Nitrogen Fertilizer and Panicle Removal in Sweet Sorghum Production: Effect on Biomass, Juice Yield and Soluble Sugar Content

DOI: 10.4236/jsbs.2017.71002   PDF   HTML   XML   1,531 Downloads   2,313 Views   Citations


Alternative and renewable bio-based energy sources are gaining prominence worldwide. Sweet sorghum is currently being evaluated throughout the world because its stem juices are rich in sugars that can be directly fermented to ethanol. In this two-year study, sweet sorghum varieties; Dale, Theis, Topper 76-6, and M81E (Obtained from Mississippi State University Experiment Station, MS) and CHR-SW8 (Obtained from Chromatin Inc., IL) were used. Nitrogen (N) fertilizer rates of 0, 40, 80 or 120 kg·N·ha-1 were applied to experimental units. The experiment was a randomized complete block design with treatments in a split-split plot arrangement with three replications. Nitrogen rate was the main plot, cultivar as sub-plot, and panicle removal as sub-plot. Results showed that N application increased fresh stem yield, juice volume, but had minimal effect on juice soluble sugar concentration. Compared to controls, application of ≥40 kg·N·ha-1 increased fresh yield and juice by >60% and 10%, respectively. There were also variety differences in harvested fresh biomass, juice volume and oBrix, and soluble sugar content. Dale and Theis consistently showed lower sucrose compared to other varieties over the two years. Panicle removal during early reproductive phase increased oBrix, sucrose and total sugar content in all varieties. Across the two years of study, panicle removal increased oBrix by more than 10%, sucrose and total sugar increased by more than 20%. Selection of varieties that produce high juice volume with high sugar content and strategies to inhibit seed formation may result in improved juice quality.

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Kering, M. , Temu, V. and Rutto, L. (2017) Nitrogen Fertilizer and Panicle Removal in Sweet Sorghum Production: Effect on Biomass, Juice Yield and Soluble Sugar Content. Journal of Sustainable Bioenergy Systems, 7, 14-26. doi: 10.4236/jsbs.2017.71002.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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