Volatile organic compound emissions from elephant grass and bamboo cultivars used as potential bioethanol crop
Volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions from elephant grass (Miscanthus gigantus) and black bamboo (Phyllostachys nigra) were measured online in semi-field chamber and plant enclosure experiments during growth and harvest using proton-transfer reaction mass spectrometry (PTR-MS), proton-transfer reaction ion-trap mass spectrometry (PIT-MS) and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS). Both cultivars are being considered for second-generation biofuel production. Before this study, no information was available on their yearly VOC emissions. This exploratory investigation shows that black bamboo is a strong isoprene emitter (daytime 28,516 ng gdwt-1 h-1) and has larger VOC emissions, especially for wound compounds from the hexanal and hexenal families, than elephant grass. Daytime emissions of methanol, acetaldehyde, acetone + propanal and acetic acid of black bamboo were 618, 249, 351, and 1034 ng gdwt-1 h-1, respectively. In addition, it is observed that elephant grass VOC emissions after harvesting strongly depend on the seasonal stage. Not taking VOC emission variations throughout the season for annual and perennial species into account, may lead to an overestimation of the impact on local air quality in dry periods. In addition, our data suggest that the use of perennial grasses for extensive growing for biofuel production have lower emissions than woody species, which might be important for regional atmospheric chemistry.