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The potential use of reed canarygrass (Phalaris arundinacea L.) as a biofuel crop

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The pressures of a growing global economy, along with dwindling energy supplies and environmental concerns, especially climate change, have increased interest in the cultivation of bioenergy crops. Perennial herbaceous grasses can play an important role in this capacity. They contribute a number of desirable attributes to cropping systems such as limiting soil erosion, improving water quality, having lower agricultural chemical and nutrient requirements, and increasing the organic matter content of the soil. In this review the properties of reed canarygrass (Phalaris arundinacea L.), one of the highest-yielding cool-season grasses, are discussed with regard to its potential use as a biofuel. Higher yields of reed canarygrass are attainable since more productive accessions have been identified in breeding programs. Furthermore, biofuel quality may be improved through the selection of genotypes with relatively high cell-wall content. However, the high ash content of reed canarygrass remains a challenge, as does its invasiveness as a weed in certain regions of North America. Strategies that can be employed to lower the ash content of reed canarygrass are considered.

Keywords: Ash content; biofuel; cell-wall constituents; energy ratio; grass pellets; reed canarygrass

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Plant Science Department, McGill University, Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue, Quebec, Canada 2: Department of Plant Sciences, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada

Publication date: January 1, 2009

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