excluded from plots in split-plot experiments, supported the important role of the biotic component for element and water fluxes.Seventh, the Jena Experiment aimed to put the results into the context of agricultural practices in managed grasslands. The effect of increasing plant species richness from 1 to 16 species on plant biomass was, in absolute terms, as strong as the effect of a more intensive grassland management, using fertiliser and increasing mowing frequency. Potential bioenergy production from high-diversity plots was similar to that of conventionally used energy crops. These results suggest that diverse 'High Nature Value Grasslands' are multifunctional and can deliver a range of ecosystem services including production-related services.A final task was to assess the importance of potential artefacts in biodiversity-ecosystem functioning relationships, caused by the weeding of the plant community to maintain plant species composition. While the effort (in hours) needed to weed a plot was often negatively related to plant species richness, species richness still affected the majority of ecosystem variables. Weeding also did not negatively affect monoculture performance; rather, monocultures deteriorated over time for a number of biological reasons, as shown in plant-soil feedback experiments.To summarize, the Jena Experiment has allowed for a comprehensive analysis of the functional role of biodiversity in an ecosystem. A main challenge for future biodiversity research is to increase our mechanistic understanding of why the magnitude of biodiversity effects differs among processes and contexts. It is likely that there will be no simple answer. For example, among the multitude of mechanisms suggested to underlie the positive plant species richness effect on biomass, some have received limited support in the Jena Experiment, such as vertical root niche partitioning. However, others could not be rejected in targeted analyses. Thus, from the current results in the Jena Experiment, it seems likely that the positive biodiversity effect results from several mechanisms acting simultaneously in more diverse communities, such as reduced pathogen attack, the presence of more plant growth promoting organisms, less seed limitation, and increased trait differences leading to complementarity in resource uptake. Distinguishing between different mechanisms requires careful testing of competing hypotheses. Biodiversity research has matured such that predictive approaches testing particular mechanisms are now possible.
Increased sbpase activity improves photosynthesis and grain yield in wheat grown in greenhouse conditions
Driever, Steven M. ; Simkin, Andrew J. ; Alotaibi, Saqer ; Fisk, Stuart J. ; Madgwick, Pippa J. ; Sparks, Caroline A. ; Jones, Huw D. ; Lawson, Tracy ; Parry, Martin A.J. ; Raines, Christine A. - \ 2017
Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B. Biological sciences 372 (2017)1730. - ISSN 0962-8436
Biomass - Calvin-Benson cycle - Sedoheptulose-1,7-biphosphatase - Transgenic - Yield
To meet the growing demand for food, substantial improvements in yields are needed. This is particularly the case for wheat, where global yield has stagnated in recent years. Increasing photosynthesis has been identified as a primary target to achieve yield improvements. To increase leaf photosynthesis in wheat, the level of the Calvin–Benson cycle enzyme sedoheptulose-1,7-biphosphatase (SBPase) has been increased through transformation and expression of a Brachypodium distachyon SBPase gene construct. Transgenic lines with increased SBPase protein levels and activity were grown under greenhouse conditions and showed enhanced leaf photosynthesis and increased total biomass and dry seed yield. This showed the potential of improving yield potential by increasing leaf photosynthesis in a crop species such as wheat. The results are discussed with regard to future strategies for further improvement of photosynthesis in wheat. This article is part of the themed issue ‘Enhancing photosynthesis in crop plants: targets for improvement’.
Isohexide Dinitriles : A Versatile Family of Renewable Platform Chemicals
Wu, Jing ; Thiyagarajan, Shanmugam ; Guerra, Célia Fonseca ; Eduard, Pieter ; Lutz, Martin ; Noordover, Bart A.J. ; Koning, Cor E. ; Es, Daan S. van - \ 2017
ChemSusChem 10 (2017)16. - ISSN 1864-5631 - p. 3202 - 3211.
Biomass - Crystal structures - Epimers - Isohexides - Oxygen heterocycles
Building blocks of isohexides extended by one carbon atom at the 2- or 5-positions are now synthetically accessible by a convenient, selective, base-catalyzed epimerization of the corresponding dinitriles. Kinetic experiments using the strong organic base 1,8-diazabicyclo[5.4.0]undec-7-ene (DBU) show that all three possible isohexide dinitrile isomers exist within a dynamic equilibrium. An epimerization mechanism based on density functional theory (DFT) calculations is proposed. Structural identification of all three possible isomers is based on NMR analysis and single crystal x-ray crystallography. DFT calculations confirm that the observed crystal structures are indeed the lowest energy conformers of these isohexide derivatives.
Site-specific management of miscanthus genotypes for combustion and anaerobic digestion : A comparison of energy yields
Kiesel, Andreas ; Nunn, Christopher ; Iqbal, Yasir ; Weijde, Tim Van der; Wagner, Moritz ; Özgüven, Mensure ; Tarakanov, Ivan ; Kalinina, Olena ; Trindade, Luisa M. ; Clifton-Brown, John ; Lewandowski, Iris - \ 2017
Frontiers in Plant Science 8 (2017). - ISSN 1664-462X
Biogas - Biomass - Energy yield - Harvest time - Moisture content - Substrate-specific methane yield - Yield
In Europe, the perennial C4 grass miscanthus is currently mainly cultivated for energy generation via combustion. In recent years, anaerobic digestion has been identified as a promising alternative utilization pathway. Anaerobic digestion produces a higher-value intermediate (biogas), which can be upgraded to biomethane, stored in the existing natural gas infrastructure and further utilized as a transport fuel or in combined heat and power plants. However, the upgrading of the solid biomass into gaseous fuel leads to conversion-related energy losses, the level of which depends on the cultivation parameters genotype, location, and harvest date. Thus, site-specific crop management needs to be adapted to the intended utilization pathway. The objectives of this paper are to quantify (i) the impact of genotype, location and harvest date on energy yields of anaerobic digestion and combustion and (ii) the conversion losses of upgrading solid biomass into biogas. For this purpose, five miscanthus genotypes (OPM 3, 6, 9, 11, 14), three cultivation locations (Adana, Moscow, Stuttgart), and up to six harvest dates (August-March) were assessed. Anaerobic digestion yielded, on average, 35% less energy than combustion. Genotype, location, and harvest date all had significant impacts on the energy yield. For both, this is determined by dry matter yield and ash content and additionally by substrate-specific methane yield for anaerobic digestion and moisture content for combustion. Averaged over all locations and genotypes, an early harvest in August led to 25%and a late harvest to 45%conversion losses. However, each utilization option has its own optimal harvest date, determined by biomass yield, biomass quality, and cutting tolerance. By applying an autumn green harvest for anaerobic digestion and a delayed harvest for combustion, the conversion-related energy loss was reduced to an average of 18%. This clearly shows that the delayed harvest required tomaintain biomass quality for combustion is accompanied by high energy losses through yield reduction over winter. The pre-winter harvest applied in the biogas utilization pathway avoids these yield losses and largely compensates for the conversion-related energy losses of anaerobic digestion.
Sustainability constraints in determining European bioenergy potential : A review of existing studies and steps forward
Kluts, Ingeborg ; Wicke, Birka ; Leemans, Rik ; Faaij, André - \ 2017
Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 69 (2017). - ISSN 1364-0321 - p. 719 - 734.
Bioenergy - Biomass - Europe - Land use - Potential - Review

This paper reviews European land and bioenergy potential studies to 1) identify shortcomings related to how they account for agricultural intensification and its associated environmental effects, and sustainability constraints, and 2) provide suggestions on how these shortcomings can be improved in future assessments. The key shortcomings are: The environmental impacts of intensification are nearly always ignored in the reviewed studies, while these impacts should be accounted for if intensification is required to make land available for energy cropping. Future productivity developments of crops and livestock, and the associated land-use and environmental effects are currently limited to conventional intensification measures whereby the proportion between inputs and outputs is fixed. Sustainable intensification measures, which increase land productivity with similar or lower inputs, are ignored in the reviewed studies. Livestock productivity developments, livestock specific intensification measures and their environmental effects are poorly or not at all covered in the reviewed studies. Most studies neglect sustainability constraints other than GHG emissions in the selection of energy crops. This includes limitations to rainfed energy crop cultivation, a minimum number of crop species, the structural diversity within cropping areas and the integration of energy crops in existing or new crop rotations, while simultaneously considering the effects on subsequent crops. These shortcomings suggest that the identification of sustainable pathways for European bioenergy production requires a more integrative approach combining land demand for food, feed and energy crop production, including different intensification pathways, and the consequent direct and indirect environmental impacts. A better inclusion of management practices into such approach will improve the assessment of intensification, its environmental consequences and the sustainable bioenergy potential from agricultural feedstocks.

Community structure of under-ice fauna in relation to winter sea-ice habitat properties from the Weddell Sea
David, Carmen ; Schaafsma, F.L. ; Franeker, J.A. van; Lange, Benjamin ; Brandt, A. ; Flores, H. - \ 2017
Polar Biology 40 (2017)2. - ISSN 0722-4060 - p. 247 - 261.
Southern Ocean - Sea ice - Antarctic krill - euphausia-superba - Stephos longipes - Ctenocalanus - Zooplankton - Biomass - Diversity
Climate change-related alterations of Antarctic sea-ice habitats will significantly impact the interaction of ice-associated organisms with the environment, with repercussions on ecosystem functioning. The nature of this interaction is poorly understood, particularly during the critical period of winter–spring transition. To investigate the role of sea-ice and underlying water-column properties in structuring under-ice communities during late winter/early spring, we used a Surface and Under Ice Trawl to sample animals and environmental properties in the upper 2-m layer under the sea ice in the northern Weddell Sea from August to October 2013. The area of investigation was largely homogeneous in terms of hydrography and sea-ice coverage. We hypothesised that this apparent homogeneity in the physical regime was mirrored in the structure of the under-ice community. The under-ice community was numerically dominated by the copepods Stephos longipes, Ctenocalanus spp. and Calanus propinquus (altogether 67 %), and furcilia larvae of Antarctic krill Euphausia superba (30 %). In spite of the apparent homogeneity of the environment, abundance and biomass distributions at our sampling stations indicated the presence of three community types, following a geographical gradient in the investigation area: (1) high biomass, krill-dominated in the west, (2) high abundance, copepod-dominated in the east, and (3) low abundance, low biomass at the ice edge. Combined analysis with environmental data indicated that under-ice community structure was correlated with sea-ice coverage, chlorophyll a concentration, and bottom depth. The heterogeneity of the Antarctic under-ice community was probably also driven by other factors, such as advection, sea-ice drift, and seasonal progression. The response of under-ice communities to changing sea-ice habitats may thus considerably vary seasonally and regionally
Creating a regional MODIS satellite-driven net primary production dataset for european forests
Neumann, Mathias ; Moreno, Adam ; Thurnher, Christopher ; Mues, Volker ; Härkönen, Sanna ; Mura, Matteo ; Bouriaud, Olivier ; Lang, Mait ; Cardellini, Giuseppe ; Thivolle-Cazat, Alain ; Bronisz, Karol ; Merganic, Jan ; Alberdi, Iciar ; Astrup, Rasmus ; Mohren, Frits ; Zhao, Maosheng ; Hasenauer, Hubert - \ 2016
Remote Sensing 8 (2016)7. - ISSN 2072-4292 - 18 p.
Bioeconomy - Biomass - Carbon - Climate - Downscaling - Forest inventory - Increment - MOD17 - NFI - NPP

Net primary production (NPP) is an important ecological metric for studying forest ecosystems and their carbon sequestration, for assessing the potential supply of food or timber and quantifying the impacts of climate change on ecosystems. The global MODIS NPP dataset using the MOD17 algorithm provides valuable information for monitoring NPP at 1-km resolution. Since coarse-resolution global climate data are used, the global dataset may contain uncertainties for Europe. We used a 1-km daily gridded European climate data set with the MOD17 algorithm to create the regional NPP dataset MODIS EURO. For evaluation of this new dataset, we compare MODIS EURO with terrestrial driven NPP from analyzing and harmonizing forest inventory data (NFI) from 196,434 plots in 12 European countries as well as the global MODIS NPP dataset for the years 2000 to 2012. Comparing these three NPP datasets, we found that the global MODIS NPP dataset differs from NFI NPP by 26%, while MODIS EURO only differs by 7%. MODIS EURO also agrees with NFI NPP across scales (from continental, regional to country) and gradients (elevation, location, tree age, dominant species, etc.). The agreement is particularly good for elevation, dominant species or tree height. This suggests that using improved climate data allows the MOD17 algorithm to provide realistic NPP estimates for Europe. Local discrepancies between MODIS EURO and NFI NPP can be related to differences in stand density due to forest management and the national carbon estimation methods. With this study, we provide a consistent, temporally continuous and spatially explicit productivity dataset for the years 2000 to 2012 on a 1-km resolution, which can be used to assess climate change impacts on ecosystems or the potential biomass supply of the European forests for an increasing bio-based economy. MODIS EURO data are made freely available at

Switchgrass biomass partitioning and growth characteristics under different management practices
Giannoulis, K.D. ; Karyotis, T. ; Sakellariou-Makrantonaki, M. ; Bastiaans, L. ; Struik, P.C. ; Danalatos, N.G. - \ 2016
NJAS Wageningen Journal of Life Sciences 78 (2016). - ISSN 1573-5214 - p. 61 - 67.
Biomass - Growth - Leaf area index - Partitioning - Switchgrass - Yield

Biomass dry matter partitioning and growth characteristics are important selection criteria for energy crops. The objective of the study was to examine the response of switchgrass (cv. Alamo) to irrigation (2 levels: rainfed and irrigated with 250 mm) and N-fertilization (4 levels: 0, 80, 160 and 240 kg N ha−1) under two different soil-climatic conditions for two growing seasons 2011 and 2012. The results demonstrated a significant effect (P <0.05) of irrigation, fertilization and their interaction on crop growth and biomass productivity. Biomass yield ranged from 14 to 27 Mg ha−1 for the calcareous, clay loam to clay, fertile soil (Velestino; Greece) and for the deep, calcareous sandy loam to loam, semi-fertile soil (Palamas; Greece), respectively. In both sites, switchgrass accumulated a high amount of biomass in stems. Dry stem/total biomass ratio was stabilized in the 3rd growing year and it was rather constant throughout the growing period (range 68–71%). The maximum growth rates were similar for both sites with value of 390 kg ha−1 day−1, whereas the highest leaf area index observed was 7.59, indicating that switchgrass has high growth rate independently of the site and its microclimate. Therefore switchgrass should be included in future cropping systems as an important energy crop for solid bio-fuel production.

Allelic differences in a vacuolar invertase affect Arabidopsis growth at early plant development
Coluccio Leskow, Carla ; Kamenetzky, Laura ; Dominguez, Pia Guadalupe ; Díaz Zirpolo, José Antonio ; Obata, Toshihiro ; Costa, Hernán ; Martí, Marcelo ; Taboga, Oscar ; Keurentjes, Joost ; Sulpice, Ronan ; Ishihara, Hirofumi ; Stitt, Mark ; Fernie, Alisdair Robert ; Carrari, Fernando - \ 2016
Journal of Experimental Botany 67 (2016)14. - ISSN 0022-0957 - p. 4091 - 4103.
Arabidopsis - Biomass - Inhibitor - Near isogenic line - Quantitative trait loci - Vacuolar invertase

Improving carbon fixation in order to enhance crop yield is a major goal in plant sciences. By quantitative trait locus (QTL) mapping, it has been demonstrated that a vacuolar invertase (vac-Inv) plays a key role in determining the radical length in Arabidopsis. In this model, variation in vac-Inv activity was detected in a near isogenic line (NIL) population derived from a cross between two divergent accessions: Landsberg erecta (Ler) and Cape Verde Island (CVI), with the CVI allele conferring both higher Inv activity and longer radicles. The aim of the current work is to understand the mechanism(s) underlying this QTL by analyzing structural and functional differences of vac-Inv from both accessions. Relative transcript abundance analyzed by quantitative real-time PCR (qRT-PCR) showed similar expression patterns in both accessions; however, DNA sequence analyses revealed several polymorphisms that lead to changes in the corresponding protein sequence. Moreover, activity assays revealed higher vac-Inv activity in genotypes carrying the CVI allele than in those carrying the Ler allele. Analyses of purified recombinant proteins showed a similar K m for both alleles and a slightly higher V max for that of Ler. Treatment of plant extracts with foaming to release possible interacting Inv inhibitory protein(s) led to a large increase in activity for the Ler allele, but no changes for genotypes carrying the CVI allele. qRT-PCR analyses of two vac-Inv inhibitors in seedlings from parental and NIL genotypes revealed different expression patterns. Taken together, these results demonstrate that the vac-Inv QTL affects root biomass accumulation and also carbon partitioning through a differential regulation of vac-Inv inhibitors at the mRNA level.

A Facile Solid-Phase Route to Renewable Aromatic Chemicals from Biobased Furanics
Thiyagarajan, Shanmugam ; Genuino, H.C. ; Waal, J.C. van der; Jong, Ed de; Weckhuysen, B.M. ; Haveren, Jacco van; Bruijnincx, P.C.A. ; Es, D.S. van - \ 2016
Angewandte Chemie-International Edition 55 (2016)4. - ISSN 1433-7851 - p. 1368 - 1371.
Arenes - Biomass - Cycloaddition - Heterocycles - Zeolites

Renewable aromatics can be conveniently synthesized from furanics by introducing an intermediate hydrogenation step in the Diels-Alder (DA) aromatization route, to effectively block retro-DA activity. Aromatization of the hydrogenated DA adducts requires tandem catalysis, using a metal-based dehydrogenation catalyst and solid acid dehydration catalyst in toluene. Herein it is demonstrated that the hydrogenated DA adducts can instead be conveniently converted into renewable aromatics with up to 80% selectivity in a solid-phase reaction with shorter reaction times using only an acidic zeolite, that is, without solvent or dehydrogenation catalyst. Hydrogenated adducts from diene/dienophile combinations of (methylated) furans with maleic anhydride are efficiently converted into renewable aromatics with this new route. The zeolite H-Y was found to perform the best and can be easily reused after calcination.

Identifying determinants, pressures and trade-offs of crop residue use in mixed smallholder farms in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia
Valbuena Vargas, Diego ; Tui, Sabine Homann Kee ; Erenstein, Olaf ; Teufel, Nils ; Duncan, Alan ; Abdoulaye, Tahirou ; Swain, Braja ; Mekonnen, Kindu ; Germaine, Ibro ; Gérard, Bruno - \ 2015
Agricultural Systems 134 (2015). - ISSN 0308-521X - p. 107 - 118.
Biomass - Conservation agriculture - Crop-livestock farms - Intensification - Intensity - Sustainable intensification

Crop residues (CR) have become a limited resource in mixed crop-livestock farms. As a result of the increasing demand and low availability of alternative resources, CR became an essential resource for household activities, especially for livestock keeping; a major livelihood element of smallholder farmers in the developing world. Farmers' decisions on CR use are determined by farmers' preferences, total crop production, availability of alternative resources and demand for CR. Interaction of these determinants can result in pressures and trade-offs of CR use. Determinants, pressures and trade-offs are shaped by the specific socio-economic and agro-ecological context of these mixed farms. The objective of this paper is to provide a comparative analysis of the determinants of CR use and to examine some options to cope with pressures and trade-offs in 12 study sites across Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. Drawing on socio-economic data at household and village level, we describe how cereal intensification and livestock feed demand influence use, pressures and trade-offs of CR use across study sites, specifically cereal residue. Our results show that in low cereal production and livestock feed demand sites, despite a low demand for CR and availability of alternative biomass, pressures and trade-offs of CR use are common particularly in the dry season. In sites with moderate cereal production, and low-moderate and moderate livestock feed demand, alternative biomass resources are scarce and most residues are fed to livestock or used to cover household needs. Subsequently, pressures and potential trade-offs are stronger. In sites with low cereal production and high livestock feed demand, pressures and trade-offs depend on the availability of better feed resources. Finally, sites with high cereal production and high livestock feed demand have been able to fulfil most of the demand for CR, limiting pressures and trade-offs. These patterns show that agricultural intensification, better management of communal resources and off-farm activities are plausible development pathways to overcome pressures and trade-offs of CR use. Although technologies can largely improve these trends, research and development should revisit past initiatives so as to develop innovative approaches to tackle the well-known problem of low agricultural production in many smallholder mixed systems, creating more sustainable futures.

TanDEM-X data for aboveground biomass retrieval in a tropical peat swamp forest
Schlund, Michael ; Poncet, Felicitas von; Kuntz, Steffen ; Schmullius, Christiane ; Hoekman, D.H. - \ 2015
Remote Sensing of Environment 158 (2015). - ISSN 0034-4257 - p. 255 - 266.
Biomass - Interferometric coherence - REDD+ - TanDEM-X - Tropical forests

Forests play an important role in the global carbon cycle as a carbon sink. Deforestation and degradation of forests lead to carbon emissions, which should be prevented or minimized by protecting forests. Radar remote sensing has proven to be particularly useful to monitor forests especially in the tropics due to weather and daytime independence. Radar data from the TanDEM-X mission provide a potential opportunity to monitor large areas of tropical forests due to the multi-temporal global coverage and the high resolution. Tropical peat swamp forests are difficult to access and thus high effort to conduct field measurements is necessary. Therefore, aboveground biomass was estimated from a limited amount of in-situ measurements of relatively undisturbed peat swamp forest and a LiDAR based canopy height model to achieve a representative amount of biomass estimates for radar analysis. The LiDAR and field measurements resulted in an identical estimate of mean biomass and thus provided a reliable source to correlate with SAR (synthetic aperture radar) features from the TanDEM-X mission and ultimately up-scale the found relation to the entire study site. The relationship of interferometric coherence of the bistatic TanDEM-X data showed a moderate to high correlation with the biomass (R2=0.5) and RMSE of 53t/ha corresponding to a biomass range from 183 to 495t/ha. Thus, it could be used to indicate forest degradation areas, which are characterized by larger opening of the canopy cover and thus lower biomass. The results indicate that interferometric coherence is useful for quantification of aboveground biomass in tropical peat swamp forest. TanDEM-X coherence can at minimum serve as a stratification to assess spatial distribution of qualitative biomass classes in the context of REDD+ monitoring, reporting, and verification schemes and for the identification of forest degradation areas.

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