Contributions of environment and genotype to variation in shrub willow biomass composition

Eric S. Fabio, Timothy A. Volk, Raymond O. Miller, Michelle J. Serapiglia, Armen R. Kemanian, Felipe Montes, Yulia A. Kuzovkina, Gary J. Kling, Lawrence B. Smart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Yield improvement of woody bioenergy crops has been the major focus of breeding programs, but biomass quality is also important for conversion to biofuels. Using high-resolution thermogravimetric analysis, the composition of biomass samples from two shrub willow (Salix spp.) yield trial networks representing two distinct datasets were examined. Dataset 1 consisted of 12 yield trials containing 10 genotypes that mainly represented early cultivars from the US breeding program. Dataset 2 consisted of five trial locations containing 19 genotypes from later breeding efforts. Variation in ash and hemicellulose content were largely controlled by genetic factors, while cellulose and lignin content were heavily influenced by environmental effects. Mean biomass composition traits for dataset 1 were 2.1% ash, 42.4% cellulose, 18.7% hemicellulose and 25.5% lignin. For dataset 2 mean traits were 1.9% ash, 43.2% cellulose, 17.7% hemicellulose and 25.7% lignin. Yield was negatively correlated with lignin content and positively correlated with cellulose content at the level of environment. Elite triploid hybrid cultivars have the potential to produce more cellulose per unit area because of higher yields and/or greater cellulose content. These findings suggest that selection of genotypes for improved yield, as well as selection of growing environment, can improve feedstock quality for biofuel production.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)149-161
Number of pages13
JournalIndustrial Crops and Products
StatePublished - Dec 1 2017


  • Ash
  • Cellulose
  • Lignin
  • Salix
  • Short rotation coppice

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agronomy and Crop Science


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