Journal article Open Access

Long-Term Productivity of Thirteen Lowland and Upland Switchgrass Ecotypes in the Mediterranean Region

E. Alexopoulou; F. Zanetti; E. G. Papazoglou; K. Iordanoglou; A. Monti


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        <foaf:name>F. Zanetti</foaf:name>
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    <dct:title>Long-Term Productivity of Thirteen Lowland and Upland Switchgrass Ecotypes in the Mediterranean Region</dct:title>
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    <dcat:keyword>perennial grass;</dcat:keyword>
    <dcat:keyword>biomass yield</dcat:keyword>
    <dcat:keyword>plant height</dcat:keyword>
    <dcat:keyword>tiller density</dcat:keyword>
    <dcat:keyword>advanced biofuels</dcat:keyword>
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    <dct:description>&lt;p&gt;Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.) has been identified in the USA as an ideal biomass crop,&amp;nbsp;in relation to its wide environmental suitability, mainly linked to the availability of both upland and&amp;nbsp;lowland ecotypes, allowing the possibility of growing this species in most of the North American&amp;nbsp;region. Switchgrass is conventionally grown for forage, but more recently, it has been considered&lt;br&gt; as a model biofuel crop. Early European studies on switchgrass as a bioenergy crop started in the&amp;nbsp;late 1990s, when a multi-location field trial was established in Greece (Aliartos) and Italy (Ozzano)&amp;nbsp;to compare the productivity of 13 switchgrass genotypes, including upland (Carthage, Blackwell,&amp;nbsp;Caddo, CIR, Forestburg, SU 94-1, Summer) and lowland (Alamo, Kanlow, Pangburn, SL 93-2, SL 93-3,&lt;br&gt; SL94-1) genotypes. The scope was to identify the most suitable ecotype within each environment and,&amp;nbsp;possibly, the best performing variety. The trials lasted 17 years (1998&amp;ndash;2014) in Greece and 13 years&amp;nbsp;(1998&amp;ndash;2010) in Italy. While in Italy the trial was rainfed and unfertilized, in Greece, where the soil was&amp;nbsp;marginal, drip irrigation was always applied, and the plots were fertilized regularly. The biomass&amp;nbsp;yields in Greece, as averages across the 17 years, were similar for the lowland and upland varieties&lt;br&gt; (11.5 vs. 11.1 Mg ha􀀀1, respectively), while in Italy, as averages across the 13 years, the di erences&amp;nbsp;were relevant: 15.4 vs. 11.3 Mg ha􀀀1 for lowland and upland, respectively. Alamo (lowland) was the&amp;nbsp;most productive variety, both in Greece and Italy, with average annual yields of 12.7 and 16.6 Mg ha&lt;sup&gt;-1&lt;/sup&gt;,&amp;nbsp;respectively; CIR in Greece (10.1 Mg ha􀀀1) and Forestburg in Italy (9.1 Mg ha􀀀1) (both upland) were&amp;nbsp;the least productive genotypes. The present results demonstrate the good suitability of switchgrass&amp;nbsp;as biomass crop for the Mediterranean climate. Despite the very marginal soil (i.e., very shallow&amp;nbsp;and with a sandy texture) in the Greek trial, the application of regular fertilization and irrigation&amp;nbsp;produced biomass yields above 11 Mg ha&lt;sup&gt;1&lt;/sup&gt; (grand mean) in the present 17-year-long study.&lt;/p&gt;</dct:description>
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    <dct:title>Marginal lands for Growing Industrial Crops: Turning a burden into an opportunity</dct:title>
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