Variation in canopy duration in the perennial biofuel crop Miscanthus reveals complex associations with yield: Canopy duration and yield in Miscanthus

Paul R. H. Robson, Kerrie Farrar, Alan P. Gay, Elaine F. Jensen, John C. Clifton-Brown, Iain S. Donnison

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Citations (SciVal)

Abstract

Energy crops can provide a sustainable source of power and fuels, and mitigate the negative effects of CO2 emissions associated with fossil fuel use. Miscanthus is a perennial C4 energy crop capable of producing large biomass yields whilst requiring low levels of input. Miscanthus is largely unimproved and therefore there could be significant opportunities to increase yield. Further increases in yield will improve the economics, energy balance and carbon mitigation of the crop as well as reducing land-take. One strategy to increase yield in Miscanthus is to maximise the light captured through an extension of canopy duration. In this study canopy duration was compared among a diverse collection of 244 Miscanthus genotypes. Canopy duration was determined by calculating the number of days between canopy establishment and senescence. Yield was positively correlated with canopy duration. Earlier establishment and later senescence were also both separately correlated with higher yield. However although genotypes with short canopy durations were low yielding not all genotypes with long canopy durations were high yielding. Differences of yield between genotypes with long canopy durations were associated with variation in stem and leaf traits. We investigated different methodologies to assess canopy duration traits including visual assessment, image analysis, light interception and different trait thresholds. The highest correlation coefficients were associated with later assessments of traits and the use of quantum sensors for canopy establishment. A model for trait optimisation to enable yield improvement in Miscanthus and other bioenergy crops is discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2373-2383
JournalJournal of Experimental Biology
Volume64
Issue number8
Early online date18 Apr 2013
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2013

Keywords

  • Bioenergy
  • Canopy Duration
  • Miscanthus
  • Yield
  • Phenotype
  • Trait

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