Lemongrass Productivity, Oil Content, and Composition as a Function of Nitrogen, Sulfur, and Harvest Time
- Valtcho D. Zheljazkov *a,
- Charles L. Cantrellb,
- Tess Astatkiec and
- Jeffery B. Cannonb
- a Mississippi State University, North Mississippi Research and Extension Center, 5421 Highway 145 South, Verona, MS 38879. Current address: University of Wyoming, Sheridan Research and Extension Center, 663 Wyarno Road, Sheridan WY 82801
b Natural Products Utilization Research Unit, Agricultural Research Service, United States Department of Agriculture, P.O. Box 8048, University, MS 38677
c Department of Engineering, Nova Scotia Agricultural College, P.O. Box 550, Truro, NS, B2N 5E3, Canada
Lemongrass [Cymbopogon flexuosus (Steud.) Wats, (syn. Andropogon nardus var. flexuosus Hack; A. flexuosus Nees)] is one of the most widely grown essential oil plants in the world. Field experiments were conducted at Verona and Poplarville, MS, to evaluate the effects of N (0, 40, 80, and 160 kg N/ha) and S (0, 30, 60, and 90 kg S/ha) on lemongrass biomass productivity, essential oil content, yield, and oil composition. Overall, the essential oil content varied within 0.35 to 0.6% of the dried biomass. The major constituents were geranial (25–53%), neral (20–45%), caryophyllene oxide (1.3–7.2%), and t-caryophyllene (0.3–2.2%). Biomass yields at Verona ranged from 9486 to 19,375 kg/ha, while oil yields ranged from 30 to 139 kg/ha. Overall, dry weight yields increased with the application of 80 kg N/ha relative to the 0 kg N/ha and with 160 kg of N/ha relative to the 0 and 40 kg N/ha treatments. At Poplarville, biomass yields varied from 8036 to 12,593 kg/ha, while oil yields ranged from 23.5 to 89.5 kg/ha. The application of N at 160 kg/ha at Poplarville increased dry weight yields relative to the N at 0 or 40 kg/ha rates, irrespective of the rate used for S. At Verona, within each S application rate, biomass yields were highest in Harvest 2, lower in Harvest 1, and the lowest in Harvest 3 (regrowth). The combined biomass yields of Harvest 1 and Harvest 3 would be lower, but oil yields would be higher compared to Harvest 2 (single-harvest system). Lemongrass can be grown as an annual essential oil crop in the southeastern United States, with a potential for dual utilization: essential oil and lignocellulosic material for ethanol production.Please view the pdf by using the Full Text (PDF) link under 'View' to the left.
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