Photosynthetic Pathway and Biomass Energy Production

Science  10 Aug 1979:
Vol. 205, Issue 4406, pp. 555-559
DOI: 10.1126/science.205.4406.555


The current interest in locating new or alternative sources of energy has focused attention on solar energy capture by crops that can be subsequently utilized as a substitute for fossil fuels. The very high productivity of sugarepane and the fact that it accumulates sugars that are directly fermentable to alcohol may have caused seemingly less productive crops to be overlooked. We show here that recoverable alcohol from achievable commercial yields of pineapple can actually equal that of sugarcane, with the pineapple crop requiring only a fraction of the water used by sugarcane. Pineapple is well adapted to the subhumid or semiarid tropics and thus is particularly well suited for exploiting large areas not now under cultivation with any crop of commercial value.