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Crop Science Abstract - CROP BREEDING & GENETICS

Alfalfa Leaf Protein and Stem Cell Wall Polysaccharide Yields under Hay and Biomass Management Systems


This article in CS

  1. Vol. 47 No. 4, p. 1407-1415
    Received: Oct 17, 2006

    * Corresponding author(s): JoAnn.Lamb@ars.usda.gov
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  1. JoAnn F. S. Lamb *a,
  2. Hans-Joachim G. Junga,
  3. Craig C. Sheafferb and
  4. Deborah A. Samacc
  1. a USDA-ARS, Plant Science Research Unit and Dep. of Agronomy and Plant Genetics, Univ. of Minnesota, 411 Borlaug Hall, 1991 Upper Buford Cir., St. Paul, MN 55108
    b Dep. of Agronomy and Plant Genetics, Univ. of Minnesota, 411 Borlaug Hall, 1991 Upper Buford Cir., St. Paul, MN 55108
    c USDA-ARS, Plant Science Research Unit and Dep. of Plant Pathology, Univ. of Minnesota, 495 Borlaug Hall, 1991 Buford Cir., St. Paul, MN 55108. This paper is a joint contribution from the Plant Science Research Unit, USDA, Agricultural Research Service, and the Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station. Mention of a proprietary product does not constitute a recommendation or warranty of the product by the USDA-ARS or the University of Minnesota and does not imply approval to the exclusion of other suitable products


Alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) has been proposed as a biofuel feedstock in which the stems would be processed to produce ethanol and the leaves sold separately as a livestock feed. Our objectives were to evaluate the effects of management strategy on leaf crude protein (CP), and stem carbohydrate concentrations and yields of alfalfa germplasms differing in genetic background. Two hay-type and two biomass-type alfalfas were established at 450 plants m−2 and harvested at early bud (hay management system) and at 180 plants m−2 and harvested at green pod (biomass management system) in three environments. The biomass-type alfalfas under the biomass management had lower leaf CP, higher stem cell wall polysaccharide, and higher stem lignin concentrations, comparable leaf CP yield, and 37% greater stem cell wall polysaccharide yields compared to the hay-type alfalfas under the hay management treatment. The impact of altered stem cell wall composition and increased stem dry matter yield of a biomass-type alfalfa under the biomass system compared to a hay-type alfalfa under the hay system increased the theoretical potential ethanol yield by 99%.

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