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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Postharvest Quality and Processing of Sugarcane and Sweet Sorghum for Sugar and Ethanol Production

Location: Commodity Utilization Research

Title: Brown and green sugarcane leaves as potential biomass: How they deteriorate under dry and wet storage conditions

Authors
item Eggleston, Gillian
item Klich, Maren
item Antoine, April
item Beltz, Shannon
item Viator, Ryan

Submitted to: Industrial Crops and Products
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: March 23, 2014
Publication Date: April 14, 2014
Citation: Eggleston, G., Klich, M., Antoine, A., Beltz, S., Viator, R. 2014. Brown and green sugarcane leaves as potential biomass: How they deteriorate under dry and wet storage conditions. Industrial Crops and Products. 57:69-81.

Interpretive Summary: There are presently trends to (1) investigate sugarcane leaves as a sustainable biomass feedstock for the production of biofuels and bioproducts and (2) delivery of more leaves to factories for processing with stalks, which have made information on how it deteriorates on storage during dry and wet environmental conditions more important. The worst deterioration for both brown and green leaves occurs when the humidity was highest. Only prolonged deterioration of BL caused a reduction of fiber biomass, and the fiber content of GL usually increased on deterioration because of loss of moisture during storage. Overall, the total microbe populations were highest on watered GL because of higher available nutrients.

Technical Abstract: The current trends to (1) investigate sugarcane leaves as a sustainable biomass feedstock for the production of biofuels and bioproducts and (2) delivery of more leaves to factories for processing with stalks, have made information on how it deteriorates on storage during dry and wet environmental conditions more important. Brown, dry (BL) and green leaves (GL) were stripped from hand-cut whole-stalks from Louisiana (LA) sugarcane variety LCP 85-384 in two consecutive years. In the first year, BL and GL were separately allowed to deteriorate in a simulated field canopy shade study. One set was watered across 14 days to simulate rain, and the other set was not watered (dry control). The 14 day sampling period was repeated three times across the LA harvest season (Oct to Dec) to cover varying environmental conditions. In the second year, the simulated study was repeated but over a prolonged 28 day period (17 Nov -15 Dec) and fresh and deteriorated leaves were also collected from a grower’s LCP 85-384 field and analyzed for comparison. Generally, the worst deterioration for both BL and GL occurred in the watered samples, and when the humidity was highest. On deterioration, more soluble impurities were extracted from GL than BL. Only prolonged deterioration of BL caused a reduction of fiber biomass, and the fiber content of GL usually increased on deterioration because of loss of moisture during storage. The nutrient sucrose was often, but not always, preferentially utilized over glucose and fructose. After prolonged deterioration, only glucose and fructose were detected in GL and none in BL. Results from the grower’s field were, generally, more extreme than from the simulated experiments. Leaf moisture was always higher in the deteriorated than non-deteriorated field BL because its shredded state created more surface area to absorb water; this also allowed for more Leuconostoc mesenteroides bacteria to grow and form dextran and mannitol. Overall, the total microbe populations were highest on watered GL because of higher available nutrients.

Last Modified: 9/23/2014
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