Research Article

Use of elephant grass for energy production in Campos dos Goytacazes-RJ, Brazil

Abstract

Elephant grass is a tropical forage plant widely distributed throughout Brazil. It was first exclusively used in the livestock sector as cattle feed. The grass is characterized by its high productivity and photosynthetic capacity and is considered as an alternative source of renewable energy. Here, we estimated the general combining ability of the parents and specific combining ability of the hybrids based on morpho-agronomic biomass-quality traits. The experiment was conducted in a randomized block design with 3 replicates. The diallel was composed of 16 hybrids and 2 groups of genitors. In the diallel analysis of variance, we observed a significant difference among treatments. A significant difference was observed among genitors for dry matter production (DMP). For the general combining ability of group 1, the traits leaf blade width, DMP, height, percentage of neutral detergent fiber, percentage of hemicellulose, percentage of lignin, percentage of acid detergent fiber, and percentage of cellulose were significant. For the estimates of general combining ability of DMP, parents Porto Rico 534-B, Vruckwona, Taiwan A-146, and Mercker S. E. A. were 0.4748, 3.2819, 1.1659, and 0.4317. The parents of Mercker S. E. A. and Porto Rico 534-B produced the highest percentage of detergent fiber and percentage of lignin with values of 0.1482 and 0.0856. Thus, parents Vruckwona, Porto Rico 534-B, and Taiwan A-146 are promising for integration into breeding programs. The best hybrid combinations for DMP were 1 x 5, 1 x 8, 2 x 6, 3 x 7, and 4 x 5.

Elephant grass is a tropical forage plant widely distributed throughout Brazil. It was first exclusively used in the livestock sector as cattle feed. The grass is characterized by its high productivity and photosynthetic capacity and is considered as an alternative source of renewable energy. Here, we estimated the general combining ability of the parents and specific combining ability of the hybrids based on morpho-agronomic biomass-quality traits. The experiment was conducted in a randomized block design with 3 replicates. The diallel was composed of 16 hybrids and 2 groups of genitors. In the diallel analysis of variance, we observed a significant difference among treatments. A significant difference was observed among genitors for dry matter production (DMP). For the general combining ability of group 1, the traits leaf blade width, DMP, height, percentage of neutral detergent fiber, percentage of hemicellulose, percentage of lignin, percentage of acid detergent fiber, and percentage of cellulose were significant. For the estimates of general combining ability of DMP, parents Porto Rico 534-B, Vruckwona, Taiwan A-146, and Mercker S. E. A. were 0.4748, 3.2819, 1.1659, and 0.4317. The parents of Mercker S. E. A. and Porto Rico 534-B produced the highest percentage of detergent fiber and percentage of lignin with values of 0.1482 and 0.0856. Thus, parents Vruckwona, Porto Rico 534-B, and Taiwan A-146 are promising for integration into breeding programs. The best hybrid combinations for DMP were 1 x 5, 1 x 8, 2 x 6, 3 x 7, and 4 x 5.