Optimisation of raw material for bio-ethanol production

Selection and development of wheat and triticale cultivars particularly suitable for the requirements of bio-ethanol production also taking into account agronomic needs and properties, feed quality of mash and toxicologic aspects.

Short Description

The project aims to the development of cereal cultivars with particularly high renewable resource suitability for the production of bio-ethanol. In addition to standard agronomical criteria (e.g. high yield, disease and lodging resistance) such cultivars must ensure high starch content and yield, high ethanol yield, fast digestibility for yeast and low mycotoxin content. In contrast to bread wheat, hard grains and high protein content are unwanted and protein quality does not matter at all.

Advanced breeding material is therefore characterised by imitation of the planned process of an industrial plant (Pischelsdorf at Tulln). The best eligible genotypes, are preferentially maintained, selected for national list trials and serve as parents for the setup of improved breeding populations.

Quality samples are collected from multiple environment field trials. After milling and starch hydrolysis they are fermented with a highly productive yeast strain in a small scale pre-screening. In addition to starch content the analysis includes also fermentable sugar content, ethanol yield, fermentation peak rate and fermentation peak time. Retained samples are used to test a commercially available NITS (near infrared transmission spectroscopy) starch calibration. Those samples are further used to develop new own calibrations (starch and additional parameters) for different available NITS devices .

The results for the best selected cultivars are validated in a large scale fermentation step. After distillation, DDGS (distillers dried grains and solubles) are obtained to determine extraction rates and protein content. The mycotoxin load for each sample is determined by ELISA (enzyme linked immuno sorbent assay) and HPLC (high performance liquid chromatography). Genotypes are accordingly classified and the acceptability of rapid tests (ELISA) is tested by comparison with HPLC reference values.

Suitable rapid tests are to be identified and implemented for regular use in selection and raw material quality control. The main focus of mycotoxin analysis is on Deoxinivalenol, but includes also Zearalenon and Fumonisin. Unsuitable tests are discarded to avoid unreliable results and stranded future investments.

The pre-screening of cultivars will include about 150 samples per year. Approximately the best ten cultivars will be selected for large scale fermenter validation. Some additional samples will be derived from production trials. The size of this testing scheme will be maintained during the whole project.

The laboratory results are used for the further development of wheat and triticale breeding populations across all generations from crossing up to cultivar release. The laboratory mycotoxin tests are accompanied by the setup of specific fusarium-disease nurseries with artificial inoculation.

New selection techniques made available by the project (NITS-calibrations, ELISA) are implemented in practical breeding. DDGS yield and quality are determined. Quality data and feeding trial results are necessary for successful DDGS use in farrow production and pig fattening. Yield and quality data from agronomic trials are the basis for a monetary comparison of wheat and triticale production to find a fair price related to raw material quality. Such data are decisive to answer whether triticale should be further developed for ethanol production at all.

The results from agronomic trials with the currently most promising forage wheat cultivars are used to advise farmers on optimal crop treatment for low cost but high raw material quality production.

Project Partners

Project leader:
Dr. Marnik Wastyn / Zuckerforschung Tulln (federführend)
Dr. Herbert Bistrich / Saatzucht Donau

Zuckerforschung Tulln GesmbH
Saatzucht Donau GesmbH & Co KG

Contact address:
Dr. Marnik Wastyn
c/o Zuckerforschung Tulln GesmbH
Josef Reither Str. 21-23
A-3430 Tulln
+43 2272 602 11402 (tel)
+43 2272 602 11420 (fax)
E-Mail: info@zuckerforschung.at
Internet: www.zuckerforschung.at

Dr. Herbert Bistrich
c/o Saatzucht Donau GesmbH & Co KG
A-2301 Probstdorf
+43 2215 2481-0 (tel)
+43 2215 2481-39 (fax)
E-Mail: office.probstdorf@saatzucht-donau.at
Internet: www.saatzucht-donau.at

Project partners:

  • AGES
  • IFA-Tulln
  • Biomin
  • FH Wels