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South African Sugarcane Research Institute Mount Edgecombe, KwaZulu-Natal CAPTURING THE FULL POTENTIAL OF THE SUGARCANE PLANT Frikkie Botha July 2006.

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Presentation on theme: "South African Sugarcane Research Institute Mount Edgecombe, KwaZulu-Natal CAPTURING THE FULL POTENTIAL OF THE SUGARCANE PLANT Frikkie Botha July 2006."— Presentation transcript:

1 South African Sugarcane Research Institute Mount Edgecombe, KwaZulu-Natal CAPTURING THE FULL POTENTIAL OF THE SUGARCANE PLANT Frikkie Botha July 2006

2 South African Sugarcane Research Institute Mount Edgecombe, KwaZulu-Natal Introduction Sugarcane today Why sugarcane in the future Sugarcane as Biomass Producer Other products/uses GM Sugarcane Conclusion

3 South African Sugarcane Research Institute Mount Edgecombe, KwaZulu-Natal Modern Sugarcane Hybrid between Saccharum officinarum (Noble cane) and S. spontaneum (wild cane) Developed in 1890’s in response to viral infestation of commercial plantings of Noble cane

4 South African Sugarcane Research Institute Mount Edgecombe, KwaZulu-Natal S.robustum S.spontaneum S.officinarum S.barberi S.sinense Modern sugarcane Phylogenetic relationships

5 South African Sugarcane Research Institute Mount Edgecombe, KwaZulu-Natal Sugarcane’s Green Revolution

6 South African Sugarcane Research Institute Mount Edgecombe, KwaZulu-Natal (From Moore 2005) Historic Yield Data: Sugarcane

7 South African Sugarcane Research Institute Mount Edgecombe, KwaZulu-Natal Sucrose Production from Cane

8 South African Sugarcane Research Institute Mount Edgecombe, KwaZulu-Natal Progress - Sucrose content

9 South African Sugarcane Research Institute Mount Edgecombe, KwaZulu-Natal Sugarcane yields are among the highest of any crop tons sucrose hectare -1 year tons cane hectare -1 year -1 (Ham 1970) Total dry mass record yields from commercial fields are: 86 tons dry weight hectare -1 year -1 (Hawaii) 80 tons dry weight hectare -1 year -1 (Australia) Sugarcane Yields

10 South African Sugarcane Research Institute Mount Edgecombe, KwaZulu-Natal The sugarcanes are genetically complex hybrids bearing enormous potential for increased biomass and multiple-product yields They have been bred and optimised for one purpose only namely sucrose production Little if any progress in sucrose content and gains primarily in sucrose per area Sucrose accumulation in probably a major obstacle for full realisation of biomass production potential Sugarcane today

11 South African Sugarcane Research Institute Mount Edgecombe, KwaZulu-Natal Very high photosynthetic efficiency (biomass = photosynthesis – respiration) Highest water use efficiency of any know crop Plant packed with valuable chemicals Well developed GM technology Why Sugarcane in future

12 South African Sugarcane Research Institute Mount Edgecombe, KwaZulu-Natal Plant SpeciesKg water/kg mass Alfalfa850 Soybeans650 Oats580 Potatoes580 Wheat550 Sugar beet380 Maize350 Sorghum300 Water use efficiency Sugarcane260

13 South African Sugarcane Research Institute Mount Edgecombe, KwaZulu-Natal C 4 =22(55 max) g/m 2 /d C 3 =13 g/m 2 /d Photosynthetic efficiency

14 South African Sugarcane Research Institute Mount Edgecombe, KwaZulu-Natal RUE = 1.75g mJ -1 (Muchow et al 1994) g MJ -1 (Sinclair & Horie 1989) 280 tons hectare -1 year -1 Record crop of 86 tons hectare -1 year -1 is only 40% of theoretical maximum What is possible?

15 South African Sugarcane Research Institute Mount Edgecombe, KwaZulu-Natal Biomass Prod = PAR●RUE ●Stress ●( 1-exp(-LAI)) ATP NADPH Light Reactions H2OH2O O2O2 Carbon Reactions CO 2 CH 2 O Carbon partitioning Product CO 2 Biomass Production

16 South African Sugarcane Research Institute Mount Edgecombe, KwaZulu-Natal Sugarcane as biomass or ‘Energy- cane’ Detached leaves 15-18% Moisture Attached Trash 18-30% Moisture Millable stem 70-75% Moisture Green tops 80-90% Moisture

17 South African Sugarcane Research Institute Mount Edgecombe, KwaZulu-Natal Management Emphasis Green Yield (tons/hectare/Year) Sugar54.6 Sugar80.3 Biomass205.1 Varieties = NCo310, PR980 and PR Management Practice and Yield

18 South African Sugarcane Research Institute Mount Edgecombe, KwaZulu-Natal Tons/hectare Months = fermentables = biomass Biomass and soluble fermentables Sucrose Biomass

19 South African Sugarcane Research Institute Mount Edgecombe, KwaZulu-Natal ComponentBiomass (tons/hec/yr)Energy (mmBTU/hec/yr) SugarcaneE. caneSugarcaneE. cane Total Sugars Lignocellulose Total Farming for Lignocellulose SpeciesCross& Bevan Cellulose Alpha Cellulose LigninPentosans % Sugarcane Softwood Hardwood

20 South African Sugarcane Research Institute Mount Edgecombe, KwaZulu-Natal The plant breeders role to support an “energy- cane’business will require improvements for: Higher tonneages of biomass i.e. more lignocellulose and fermentable solids High tonnages that are supportive of industrial conversion An ‘Energy- cane’ business Long term Short to medium term Major changes in production management Whole cane plant is the biomass resource The 70% non-sucrose becomes the main focus

21 South African Sugarcane Research Institute Mount Edgecombe, KwaZulu-Natal Arthritis Bedsores Boils Cancer Colds Cough Diarrhoea Dysentery Eyes Fever Hiccups Inflammation Laryngitis Opacity Skin Sores Sore throat Spleen Tumours Wounds Gonorrhoea Vaginal discharges Abdominal tumours It is a folk remedy for: The sugarcanes do not consist of only fiber and sucrose but can be a source of multiple products A Plant Packed with Chemicals

22 South African Sugarcane Research Institute Mount Edgecombe, KwaZulu-Natal GM Technology established Several industries and research organisations have GM technologies in place GM field trials in progress or have been completed Many GM lines in laboratory evaluation Traits under investigation: Herbicide resistance Insect resistance Disease resistance Sucrose levels Pentan levels Polymers

23 South African Sugarcane Research Institute Mount Edgecombe, KwaZulu-Natal 1.Texas A&M - Snowdrop lectin - proCane (collagen) 3. IPB - Sugar polymers 2. BSES - biodegradable plastic Alternative Products DP3 Sucrose Polymer control Clone 1 Clone

24 South African Sugarcane Research Institute Mount Edgecombe, KwaZulu-Natal Sugar levels in GM cane

25 South African Sugarcane Research Institute Mount Edgecombe, KwaZulu-Natal It is sometimes hard to think of sugarcane as a plant that does well other things than accumulating sugar. It is even more difficult to realise that sugar accumulation is not even the thing that it does best. Above all else, sugarcane is an instrument of growth, a producer of biomass unequalled by any other plant when managed as a growth commodity Packed packed with useful chemicals and more can be added Conclusions

26 South African Sugarcane Research Institute Mount Edgecombe, KwaZulu-Natal For developing nations historically bound together with sugarcane, there is still time for constructive and meaningful change. There is time to prepare its place as a future sugar crop, a domestic energy crop, and a multiple- products commodity in service to all future generations. Alex G. Alexander, 1985 Conclusions (cont)


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