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Biomass Production of Gigantic Grasses Arundo donax and Miscanthus × Giganteus in the Dependence on Plant Multiplication Method

Biomass Production of Gigantic Grasses Arundo donax and Miscanthus × Giganteus in the Dependence... Agriculture (Poľnohospodárstvo), 62, 2016 (2): 43−51 Original paper DOI: 10.1515/agri-2016-0005 BIOMASS PRODUCTION OF GIGANTIC GRASSES ARUNDO DONAX AND MISCANTHUS × GIGANTEUS IN THE DEPENDENCE ON PLANT MULTIPLICATION METHOD MARCELA GUBIŠOVÁ , JOZEF GUBIŠ, ALŽBETA ŽOFAJOVÁ National Agricultural and Food Centre – Research Institute of Plant Production, Piešťany, Slovak Republic GUBIŠOVÁ, M. ‒ GUBIŠ, J. ‒ ŽOFAJOVÁ, A.: Biomass production of gigantic grasses Arundo donax and Miscanthus × giganteus in the dependence on plant multiplication method. Agriculture (Poľnohospodárstvo), vol. 62, 2016, no. 2, p. 43–51. The effect of plant propagation method on growth parameters and the yield of above-ground biomass in two species of gigantic grasses were measured during three growing seasons. Plants were multiplied in explant culture and through traditional methods – by rhizome segments ( Miscanthus × giganteus ) or by stem cuttings ( Arundo donax ). In the case of M. × giganteus , in vitro -multiplied plants produced more shoots with significantly lower diameter, but the diffe - rences in the number of shoots, plant height and the yield of dry biomass were not statistically significant. Different results were observed for A. donax , where in vitro -multiplied plants showed significantly weaker results in all parame - ters, with the exception of the number of shoots in the first measured season. In both the species, there was observed the strong effect of the year. While in M. × giganteus the yield of dry biomass gradually decreased during the measured years, it increased in the case of giant reed. Key words: energy plants, vegetative propagation, in vitro multiplication, rhizomes, stem cuttings Increasing consumption of fossil fuel and the re - to drought and frost. However, a significant disad - quest for biofuels and bioenergy production has led vantage of giant reed is the high moisture content to an increase in the importance of species with high during harvesting (about 50%) and the high ash con - biomass production. In the past decade, growers tent (3.5–5.5%) (Ceotto & Candilo 2010). in Slovakia have shown interest in cultivation of Species from the genus Miscanthus belong to pe- biomass plants due to profitability from the crop. rennial rhizomatous grasses. Within the genus, only Miscanthus × giganteus and Arundo donax belong one clone, Miscanthus × giganteus Greef et Deuter, to the introduced species of family Poaceae, which is considered to be the most valuable for biomass cannot be overcome in biomass production by native production, and is grown commercially (Xue et al. species and are therefore excellent candidates for 2015). M. × giganteus is the natural triploid infertile marginal land utilization. These two plant species hybrid of diploid M. sinensis and tetraploid M. sac- comply with most of the requirements for energy chariflorus (Greef & Deuter 1993; Hodkinson et al. plants, such as perennial character, huge amount of 2002), which was sampled in 1935 and introduced yearly harvested above-ground biomass, low need to Europe from Japan by Danish botanist A. Olson for pesticides and fertilisers, sequestration of nu - (Greef et al. 1997). Miscanthus belongs to C4 plants trients to the underground parts before harvesting, with high photosynthetic and water use efficiency adaptability to different conditions and tolerance (Atkinson 2009). It is considered an attractive and Mgr. Marcela Gubišová, PhD. ( Corresponding author), Ing. Jozef Gubiš, PhD., Ing. Alžbeta Žofajová, PhD., National Agricultural and Food Centre – Research Institute of Plant Production, Bratislavská cesta 122, 921 68 Piešťany, Slovak Republic. E-mail: gubisova@vurv.sk 43 Agriculture (Poľnohospodárstvo), 62, 2016 (2): 43−51 environmentally friendly bioenergy plant with high com/crops/arundo-donax/]. Giant reed is known as production of ligno-cellulose biomass, which usu - a multipurpose plant that is used in paper and pulp ally reaches annual yields ranging from 15 to 40 industry, as a building material, for making musi - tons of dry matter per hectare (Clifton-Brown et al. cal instruments, fishing rods, walking sticks and 2001b). stakes for plants (Pilu et al. 2012). It is also used in A. donax L. is also a perennial rhizomatous Ayurvedic medicine, as an ornamental plant and for grass originated from Asia. Plants are very adapt - phytoremediation of contaminated areas (Alshaal et able to different conditions; they grow in tropical al. 2014). to warm-temperate regions, also on contaminated Both species do not produce viable seeds and or salinized soils (Ceotto & Candilo 2010). Plants can be multiplied by the vegetative methods only. similar to bamboo can grow up to 10 m in height, On the other hand, the absence of seed production and due to its vigorous growth, the species is con - minimizes the risk of potential invasiveness. Even sidered invasive (Pilu et al. 2013). Despite the C3 though these grasses belong to rhizomatous plants, character of photosynthesis, the biomass yield can the rhizome (Figure 1a) propagation method in giant reach up to 78 tons per hectare annually, and due to reed is expensive and impractical (Ceotto & Candilo hollow canes, it is easily processed into chips (Bass 2010). Therefore, considering traditional methods, et al. 2014). Despite its invasiveness, in July 2013, propagation by shoot cuttings offers greater poten - the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency stated tial. Although, for M. × giganteus, traditional propa- that giant reed yields three times as much ethanol gation by rhizome segments (Figure 1b) is still pre - per acre as maize, and qualified this plant as a cellu - dominant (Boersma & Heaton 2014a), high demand losic renewable fuel [http://www.newenergyfarms. for propagules needs simpler and more effective Figure 1. Propagation and biomass production of Arundo donax and Miscanthus × giganteus: A) rhizomes of A. donax, B) rhizomes of M. × giganteus, C) in vitro-multiplied plantlet and D) acclimatized plant of M. × giganteus after the transplantation into the field, E) in vitro-multiplied plantlet and F) acclimatized plant of A. donax, G) plants of M. × giganteus and H) A. donax at the end of October, I) dried biomass of M. × giganteus (left) and A. donax 44 Agriculture (Poľnohospodárstvo), 62, 2016 (2): 43−51 propagation systems (Atkinson 2009). Mann et al. Mother plantation for experiments was estab - (2013) compared ramet growth from whole shoots lished from rhizomes in both cases. Rhizomes of or shoot fragments of giant reed and miscanthus miscanthus grass were kindly provided by Mr. L. grass in California and found higher biomass pro - Sovák (SWHG Ltd., Valašské Meziříčí, Czech Re - duction by whole shoots in both species. While public). axillary buds of miscanthus grass regenerated im - Characterization of the experimental site mediately after shoot cutting in spring and summer Field experiments were established in the locali - only, giant reed shoots regenerated throughout the ty of Piešťany (west part of Slovakia) at an altitude year. Regeneration of miscanthus grass was lower of 163 m and a continental character of climate with (25–32%) compared to giant reed (49–74%), which long-time average annual precipitation of 608 mm propagates more readily from stem segments. and temperature of 9.2 °C. Soil type was Luvi-Hap - In vitro techniques (tissue cultures) offer an al - lic Chernozem; the locality belongs to a maize pro - ternative tool for plant multiplication and have been duction type. The actual data of average monthly commercially used for many plant species. It en - temperature and total monthly rainfall in the grow - ables rapid multiplication of plants by direct shoot ing seasons 2013–2015 is given in Figure 2. multiplication omitting the callus phase; indirectly through induction of callus followed by whole plant Plant multiplication methods and field establishment regeneration; or by a combination of both proce - Plants of M. × giganteus were multiplied in vitro dures. Moreover, tissue cultures also enable the pro - via callus culture induced from immature inflores - duction of pathogen-free plants and storage of plant cences. Immature inflorescences were taken from material for a long time in controlled aseptic condi - 1-year-old mother plants. After regeneration from tions. The important advantage of this method is the calli, the shoots were multiplied by in vitro tiller- possibility of multiplying plants throughout the year ing, elongated and rooted in the culture, and then and using in vitro breeding methods. In vitro tech- transplanted to the soil (Figure 1c, d). The method niques for the multiplication of A. donax (Cavallaro is discussed in detail by Gubišová et al. (2013). et al. 2011; Herrera-Alamillo & Robert 2012; Antal Plantlets were acclimatized to ex vitro conditions et al. 2014; Gubišová et al. 2016) and M. × gigan- and 10 weeks later, in June 2011, they were trans - teus (Holme & Petersen 1996; Lewandowski 1997; planted into the field. Control plants of miscanthus Glowacka et al. 2010; Gubišová et al. 2013) have grass were established from rhizomes planted in the already been described. In praxis, these plants are month of May of the same year. often called as “meristem plants”. While the com - Plants of A. donax were multiplied by in vitro parison of such plants with those propagated by tra - tillering. The culture was established from stem seg - ditional methods has been done for Miscanthus (Le- ments with axillary bud of 1-year-old mother plants. wandowski 1998; Clifton-Brown et al. 2007), until Shoots regenerated from buds were multiplied and now there was no data available for A. donax. rooted in vitro, and then transplanted into the soil The aim of our experiments was to compare and acclimatized to ex vitro conditions (Figure 1e, growth parameters and biomass production of plants f). The method is discussed in detail by Gubišová multiplied by in vitro techniques and classical veg - et al. (2016). Plants were transplanted into the field etative methods in two species of gigantic grasses in June 2012. Control plants of giant reed were pre - – A. donax and M. × giganteus. pared from stem cuttings taken from mother plants in October 2011. Stem segments were cultivated in the sand, and regenerated and rooted shoots were MATERIAL AND METHODS transplanted into the garden substrate. During the winter 2011/2012, plants were cultivated under Plant material greenhouse conditions and transplanted into the Two species of gigantic grasses were used in field in the month of May 2012. our experiments: M. × giganteus Greef et Deu In the field, plantlets or rhizomes were planted at (miscanthus grass) and A. donax L. (giant reed). a spacing of 1×1 m . Plants were cultivated without 45 Agriculture (Poľnohospodárstvo), 62, 2016 (2): 43−51 irrigation and fertilisers. Plants growing along the (2013), fourth (2014) and fifth (2015) year of cul - edge of the plots were excluded from evaluation. tivation when these parameters are supposed to be already stabilized (Clifton-Brown et al. 2001a; Data measurement and evaluation Christian et al. 2008), although Polish experiments Biomass production (Figure 1g, h, i) and growth showed yield stabilization only after the third grow - parameters of plants cultivated in growing seasons ing season (Jezowski et al. 2011). No statistically of years 2013, 2014 and 2015 were evaluated during significant differences were observed between the harvest in the month of March 2014, 2015 and 2016, two propagation methods (e.g. rhizomes versus in respectively. The plants were evaluated for: the vitro-multiplied plantlets) for the number of shoots, number of shoots per plant; thickness of the shoots plant height and the yield of above-ground biomass (diameter [mm], measured at the base of the shoot ); harvested in early spring. Statistically significant plant height [cm]; biomass moisture [%], measured differences were observed only for shoot diameter, by ((fresh weight − dry weight)/fresh weight) × 100]; which was higher for rhizome-derived plants (Fig - and yield of dry biomass per plant (100% dry mat - ure 3, Table 1). Lewandowski (1998) also mentioned ter mass; content of dry matter mass was measured that in vitro-multiplied plants showed smaller shoot from three samples of each variant). Shoot diameter diameter. Similar to our results, she also observed was the average shoot diameter (calculated from five a higher number of shoots for in vitro-multiplied randomly measured shoots per plant) in the case of plants and no differences in shoot height. In our ex - miscanthus grass, or diameter of the thickest shoot periments, the yield of above-ground biomass was in the case of giant reed. Twenty plants were evalu - slightly higher for in vitro-multiplied plants in 2013 ated for each parameter in both species. Experimen - and 2014 (Figure 3). Lewandowski (1998) observed tal data were analysed by the analysis of variance higher biomass production for in vitro-multiplied (ANOVA) and means were then separated by LSD plants at one locality in Germany, but no differ - test (the least significant difference) at α = 0.05 ences at the other one. Clifton-Brown et al. (2007) using the statistical software STATGRAFICS Centu - found no differences in the biomass yield between rion XVI.II (Statpoint Technologies, Inc., Virginia, rhizome-developed and in vitro-multiplied plants USA). during a 16-year experiment in Southern Ireland. Differences among years were statistically sig - nificant, except for the number of shoots. Higher RESULTS AND DISCUSSION rainfall in the year 2014 (124.6 mm for June and July together when the growth of plants is the most Growth parameters and the yield of dry bio - abundant, and 526.2 mm for the whole growing peri - mass of M. × giganteus were measured in the third od) positively affected shoot height despite the low - Figure 2. The average monthly temperature and total monthly rainfall during the growing seasons in the years 2013–2015 46 Agriculture (Poľnohospodárstvo), 62, 2016 (2): 43−51 est temperatures during this year, mainly in July and or different weather conditions during the win - August, while in the dry growing season of the year ter before harvest. Despite different weather 2015 (47.1 mm for June and July together, 272.6 mm conditions in the monitored growing seasons, for the whole growing period) (Figure 2), signifi - the yield of above-ground biomass gradually cantly shorter and thicker shoots were observed. decreased from the year 2013 to 2015 (Figure Moisture content in harvested biomass was about 3, Table 1). 16% in March 2016 and 2014, and 28% in Lower winter freeze survival was mentioned March 2015. Such differences may have been for in vitro-multiplied plants (Lewandowski 1998). caused by higher rainfall in the season of 2014 Plants are considered to be most susceptible to winter Figure 3. Miscanthus × giganteus. Growth parameters and biomass production during the third, fourth and fifth year of cultivation: A) the number of shoots per plant; B) plant height; C) diameter of shoots; D) production of dry biomass, calculated as kg/plant; average value ± standard deviation T a b l e 1 Miscanthus giganteus ‒ statistical evaluation of measured parameters Propagation method Year Parameter Statistical differences by LSD P-value P-value (2013/2014/2015) No. of shoots 0.0518 0.4807 a/a/a Plant height 0.4176 0.0000 a/b/a Shoot diameter 0.0000 0.0003 a/a/b Dry biomass 0.5180 0.0198 b/ab/a P-value by analysis of variance (bold font indicates statistically significant difference at α = 0.05); LSD (the least significant difference) test was used as a multiple range test for evaluated years (different letters indicate statistically significant difference at α = 0.05) 47 Agriculture (Poľnohospodárstvo), 62, 2016 (2): 43−51 frost during the first winter after field establishment ones. Boersma and Heaton (2014b) compared the (Clifton-Brown & Lewandowski 2000; Jezowski survival of rhizome and stem-propagated plants et al. 2011). In our experiment, in vitro-multiplied of miscanthus grass in the field and did not find plants of M. × giganteus were transplanted into statistically significant differences between these the field in the year 2011. The winter of 2011/2012 two groups. They observed much higher mortality was characterised by very low temperature here. in the phase of the field establishment compared to During the first two weeks of February 2012, the winter losses (23.7% vs 1.2%). The interesting fact minimal temperature was measured from ‒10.3 °C is that they also observed lower number of shoots per to ‒16.0°C and the soil remained frozen throughout plant and higher basal circumference for rhizome- the day (the minimal soil temperature in these days propagated plants. Authors explained that the higher was from ‒1.9 to ‒4.6 °C), which has not been a number of shoots in stem-propagated plants may be common occurrence in this locality during the past due to the inherent characteristics of aerial organs, few years. Despite this, we did not observe any including native hormone levels. These observations plant losses during this winter (2011/2012), as well were the same for the comparison of rhizome versus as no establishment losses in the first year. There in vitro propagated plants in our experiment and the were only some losses (4.9%) during the phase of experiments of Lewandowski (1998). acclimatization to ex vitro conditions. Plant survival A completely different situation was observed may have also been affected by the fact that plants for plants of A. donax. Under in vitro conditions, transplanted to the field were strong and vital, plants were regenerated directly from axillary as they were appropriately pre-cultivated in pots buds and then multiplied. Control plants were also with 0.25 dm of the garden substrate for a period regenerated from axillary buds but were then stored of ten weeks. Based on worldwide experiences, under greenhouse conditions for the whole winter. Clifton-Brown and Lewandowski (2000) suggested It caused that plants from stem segments had been that larger plants can survive better than smaller stronger with probably more enlarged underground Figure 4. Arundo donax. Growth parameters and biomass production during the second, third and fourth year of cultivation: A) the number of shoots per plant; B) plant height; C) diameter of the thickest shoot; D) the production of dry biomass, calculated as kg/plant; average value ± standard deviation 48 Agriculture (Poľnohospodárstvo), 62, 2016 (2): 43−51 part compared to plants multiplied in vitro. It could plants were not statistically significant ( P = 0.1569). redound to the advantage of these plants in the field Nevertheless, there was visually detectable differ - conditions and may have been the important one, but ence between the circumferences of the sheaf of cut not the only, reason for higher biomass production. It shoots on the basal side. Parameter stem diameter is important to mention that there were no losses (as may have been slightly distorted here because the well for M. × giganteus) during field establishment diameter of the thickest shoot only was measured in or in winter in both groups of plantlets, and losses the case of giant reed plants. It was measured that during acclimatization to ex vitro conditions were way because the diameter of the shoot of giant reed only 4.4%. is, in contrast to miscanthus grass, variable (varies In the first year of evaluation of giant reed, the from 0.8 to 30 mm) and it would be too laborious plants were only in the second year of cultivation, to determine the exact average value. Therefore, contrary to miscanthus grass. Different results were the circumference of the shoot sheaf was measured observed in the number of shoots compared to next in the third year, and it was 60.17 ± 6.36 cm for years (Figure 4). Statistical evaluation of the com - stem-propagated plants and 50.67 ± 9.27 cm for in plete results is shown in Table 2, and with the ex - vitro-multiplied plants. It is clear from these mea - ception of the number of shoots, significant differ - surements that the stem-propagated plants had a ences between propagation methods were observed higher proportion of thicker shoots, although the di - for other measured parameters. When the first year, ameter of the thickest shoot was not different. 2013, was excluded from the evaluation, significant Generally, the stem-propagated plants of giant differences between propagation methods were mea - reed showed better results in all measured param - sured also for the number of shoots ( P = 0.0065). In eters than the in vitro-multiplied plants (Figure 4). the first year, the number of shoots was higher for in Differences among years were statistically signifi - vitro-multiplied plants, but from the second year on - cant for all parameters, also in the case when only wards, it turned reverse (Figure 4). The higher num - the years 2014 and 2015 were compared. Shoot ber of shoots in the first year may have been caused height and diameter were highest in the year 2014 by the effect of plant growth regulators used for the (Figure 4). Contrary to M. × giganteus, in the case of induction of in vitro tillering, which persist in plant A. donax, the yield of above-ground biomass grad - tissues and confer a residual hormonal response ually increased, and the highest yield was measured (Boersma & Heaton 2014a), or it can be explained in the year 2015 despite deficient rainfall. Proba - by the greater development of meristems forming bly, the age of plants or higher temperatures in that buds at the base of the in vitro-multiplied plantlets. year may have been the stronger factor affecting the If only the second and third years of measurement growth of above-ground biomass. It is noteworthy were compared, the difference in shoot diameter also that plants growing on the edge of the plot gave between stem-propagated and in vitro-propagated much more biomass than other plants, and due to this T a b l e 2 Arundo donax – statistical evaluation of measured parameters Propagation method Year Parameter Statistical differences by LSD P-value P-value (2013/2014/2015) No. of shoots 0.6607 0.0120 ab/a/b Plant height 0.0000 0.0000 a/c/b Shoot diameter 0.0002 0.0003 a/c/b Dry biomass 0.0007 0.0053 a/ab/b P-value by analysis of variance (bold font indicates statistically significant difference at α = 0.05); LSD (the least significant difference) test was used as a multiple range test for evaluated years (different letters indicate statistically significant difference at α = 0.05) 49 Agriculture (Poľnohospodárstvo), 62, 2016 (2): 43−51 fact, these plants were excluded from evaluation. tained new information concerning the differences The comparison was accomplished in the spring in growth parameters of A. donax plants multiplied of 2015 and biomass yields were 4.59 kg/plant by conventional vegetative propagation and in vitro versus 8.53 kg/plant (plants on the edge of the plot). method. The situation was very similar in the case of M. × giganteus also. Acknowledgements. This work was funded by An interesting fact is that, in our field conditions, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development the differences in biomass yield of giant reed and of Slovak Republic in the frame of R&D projects: miscanthus grass were much higher in comparison “The development and innovation of primary plant with the long-term experiment of Angelini et al. production for securing food safety, sustainable ag - (2009) in Italy, where the average yield of A. donax riculture and decreasing of environmental damage” was 37.7 tons and M. × giganteus was 28.7 tons of and “Innovation of growing systems for sustain- dry matter per hectare. ability and quality of primary plant production con - Moisture content in harvested biomass was sidering climate changes, protection of the environ - about 43% in March 2014 and 2015 but only 31% ment and countryside development”. in March 2016. 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In Renewable and Sustain - GUBIŠOVÁ, M. ‒ ČIČKOVÁ, M. ‒ KLČOVÁ, L. ‒ GU - able Energy Reviews , vol. 49 , pp. 1233–1246. DOI: BIŠ, J. 2016. In vitro tillering – An effective way to 10.1016/j.rser.2015.04.168 multiply high-biomass plant Arundo donax. In In - Received: May 20, 2016 http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Agriculture de Gruyter

Biomass Production of Gigantic Grasses Arundo donax and Miscanthus × Giganteus in the Dependence on Plant Multiplication Method

Agriculture , Volume 62 (2): 9 – Aug 1, 2016

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Abstract

Agriculture (Poľnohospodárstvo), 62, 2016 (2): 43−51 Original paper DOI: 10.1515/agri-2016-0005 BIOMASS PRODUCTION OF GIGANTIC GRASSES ARUNDO DONAX AND MISCANTHUS × GIGANTEUS IN THE DEPENDENCE ON PLANT MULTIPLICATION METHOD MARCELA GUBIŠOVÁ , JOZEF GUBIŠ, ALŽBETA ŽOFAJOVÁ National Agricultural and Food Centre – Research Institute of Plant Production, Piešťany, Slovak Republic GUBIŠOVÁ, M. ‒ GUBIŠ, J. ‒ ŽOFAJOVÁ, A.: Biomass production of gigantic grasses Arundo donax and Miscanthus × giganteus in the dependence on plant multiplication method. Agriculture (Poľnohospodárstvo), vol. 62, 2016, no. 2, p. 43–51. The effect of plant propagation method on growth parameters and the yield of above-ground biomass in two species of gigantic grasses were measured during three growing seasons. Plants were multiplied in explant culture and through traditional methods – by rhizome segments ( Miscanthus × giganteus ) or by stem cuttings ( Arundo donax ). In the case of M. × giganteus , in vitro -multiplied plants produced more shoots with significantly lower diameter, but the diffe - rences in the number of shoots, plant height and the yield of dry biomass were not statistically significant. Different results were observed for A. donax , where in vitro -multiplied plants showed significantly weaker results in all parame - ters, with the exception of the number of shoots in the first measured season. In both the species, there was observed the strong effect of the year. While in M. × giganteus the yield of dry biomass gradually decreased during the measured years, it increased in the case of giant reed. Key words: energy plants, vegetative propagation, in vitro multiplication, rhizomes, stem cuttings Increasing consumption of fossil fuel and the re - to drought and frost. However, a significant disad - quest for biofuels and bioenergy production has led vantage of giant reed is the high moisture content to an increase in the importance of species with high during harvesting (about 50%) and the high ash con - biomass production. In the past decade, growers tent (3.5–5.5%) (Ceotto & Candilo 2010). in Slovakia have shown interest in cultivation of Species from the genus Miscanthus belong to pe- biomass plants due to profitability from the crop. rennial rhizomatous grasses. Within the genus, only Miscanthus × giganteus and Arundo donax belong one clone, Miscanthus × giganteus Greef et Deuter, to the introduced species of family Poaceae, which is considered to be the most valuable for biomass cannot be overcome in biomass production by native production, and is grown commercially (Xue et al. species and are therefore excellent candidates for 2015). M. × giganteus is the natural triploid infertile marginal land utilization. These two plant species hybrid of diploid M. sinensis and tetraploid M. sac- comply with most of the requirements for energy chariflorus (Greef & Deuter 1993; Hodkinson et al. plants, such as perennial character, huge amount of 2002), which was sampled in 1935 and introduced yearly harvested above-ground biomass, low need to Europe from Japan by Danish botanist A. Olson for pesticides and fertilisers, sequestration of nu - (Greef et al. 1997). Miscanthus belongs to C4 plants trients to the underground parts before harvesting, with high photosynthetic and water use efficiency adaptability to different conditions and tolerance (Atkinson 2009). It is considered an attractive and Mgr. Marcela Gubišová, PhD. ( Corresponding author), Ing. Jozef Gubiš, PhD., Ing. Alžbeta Žofajová, PhD., National Agricultural and Food Centre – Research Institute of Plant Production, Bratislavská cesta 122, 921 68 Piešťany, Slovak Republic. E-mail: gubisova@vurv.sk 43 Agriculture (Poľnohospodárstvo), 62, 2016 (2): 43−51 environmentally friendly bioenergy plant with high com/crops/arundo-donax/]. Giant reed is known as production of ligno-cellulose biomass, which usu - a multipurpose plant that is used in paper and pulp ally reaches annual yields ranging from 15 to 40 industry, as a building material, for making musi - tons of dry matter per hectare (Clifton-Brown et al. cal instruments, fishing rods, walking sticks and 2001b). stakes for plants (Pilu et al. 2012). It is also used in A. donax L. is also a perennial rhizomatous Ayurvedic medicine, as an ornamental plant and for grass originated from Asia. Plants are very adapt - phytoremediation of contaminated areas (Alshaal et able to different conditions; they grow in tropical al. 2014). to warm-temperate regions, also on contaminated Both species do not produce viable seeds and or salinized soils (Ceotto & Candilo 2010). Plants can be multiplied by the vegetative methods only. similar to bamboo can grow up to 10 m in height, On the other hand, the absence of seed production and due to its vigorous growth, the species is con - minimizes the risk of potential invasiveness. Even sidered invasive (Pilu et al. 2013). Despite the C3 though these grasses belong to rhizomatous plants, character of photosynthesis, the biomass yield can the rhizome (Figure 1a) propagation method in giant reach up to 78 tons per hectare annually, and due to reed is expensive and impractical (Ceotto & Candilo hollow canes, it is easily processed into chips (Bass 2010). Therefore, considering traditional methods, et al. 2014). Despite its invasiveness, in July 2013, propagation by shoot cuttings offers greater poten - the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency stated tial. Although, for M. × giganteus, traditional propa- that giant reed yields three times as much ethanol gation by rhizome segments (Figure 1b) is still pre - per acre as maize, and qualified this plant as a cellu - dominant (Boersma & Heaton 2014a), high demand losic renewable fuel [http://www.newenergyfarms. for propagules needs simpler and more effective Figure 1. Propagation and biomass production of Arundo donax and Miscanthus × giganteus: A) rhizomes of A. donax, B) rhizomes of M. × giganteus, C) in vitro-multiplied plantlet and D) acclimatized plant of M. × giganteus after the transplantation into the field, E) in vitro-multiplied plantlet and F) acclimatized plant of A. donax, G) plants of M. × giganteus and H) A. donax at the end of October, I) dried biomass of M. × giganteus (left) and A. donax 44 Agriculture (Poľnohospodárstvo), 62, 2016 (2): 43−51 propagation systems (Atkinson 2009). Mann et al. Mother plantation for experiments was estab - (2013) compared ramet growth from whole shoots lished from rhizomes in both cases. Rhizomes of or shoot fragments of giant reed and miscanthus miscanthus grass were kindly provided by Mr. L. grass in California and found higher biomass pro - Sovák (SWHG Ltd., Valašské Meziříčí, Czech Re - duction by whole shoots in both species. While public). axillary buds of miscanthus grass regenerated im - Characterization of the experimental site mediately after shoot cutting in spring and summer Field experiments were established in the locali - only, giant reed shoots regenerated throughout the ty of Piešťany (west part of Slovakia) at an altitude year. Regeneration of miscanthus grass was lower of 163 m and a continental character of climate with (25–32%) compared to giant reed (49–74%), which long-time average annual precipitation of 608 mm propagates more readily from stem segments. and temperature of 9.2 °C. Soil type was Luvi-Hap - In vitro techniques (tissue cultures) offer an al - lic Chernozem; the locality belongs to a maize pro - ternative tool for plant multiplication and have been duction type. The actual data of average monthly commercially used for many plant species. It en - temperature and total monthly rainfall in the grow - ables rapid multiplication of plants by direct shoot ing seasons 2013–2015 is given in Figure 2. multiplication omitting the callus phase; indirectly through induction of callus followed by whole plant Plant multiplication methods and field establishment regeneration; or by a combination of both proce - Plants of M. × giganteus were multiplied in vitro dures. Moreover, tissue cultures also enable the pro - via callus culture induced from immature inflores - duction of pathogen-free plants and storage of plant cences. Immature inflorescences were taken from material for a long time in controlled aseptic condi - 1-year-old mother plants. After regeneration from tions. The important advantage of this method is the calli, the shoots were multiplied by in vitro tiller- possibility of multiplying plants throughout the year ing, elongated and rooted in the culture, and then and using in vitro breeding methods. In vitro tech- transplanted to the soil (Figure 1c, d). The method niques for the multiplication of A. donax (Cavallaro is discussed in detail by Gubišová et al. (2013). et al. 2011; Herrera-Alamillo & Robert 2012; Antal Plantlets were acclimatized to ex vitro conditions et al. 2014; Gubišová et al. 2016) and M. × gigan- and 10 weeks later, in June 2011, they were trans - teus (Holme & Petersen 1996; Lewandowski 1997; planted into the field. Control plants of miscanthus Glowacka et al. 2010; Gubišová et al. 2013) have grass were established from rhizomes planted in the already been described. In praxis, these plants are month of May of the same year. often called as “meristem plants”. While the com - Plants of A. donax were multiplied by in vitro parison of such plants with those propagated by tra - tillering. The culture was established from stem seg - ditional methods has been done for Miscanthus (Le- ments with axillary bud of 1-year-old mother plants. wandowski 1998; Clifton-Brown et al. 2007), until Shoots regenerated from buds were multiplied and now there was no data available for A. donax. rooted in vitro, and then transplanted into the soil The aim of our experiments was to compare and acclimatized to ex vitro conditions (Figure 1e, growth parameters and biomass production of plants f). The method is discussed in detail by Gubišová multiplied by in vitro techniques and classical veg - et al. (2016). Plants were transplanted into the field etative methods in two species of gigantic grasses in June 2012. Control plants of giant reed were pre - – A. donax and M. × giganteus. pared from stem cuttings taken from mother plants in October 2011. Stem segments were cultivated in the sand, and regenerated and rooted shoots were MATERIAL AND METHODS transplanted into the garden substrate. During the winter 2011/2012, plants were cultivated under Plant material greenhouse conditions and transplanted into the Two species of gigantic grasses were used in field in the month of May 2012. our experiments: M. × giganteus Greef et Deu In the field, plantlets or rhizomes were planted at (miscanthus grass) and A. donax L. (giant reed). a spacing of 1×1 m . Plants were cultivated without 45 Agriculture (Poľnohospodárstvo), 62, 2016 (2): 43−51 irrigation and fertilisers. Plants growing along the (2013), fourth (2014) and fifth (2015) year of cul - edge of the plots were excluded from evaluation. tivation when these parameters are supposed to be already stabilized (Clifton-Brown et al. 2001a; Data measurement and evaluation Christian et al. 2008), although Polish experiments Biomass production (Figure 1g, h, i) and growth showed yield stabilization only after the third grow - parameters of plants cultivated in growing seasons ing season (Jezowski et al. 2011). No statistically of years 2013, 2014 and 2015 were evaluated during significant differences were observed between the harvest in the month of March 2014, 2015 and 2016, two propagation methods (e.g. rhizomes versus in respectively. The plants were evaluated for: the vitro-multiplied plantlets) for the number of shoots, number of shoots per plant; thickness of the shoots plant height and the yield of above-ground biomass (diameter [mm], measured at the base of the shoot ); harvested in early spring. Statistically significant plant height [cm]; biomass moisture [%], measured differences were observed only for shoot diameter, by ((fresh weight − dry weight)/fresh weight) × 100]; which was higher for rhizome-derived plants (Fig - and yield of dry biomass per plant (100% dry mat - ure 3, Table 1). Lewandowski (1998) also mentioned ter mass; content of dry matter mass was measured that in vitro-multiplied plants showed smaller shoot from three samples of each variant). Shoot diameter diameter. Similar to our results, she also observed was the average shoot diameter (calculated from five a higher number of shoots for in vitro-multiplied randomly measured shoots per plant) in the case of plants and no differences in shoot height. In our ex - miscanthus grass, or diameter of the thickest shoot periments, the yield of above-ground biomass was in the case of giant reed. Twenty plants were evalu - slightly higher for in vitro-multiplied plants in 2013 ated for each parameter in both species. Experimen - and 2014 (Figure 3). Lewandowski (1998) observed tal data were analysed by the analysis of variance higher biomass production for in vitro-multiplied (ANOVA) and means were then separated by LSD plants at one locality in Germany, but no differ - test (the least significant difference) at α = 0.05 ences at the other one. Clifton-Brown et al. (2007) using the statistical software STATGRAFICS Centu - found no differences in the biomass yield between rion XVI.II (Statpoint Technologies, Inc., Virginia, rhizome-developed and in vitro-multiplied plants USA). during a 16-year experiment in Southern Ireland. Differences among years were statistically sig - nificant, except for the number of shoots. Higher RESULTS AND DISCUSSION rainfall in the year 2014 (124.6 mm for June and July together when the growth of plants is the most Growth parameters and the yield of dry bio - abundant, and 526.2 mm for the whole growing peri - mass of M. × giganteus were measured in the third od) positively affected shoot height despite the low - Figure 2. The average monthly temperature and total monthly rainfall during the growing seasons in the years 2013–2015 46 Agriculture (Poľnohospodárstvo), 62, 2016 (2): 43−51 est temperatures during this year, mainly in July and or different weather conditions during the win - August, while in the dry growing season of the year ter before harvest. Despite different weather 2015 (47.1 mm for June and July together, 272.6 mm conditions in the monitored growing seasons, for the whole growing period) (Figure 2), signifi - the yield of above-ground biomass gradually cantly shorter and thicker shoots were observed. decreased from the year 2013 to 2015 (Figure Moisture content in harvested biomass was about 3, Table 1). 16% in March 2016 and 2014, and 28% in Lower winter freeze survival was mentioned March 2015. Such differences may have been for in vitro-multiplied plants (Lewandowski 1998). caused by higher rainfall in the season of 2014 Plants are considered to be most susceptible to winter Figure 3. Miscanthus × giganteus. Growth parameters and biomass production during the third, fourth and fifth year of cultivation: A) the number of shoots per plant; B) plant height; C) diameter of shoots; D) production of dry biomass, calculated as kg/plant; average value ± standard deviation T a b l e 1 Miscanthus giganteus ‒ statistical evaluation of measured parameters Propagation method Year Parameter Statistical differences by LSD P-value P-value (2013/2014/2015) No. of shoots 0.0518 0.4807 a/a/a Plant height 0.4176 0.0000 a/b/a Shoot diameter 0.0000 0.0003 a/a/b Dry biomass 0.5180 0.0198 b/ab/a P-value by analysis of variance (bold font indicates statistically significant difference at α = 0.05); LSD (the least significant difference) test was used as a multiple range test for evaluated years (different letters indicate statistically significant difference at α = 0.05) 47 Agriculture (Poľnohospodárstvo), 62, 2016 (2): 43−51 frost during the first winter after field establishment ones. Boersma and Heaton (2014b) compared the (Clifton-Brown & Lewandowski 2000; Jezowski survival of rhizome and stem-propagated plants et al. 2011). In our experiment, in vitro-multiplied of miscanthus grass in the field and did not find plants of M. × giganteus were transplanted into statistically significant differences between these the field in the year 2011. The winter of 2011/2012 two groups. They observed much higher mortality was characterised by very low temperature here. in the phase of the field establishment compared to During the first two weeks of February 2012, the winter losses (23.7% vs 1.2%). The interesting fact minimal temperature was measured from ‒10.3 °C is that they also observed lower number of shoots per to ‒16.0°C and the soil remained frozen throughout plant and higher basal circumference for rhizome- the day (the minimal soil temperature in these days propagated plants. Authors explained that the higher was from ‒1.9 to ‒4.6 °C), which has not been a number of shoots in stem-propagated plants may be common occurrence in this locality during the past due to the inherent characteristics of aerial organs, few years. Despite this, we did not observe any including native hormone levels. These observations plant losses during this winter (2011/2012), as well were the same for the comparison of rhizome versus as no establishment losses in the first year. There in vitro propagated plants in our experiment and the were only some losses (4.9%) during the phase of experiments of Lewandowski (1998). acclimatization to ex vitro conditions. Plant survival A completely different situation was observed may have also been affected by the fact that plants for plants of A. donax. Under in vitro conditions, transplanted to the field were strong and vital, plants were regenerated directly from axillary as they were appropriately pre-cultivated in pots buds and then multiplied. Control plants were also with 0.25 dm of the garden substrate for a period regenerated from axillary buds but were then stored of ten weeks. Based on worldwide experiences, under greenhouse conditions for the whole winter. Clifton-Brown and Lewandowski (2000) suggested It caused that plants from stem segments had been that larger plants can survive better than smaller stronger with probably more enlarged underground Figure 4. Arundo donax. Growth parameters and biomass production during the second, third and fourth year of cultivation: A) the number of shoots per plant; B) plant height; C) diameter of the thickest shoot; D) the production of dry biomass, calculated as kg/plant; average value ± standard deviation 48 Agriculture (Poľnohospodárstvo), 62, 2016 (2): 43−51 part compared to plants multiplied in vitro. It could plants were not statistically significant ( P = 0.1569). redound to the advantage of these plants in the field Nevertheless, there was visually detectable differ - conditions and may have been the important one, but ence between the circumferences of the sheaf of cut not the only, reason for higher biomass production. It shoots on the basal side. Parameter stem diameter is important to mention that there were no losses (as may have been slightly distorted here because the well for M. × giganteus) during field establishment diameter of the thickest shoot only was measured in or in winter in both groups of plantlets, and losses the case of giant reed plants. It was measured that during acclimatization to ex vitro conditions were way because the diameter of the shoot of giant reed only 4.4%. is, in contrast to miscanthus grass, variable (varies In the first year of evaluation of giant reed, the from 0.8 to 30 mm) and it would be too laborious plants were only in the second year of cultivation, to determine the exact average value. Therefore, contrary to miscanthus grass. Different results were the circumference of the shoot sheaf was measured observed in the number of shoots compared to next in the third year, and it was 60.17 ± 6.36 cm for years (Figure 4). Statistical evaluation of the com - stem-propagated plants and 50.67 ± 9.27 cm for in plete results is shown in Table 2, and with the ex - vitro-multiplied plants. It is clear from these mea - ception of the number of shoots, significant differ - surements that the stem-propagated plants had a ences between propagation methods were observed higher proportion of thicker shoots, although the di - for other measured parameters. When the first year, ameter of the thickest shoot was not different. 2013, was excluded from the evaluation, significant Generally, the stem-propagated plants of giant differences between propagation methods were mea - reed showed better results in all measured param - sured also for the number of shoots ( P = 0.0065). In eters than the in vitro-multiplied plants (Figure 4). the first year, the number of shoots was higher for in Differences among years were statistically signifi - vitro-multiplied plants, but from the second year on - cant for all parameters, also in the case when only wards, it turned reverse (Figure 4). The higher num - the years 2014 and 2015 were compared. Shoot ber of shoots in the first year may have been caused height and diameter were highest in the year 2014 by the effect of plant growth regulators used for the (Figure 4). Contrary to M. × giganteus, in the case of induction of in vitro tillering, which persist in plant A. donax, the yield of above-ground biomass grad - tissues and confer a residual hormonal response ually increased, and the highest yield was measured (Boersma & Heaton 2014a), or it can be explained in the year 2015 despite deficient rainfall. Proba - by the greater development of meristems forming bly, the age of plants or higher temperatures in that buds at the base of the in vitro-multiplied plantlets. year may have been the stronger factor affecting the If only the second and third years of measurement growth of above-ground biomass. It is noteworthy were compared, the difference in shoot diameter also that plants growing on the edge of the plot gave between stem-propagated and in vitro-propagated much more biomass than other plants, and due to this T a b l e 2 Arundo donax – statistical evaluation of measured parameters Propagation method Year Parameter Statistical differences by LSD P-value P-value (2013/2014/2015) No. of shoots 0.6607 0.0120 ab/a/b Plant height 0.0000 0.0000 a/c/b Shoot diameter 0.0002 0.0003 a/c/b Dry biomass 0.0007 0.0053 a/ab/b P-value by analysis of variance (bold font indicates statistically significant difference at α = 0.05); LSD (the least significant difference) test was used as a multiple range test for evaluated years (different letters indicate statistically significant difference at α = 0.05) 49 Agriculture (Poľnohospodárstvo), 62, 2016 (2): 43−51 fact, these plants were excluded from evaluation. tained new information concerning the differences The comparison was accomplished in the spring in growth parameters of A. donax plants multiplied of 2015 and biomass yields were 4.59 kg/plant by conventional vegetative propagation and in vitro versus 8.53 kg/plant (plants on the edge of the plot). method. The situation was very similar in the case of M. × giganteus also. Acknowledgements. This work was funded by An interesting fact is that, in our field conditions, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development the differences in biomass yield of giant reed and of Slovak Republic in the frame of R&D projects: miscanthus grass were much higher in comparison “The development and innovation of primary plant with the long-term experiment of Angelini et al. production for securing food safety, sustainable ag - (2009) in Italy, where the average yield of A. donax riculture and decreasing of environmental damage” was 37.7 tons and M. × giganteus was 28.7 tons of and “Innovation of growing systems for sustain- dry matter per hectare. ability and quality of primary plant production con - Moisture content in harvested biomass was sidering climate changes, protection of the environ - about 43% in March 2014 and 2015 but only 31% ment and countryside development”. in March 2016. 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