Evaluation of Miscanthus sinensis biomass quality as feedstock for conversion into different bioenergy products

Tim van der Weijde, Andreas Kiesel, Yasir Iqbal, Hilde Muylle, Oene Dolstra, Richard G.F. Visser, Iris Lewandowski, Luisa M. Trindade*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

62 Citations (Scopus)


Miscanthus is a promising fiber crop with high potential for sustainable biomass production for a biobased economy. The effect of biomass composition on the processing efficiency of miscanthus biomass for different biorefinery value chains was evaluated, including combustion, anaerobic digestion and enzymatic saccharification for the production of bioethanol. Biomass quality and composition was analyzed in detail using stem and leaf fractions of summer (July) and winter (March) harvested biomass of eight compositionally diverse Miscanthus sinensis genotypes. Genotype performance in tests for enzymatic saccharification, anaerobic digestion and combustion differed extensively. The variation between the best and the worst performing genotype was 18% for biogas yield (ml g-1 dm) and 42% for saccharification efficiency (glucose release as %dm). The ash content of the best performing genotype was 62% lower than that of the genotype with the highest ash content and showed a considerably high ash melting temperature during combustion. Variation between genotypes in biomass quality for the different thermochemical bioconversion processes was shown to be strongly correlated to differences in biomass composition. The most important traits that contributed favorably to biogas yields and saccharification efficiency were a high content of trans-ferulic acid, a high ratio of para-coumaric acid to lignin and a low lignin content. Additionally, a high content of hemicellulosic polysaccharides positively affected saccharification efficiency. Low contents of ash and inorganic elements positively affect biomass quality for combustion and low potassium and chloride contents contributed to a higher ash melting temperature. These results demonstrate the potential for optimizing and exploiting M. sinensis as a multipurpose lignocellulosic feedstock, particularly for bioenergy applications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)176-190
JournalGlobal change biology Bioenergy
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Miscanthus sinensis
  • Anaerobic digestion
  • Bioethanol
  • Biogas
  • Biomass quality
  • Cell wall composition
  • Combustion
  • Enzymatic saccharification
  • Lignin


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