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Structuring a new agave-based biogas production chain

Grant number: 20/02524-0
Support type:Regular Research Grants
Duration: November 01, 2020 - October 31, 2022
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Genetics - Plant Genetics
Principal researcher:Gonçalo Amarante Guimarães Pereira
Grantee:Gonçalo Amarante Guimarães Pereira
Home Institution: Instituto de Biologia (IB). Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP). Campinas , SP, Brazil
Assoc. researchers: Ana Cristina Fermino Soares ; Aristóteles Góes Neto ; Gustavo Mockaitis ; Marcelo Falsarella Carazzolle ; Maria Angélica Pereira de Carvalho Costa ; Sarita Candida Rabelo


Bahia is the largest producer of sisal fiber in the world, a fiber extracted from the species Agave sisalana. Bahia's production is about 20,400 tons, which corresponds to 58% of the world production. However, from an Agave plant, fiber accounts for only 4% of the leaf's weight, leaving moist bagasse, a material rich in organic matter and several molecules with potential for fine chemistry. This bagasse is abandoned in the field, consisting of a problem because it is the focus of pests and diseases, including for humans. Sugarcane experienced a similar situation in the 1970s, when Brazil started the program Pró-álcool. The solution found in this sector was burning this material in boilers to produce electric energy. Today this production accounts for around 27.1 TWh annually, being the second-largest source of renewable electricity in the country. However, the situation is different in the case of sisal, as the production is mainly family farming, with a very low level of organization and little investment capacity. Thus, one possibility for power generation from sisal bagasse lies in biogas generation. The objective of the present project is to characterize from a genetic, phenotypic and chemical point of view different Agave accessions planted in the semi-arid sisal producing region in Bahia, as well as high yield imported plants, evaluating the biogas production potential of some accessions, considering the whole plant and the bagasse left in the field by the sisal fiber production system currently applied in Bahia. (AU)

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