Cell Wall Composition and Bioenergy Potential of Rice Straw Tissues Are Influenced by Environment, Tissue Type, and Genotype

Paul Tanger, Miguel E. Vega-Sánchez, Margaret Fleming, Kim Tran, Seema Singh, James B. Abrahamson, Courtney E. Jahn, Nicholas Santoro, Elizabeth B. Naredo, Marietta Baraoidan, John Danku, David E Salt, Kenneth L. McNally, Blake A. Simmons, Pamela C. Ronald, Hei Leung, Daniel R. Bush, John K. McKay, Jan E. Leach

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Breeding has transformed wild plant species into modern crops, increasing the allocation of their photosynthetic assimilate into grain, fiber, and other products for human use. Despite progress in increasing the harvest index, much of the biomass of crop plants is not utilized. Potential uses for the large amounts of agricultural residues that accumulate are animal fodder or bioenergy, though these may not be economically viable without additional efforts such as targeted breeding or improved processing. We characterized leaf and stem tissue from a diverse set of rice genotypes (varieties) grown in two environments (greenhouse and field) and report bioenergy-related traits across these variables. Among the 16 traits measured, cellulose, hemicelluloses, lignin, ash, total glucose, and glucose yield changed across environments, irrespective of the genotypes. Stem and leaf tissue composition differed for most traits, consistent with their unique functional contributions and suggesting that they are under separate genetic control. Plant variety had the least influence on the measured traits. High glucose yield was associated with high total glucose and hemicelluloses, but low lignin and ash content. Bioenergy yield of greenhouse-grown biomass was higher than field-grown biomass, suggesting that greenhouse studies overestimate bioenergy potential. Nevertheless, glucose yield in the greenhouse predicts glucose yield in the field (ρ=0.85, p<0.01) and could be used to optimize greenhouse (GH) and field breeding trials. Overall, efforts to improve cell wall composition for bioenergy require consideration of production environment, tissue type, and variety.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1165-1182
Number of pages18
JournalBioEnergy Research
Issue number3
Early online date11 Jan 2015
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2015

Bibliographical note

We thank members of the authors’ labs for technical assistance with sample preparation and Jim ZumBrunnen from the Colorado State University Statistics Department for assistance with statistical analyses. This research was funded with support from Office of Science, Office of Biological and Environmental Research of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE-BER) under Contract No. DE-FG02-08ER64629, International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Linkage grant DRPC2011-42, U.S. Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA-NIFA) award 2008-35504-0485, the Colorado State University Energy Institute, Department of Energy Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center Office of Science Grant DE-FC02-07ER64494, and the Joint BioEnergy Institute supported by DOE-BER under Contract No. DE-AC02-05CH11231 and U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF), Plant Genome Research Program Grant #IOS 0701119.


  • environmental variation
  • mixed linkage glucan
  • saccharification efficiency
  • HRGPs
  • density
  • forage


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