Seasonal dynamics of nutrient accumulation and partitioning in the perennial C4-grasses miscanthus x Giganteus and Spartina cynosuroides

C. V. Beale, S. P. Long

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Seasonal variation in the accumulation and partitioning of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium was determined in both the above-ground and below-ground dry matter of the potential energy crops Miscanthus x giganteus and Spartina cynosuroides. It is desirable from both economic and environmental perspectives that such crops should exhibit a high nutrient use efficiency and minimal nutrient losses to the environment. The N, P and K concentrations in the above-ground dry matter, at final harvest, were 5.0, 0.6 and 12.0 mg g-1 respectively in M. x giganteus and 3.0. 0.4 and 1.0 mg g-1 in S. cynosuroides. Both species exhibited the high N-use efficiency expected of C4 plants. Nitrate leaching was negligible. At the end of the growing season nutrients were translocated to the rhizomes and, in the ease of M. x giganteus, recycled to the soil in shed leaves. Consequently the nutrient content of the crop offtake was low. It was calculated that the N, P and K requirements of a M. x giganteus crop producing an above-ground harvest of 1.5 kg m-2 dry matter would be 9.2, 1.3 and 20.4 g m-2 respectively. The corresponding nutrient requirements for S. cynosuroides would be 7.5. 1.7 and 8.8 g m-2. Except for the K requirement of M. x giganteus. the N, P and K demands of both species were less than those of typical graminaceous crops, including maize.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)419-428
Number of pages10
JournalBiomass and Bioenergy
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jan 1 1997
Externally publishedYes


  • C-grass
  • Miscanthus x giganteus
  • Nitrogen
  • Phosphorus
  • Potassium
  • Spartina cynosuroides

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Forestry
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Waste Management and Disposal


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