Breeding has transformed wild plant species into modern crops, increasing the allocation of their photosynthetic assimilate into grain, fiber, and other products for human use. Despite progress in increasing the harvest index, much of the biomass of crop plants is not utilized. Potential uses for the
large amounts of agricultural residues that accumulate are animal fodder or bioenergy, though these may not be economically viable without additional efforts such as targeted breeding or improved processing. We characterized leaf and stem tissue from a diverse set of rice genotypes (varieties) grown in
two environments (greenhouse and field) and report bioenergy-related traits across these variables. Among the 16 traits measured, cellulose, hemicelluloses, lignin, ash, total glucose, and glucose yield changed across environments, irrespective of the genotypes. Stem and leaf tissue composition differed for most traits, consistent with their unique functional contributions and suggesting that they are under separate genetic control. Plant variety had the least influence on the measured traits. High glucose yield was associated with high total glucose and hemicelluloses, but low lignin and ash content. Bioenergy yield of greenhouse-grown biomass was higher than field-grown biomass, suggesting that greenhouse studies overestimate bioenergy potential. Nevertheless, glucose yield in the greenhouse predicts glucose yield in the field (ρ=0.85, p<0.01) and could be used to optimize greenhouse (GH) and field breeding trials. Overall, efforts to improve cell wall composition for bioenergy require consideration of production environment, tissue type, and variety.
- environmental variation
- mixed linkage glucan
- saccharification efficiency