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POTENTIAL PRODUCTIVITY OF C4 CORD-GRASSES AND GALINGALE FOR LOW INPUT BIOMASS PRODUCTION IN EUROPE.

Objective

THIS PROJECT EXAMINES THE POTENTIAL OF 3 PERENNIAL C4 SPECIES FOR LOW INPUT BIOMASS PRODUCTION ON 4 CONTRASTING SOIL TYPES IN E.ENGLAND AND IN IRELAND. THE PROJECT IS COLLABORATIVE WITH DR M.B. JONES AND S.F. MCNALLY AT TRINITY COLLEGE, DUBLIN, WITH ESSEX BEING RESPONSABLE FOR THE TWO SITES IN E.ENGLAND AND APPLICATION OF PHOTOSYNTHETIC PROBES IN SCREENING FOR BIOMASS PRODUCTION POTENTIAL.

DURING THE YEAR 1300 PLANTS EACH OF SPARTINA CYNOSUROIDES, SPARTINA PECTINA AND CYPERUS LONGUS WERE USED TO PLANT THE 4 SITES. EACH SITE WAS FENCED, STRIPPED OF EXISTING VEGETATION AND SURFACE CULTIVATED. SOIL SAMPLES WERE TAKEN AND ANALYSED AND N,P AND K, AND DEFICIENCIES RECTIFIED. SITES WERE DIVIDED INTO 24 PLOTS AND THE 4 SPECIES AND 2 FERTILIZER TREATMENTS ALLOCATED BY RANDOMIZED BLOCK DESIGN. SIX PLOTS IN EACH SITE WERE SOWN TO LOLIUM PERENNE (CV.S.23) PROVIDING A C3 SPECIES FOR COMPARISON. PLANT SURVIVAL, AND TILLERING HAS BEEN MONITORED. SWARDS HAVE BEEN SUCCESSFULLY ESTABLISHED ON ALL PLOTS AT BOTH SITES,SURVIVORSHIP FROM MAY TO NO NOVEMBER WAS ABOUT 98%. BY OCTOBER 1986, THE MEAN HEIGHTS WERE APPROXIMATELY 1.4 M, 0.9 M AND 0.5 M FOR S.PECTINATA S.CYNOSUROIDES AND C.LONGUS RESPECTIVELY. THE PLOTS ARE THEREFORE READY FOR TRIAL HARVESTING AS PER OUR ORIGINAL WORK-PLAN, AND PLOTS OF S.CYNOSUROIDES HAVE BEEN ESTABLISHED 1 YEAR AHEAD OF SCHEDULE. WEED CONTROL WAS ACHIEVED BY SPRAYING BETWEEN PLOTS WITH GRAMOXONE AND BY CULTIVATION. CHLOROPHYLL FLUORESCENCE, A SENSITIVE PROBE OF PHOTOSYNTHETICALLY ACTING HERBICIDES HAS SHOWN ALL THREE SPECIES TO BE ATRAZINE RESISTANT, THIS WILL THEREFORE BE USED AS A SELECTIVE HERBICIDE NEXT YEAR. WE HAVE MONITORED SEED YIELDS IN OUR TRIAL SITES AND ARE NOW USING THE HARVESTED SEED TO ESTABLISH OPTIMUM CONDITIONS FOR GERMINATION AND STORAGE. A CLONE THE PERENNIAL RELATIVE OF MAIZE, ZEA DIPLOPERENNIS HAS BEEN OBTAINED AND IS NOW BEING PROPAGATED. THESE PLANTS WILL BE USED TO ESTABLISH FURTHER FIELD TRIALS IN THE SPRING OF 1987.

WORK COMPLETED IN 1986:
FIELD PRODUCTIVITY TRIALS:
- SITES CLEARED, FENCED, CULTIVATED AND FERTILISED
- PLANTS OF THE THREE KEY SPECIES CLONED
- MATERIAL PLANTED AND PLOTS ESTABLISHED
- PLANT SURVIVAL, TILLERING, SPREAD AND SEED YIELD MONITORED
- FURTHER PLOTS LOLIUM PERENNE ESTABLISHED AS CONTROLS
- SEED GERMINATION TRIALS UNDERTAKEN TO ESTABLISH OPTIMAL STORAGE AND GERMINATION CONDITIONS
- PLANTS OF THREE SPECIES AND PLANTS OF ZEA DIPLOPERENNIS CLONED FOR TO EXTEND TRIALS IN 1987 AND PHOTOSYNTHETIC SCREENING.

NATURAL STANDS:
- SITE IDENTIFIED AND PREPARATIONS MADE FOR WINTER HARVEST

IN VIVO MEASUREMENT OF PHOTOSYNTHESIS (SCREEN FOR BIOMASS POTENTIAL):
- PRELIMINARY TRIALS OF TECHNIQUES COMPLETED
- CHLOROPHYLL FLUORESCENCE USED TO IDENTIFY RESISTANCE IN TRIAL SPECIES TO PHOTOSYNTHETICALLY ACTING HERBICIDES
- TRIALS ON LOW TEMPERATURE TOLERANCE OF LINES AND SPECIES OF THE POTENTIAL BIOMASS CROPS UNDER CONSIDERATION.

Funding Scheme

CSC - Cost-sharing contracts

Coordinator

University of Essex
Address
Wivenhoe Park
CO4 3SQ Colchester
United Kingdom

Participants (1)

UNIVERSITY OF DUBLIN
Ireland
Address

Trinity College