Potential of different poplar clones for sugar production
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In a poplar clonal plantation with different species and hybrids, established at 13,333 cuttings ha(-1), biomass production was assessed at the end of the first rotation (3 years) and the potential of the different clones for sugar production was evaluated. The highest biomass production was observed for clones 'AF2' and 'Viriato' (46.5 and 42 t dm ha(-1), respectively). After a mild acid pretreatment and an enzymatic saccharification, the highest sugar digestibility was found for 'Viriato' and 'Unal'. A clear relation between sugar digestibility and xylan removal during pretreatment was observed, while no relation with lignin content was found. Taking into account the results, the highest production of sugars per hectare was estimated for the poplar clone 'Viriato', being 18-48% higher than that achieved with the other clones. Therefore, this clone is a promising candidate to be used as feedstock for sugar production in a forest biorefinery.
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