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Open AccessArticle

Vertical Distribution of Structural Components in Corn Stover

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USDA-Agricultural Research Service, North Central Soil Conservation Research Laboratory, 803 Iowa Avenue, Morris, MN 56267, USA
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USDA-Agricultural Research Service, National Laboratory for Agriculture and the Environment, 2110 University Boulevard, Ames, IA 50011, USA
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US-Department of Energy, Idaho National Laboratory, P.O. Box 1625, Idaho Falls, ID 83415-2025, USA
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USDA-Agricultural Research Service, Coastal Plains Research Center, 2611 W. Lucas St., Florence, SC 29501, USA
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USDA-Agricultural Research Service, Northern Great Plains Research Laboratory, P.O. Box 459, Mandan, ND 58554, USA
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USDA-Agricultural Research Service, Agroecosystem Management Research Unit, 117 Keim Hall, Lincoln, NE 68583, USA
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Department of Agronomy, Iowa State University, 2104 Agronomy Hall, Ames, IA 50011, USA
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USDA-Agricultural Research Service, Soil and Water Management Research Unit, 439 Borlaug Hall, 1991 Upper Buford Circle, St. Paul, MN 55108, USA
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Department of Plant and Soil Sciences, Oklahoma State University, 368 Agricultural Hall, Stillwater, OK 74078-6028, USA
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USDA-Agricultural Research Service, 2150 Centre Ave., Bldg. D. Suite 100, Fort Collins, CO 80526, USA
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Department of Soil Science, University of Wisconsin, 1525 Observatory Drive, Madison, WI 53706-1299, USA
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CPESC #651, 105 Meadow Lane, Labadie, MO 63055, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Agriculture 2014, 4(4), 274-287; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture4040274
Received: 26 September 2014 / Revised: 31 October 2014 / Accepted: 10 November 2014 / Published: 17 November 2014
In the United States, corn (Zea mays L.) stover has been targeted for second generation fuel production and other bio-products. Our objective was to characterize sugar and structural composition as a function of vertical distribution of corn stover (leaves and stalk) that was sampled at physiological maturity and about three weeks later from multiple USA locations. A small subset of samples was assessed for thermochemical composition. Concentrations of lignin, glucan, and xylan were about 10% greater at grain harvest than at physiological maturity, but harvestable biomass was about 25% less due to stalk breakage. Gross heating density above the ear averaged 16.3 ± 0.40 MJ kg−1, but with an alkalinity measure of 0.83 g MJ−1, slagging is likely to occur during gasification. Assuming a stover harvest height of 10 cm, the estimated ethanol yield would be >2500 L ha−1, but it would be only 1000 L ha−1 if stover harvest was restricted to the material from above the primary ear. Vertical composition of corn stover is relatively uniform; thus, decision on cutting height may be driven by agronomic, economic and environmental considerations. View Full-Text
Keywords: lignocellulosic biomass; theoretical ethanol yield; soil organic carbon; sustainable; bioenergy; second generation feedstock lignocellulosic biomass; theoretical ethanol yield; soil organic carbon; sustainable; bioenergy; second generation feedstock
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Johnson, J.M.F.; Karlen, D.L.; Gresham, G.L.; Cantrell, K.B.; Archer, D.W.; Wienhold, B.J.; Varvel, G.E.; Laird, D.A.; Baker, J.; Ochsner, T.E.; Novak, J.M.; Halvorson, A.D.; Arriaga, F.; Lightle, D.T.; Hoover, A.; Emerson, R.; Barbour, N.W. Vertical Distribution of Structural Components in Corn Stover. Agriculture 2014, 4, 274-287.

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