News International Sugar Journal

Cost effective sampling of grasses to assess cellulosic biofuel yields [Registered]

USDA-ARS researchers have developed an inexpensive sampling system to grade quality of perennial grasses for potential ethanol production at the biorefinery’s loading dock. The researchers, led by Ken Vogel, have developed near-infrared sensing (NIRS) to measure 20 components in switchgrass biomass that determine its potential value to biorefiners. These components include cell wall sugars, soluble sugars and lignin. With this information, 13 traits can be determined, including the efficiency of the conversion of sugars to ethanol. This is the first use of NIRS to predict maximum and actual ethanol yields of grasses. In the cane sugar industry NIRS is widely…

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