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20 October 2017 Effects of growth-promoters on the productivity of Arundo donax L. (NileFiber™) as a purpose-grown biofuel feedstock in Nova Scotia
Emily G. Peters, Houman Fei, Yousef A. Papadopoulos, J. Kevin Vessey
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Abstract

Arundo donax L. is a perennial grass species of Mediterranean origin. Its high biomass yield potential in its native climate has contributed to A. donax being an important biofuel feedstock crop. This study investigates the potential of A. donax as a purpose-grown biomass feedstock for advanced biofuel production in Nova Scotia. The effects of nine different growth-promoters (bacterial and fungal species, a seaweed extract, and a lipo-chitooligosaccharide) and two inoculation methods on A. donax biomass productivity were investigated through three experimental trials: one greenhouse and one field trial inoculated by a post-planting application of the supplements around the plant stem (soil drenching) and one greenhouse trial with inoculation by root soaking just prior to planting (2016). The survival of A. donax over the winter was also evaluated over two winter seasons (2014–2015 and 2015–2016). Penicillium bilaiae Chalab. illustrated the most consistent positive effects on biomass productivity across experimental trials and the plants’ higher phosphorus concentrations suggest that P. bilaiae was helping the plant access soil phosphorus. The root soaking inoculation method resulted in more positive effects in measured growth parameters compared with the soil drench method. Despite a very mild winter in one of the 2 yr tested, A. donax did not successfully overwinter in the field in either year. The presence of growth-promoters did not enhance biomass productivity substantially in the field. Moreover, due to its low overwintering survivability, this study suggests that A. donax is not well suited as a biomass feedstock crop in Nova Scotia.

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Emily G. Peters, Houman Fei, Yousef A. Papadopoulos, and J. Kevin Vessey "Effects of growth-promoters on the productivity of Arundo donax L. (NileFiber™) as a purpose-grown biofuel feedstock in Nova Scotia ," Canadian Journal of Plant Science 98(2), 380-394, (20 October 2017). https://doi.org/10.1139/cjps-2016-0413
Received: 22 December 2016; Accepted: 22 September 2017; Published: 20 October 2017
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