Transpiration and biomass production of the bioenergy crop Giant Knotweed Igniscum under various supplies of water and nutrients

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Soil water availability, nutrient supply and climatic conditions are key factors for plant production. For a sustainable integration of bioenergy plants into agricultural systems, detailed studies on their water uses and growth performances are needed. The new bioenergy plant Igniscum Candy is a cultivar of the Sakhalin Knotweed (Fallopia sachalinensis), which is characterized by a high annual biomass production. For the determination of transpiration-yield relations at the whole plant level we used wicked lysimeters at multiple irrigation levels associated with the soil water availability (25, 35, 70, 100%) and nitrogen fertilization (0, 50, 100, 150 kg N ha-1). Leaf transpiration and net photosynthesis were determined with a portable minicuvette system. The maximum mean transpiration rate was 10.6 mmol m-2 s-1 for well-watered plants, while the mean net photosynthesis was 9.1 μmol m-2 s-1. The cumulative transpiration of the plants during the growing seasons varied between 49 l (drought stressed) and 141 l (well-watered) per plant. The calculated transpiration coefficient for Fallopia over all of the treatments applied was 485.6 l kg-1. The transpiration-yield relation of Igniscum is comparable to rye and barley. Its growth performance making Fallopia a potentially good second generation bioenergy crop.

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