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Title: Carbohydrate biofuels III: Consumptive-use and root yield of buffalo gourd

Abstract

Biofuel provided by the dried roots of the wild buffalo gourd, Cucurbita foetidissima, represents a potential, cleaner-burning alternative to other biofuels (i.e. wood and coal) currently used for cooking and heating on the Navajo Indian Reservation. However, no information is available regarding the plant`s water requirements for growth and viable root production on the Colorado Plateau in northwestern New Mexico where the Navajo Indian Irrigation Project is located. The primary purpose of this study was to evaluate the relationship between buffalo gourd root production and evapotranspiration under variable irrigation as provided by a line-source design. Total dry root yields ranged from 1.6 Mg ha{sup -1} (5.1 tons/acre), and increased linearly within an irrigation treatment range of 371 to 927 nm (14.6 to 36.5 in.), respectively. Peak average daily water-use of buffalo gourd providing maximum root yield was 8.6 mm (0.34 in.) and occurred in late July to early August. Results of this study indicate that buffalo gourd can be successfully grown in northwestern New Mexico when irrigated. Other observations during this study suggest that planting rates for optimum root production need to be established.

Authors:
; ;  [1]
  1. New Mexico State Univ., Farmington, NM (United States) [and others
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
National Renewable Energy Lab., Golden, CO (United States)
OSTI Identifier:
115254
Report Number(s):
NREL/CP-200-8098; CONF-9508104-
ON: DE95009230; TRN: 95:006736-0035
Resource Type:
Conference
Resource Relation:
Conference: 2. meeting on biomass of the Americas, Portland, OR (United States), 21-24 Aug 1995; Other Information: PBD: [1995]; Related Information: Is Part Of Second biomass conference of the Americas: Energy, environment, agriculture, and industry. Proceedings; PB: 1741 p.
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
09 BIOMASS FUELS; BUFFALO GOURD; IRRIGATION; WATER REQUIREMENTS; ROOTS; YIELDS; BIOMASS; FEASIBILITY STUDIES; COLORADO PLATEAU; WOOD FUELS

Citation Formats

Smeal, D., Gregory, E.J., and Tomko, J. Carbohydrate biofuels III: Consumptive-use and root yield of buffalo gourd. United States: N. p., 1995. Web.
Smeal, D., Gregory, E.J., & Tomko, J. Carbohydrate biofuels III: Consumptive-use and root yield of buffalo gourd. United States.
Smeal, D., Gregory, E.J., and Tomko, J. 1995. "Carbohydrate biofuels III: Consumptive-use and root yield of buffalo gourd". United States. doi:.
@article{osti_115254,
title = {Carbohydrate biofuels III: Consumptive-use and root yield of buffalo gourd},
author = {Smeal, D. and Gregory, E.J. and Tomko, J.},
abstractNote = {Biofuel provided by the dried roots of the wild buffalo gourd, Cucurbita foetidissima, represents a potential, cleaner-burning alternative to other biofuels (i.e. wood and coal) currently used for cooking and heating on the Navajo Indian Reservation. However, no information is available regarding the plant`s water requirements for growth and viable root production on the Colorado Plateau in northwestern New Mexico where the Navajo Indian Irrigation Project is located. The primary purpose of this study was to evaluate the relationship between buffalo gourd root production and evapotranspiration under variable irrigation as provided by a line-source design. Total dry root yields ranged from 1.6 Mg ha{sup -1} (5.1 tons/acre), and increased linearly within an irrigation treatment range of 371 to 927 nm (14.6 to 36.5 in.), respectively. Peak average daily water-use of buffalo gourd providing maximum root yield was 8.6 mm (0.34 in.) and occurred in late July to early August. Results of this study indicate that buffalo gourd can be successfully grown in northwestern New Mexico when irrigated. Other observations during this study suggest that planting rates for optimum root production need to be established.},
doi = {},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = 1995,
month =
}

Conference:
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  • Cucurbita foetidissima (buffalo gourd), a semiaridland plant native to the Greater Southwest, has been utilized by humans for thousands of years, primarily as food and medicine. In recent years, buffalo gourd has been the focus of an important domestication program at the University of Arizona. This research has led to 2 main cultural systems, an annual mode for root-starch production, and a perennial mode primarily for seed-oil production. In our paper, over 75 references are analyzed to evaluate the potential of buffalo gourd as an energy, chemical-products, and food crop. Priorities are suggested, including investigation of buffalo gourd as amore » novel crop for New Mexico's developing fuel ethanol industry.« less
  • Buffalo gourd, (Cucurbita foetidissima), is a wild, hot-dry-land plant native to the semi-arid regions of North America. Its triglyceride oil and fermentable starch make it a potential biomass energy source. These products, along with the seed meal and foliage, also offer the potential for cultivation in semi-arid regions of the developing world as a food and feed source. Alternatively, the plant may help to maintain economic vitality in regions such as the Texas High Plains, where declining water supplies threaten present irrigation practices. Technical feasibility, impacts, commercialization requirements, and research needs are discussed.
  • Over 80% of rural Navajos and about two-thirds of all Navajos use scarce woodfuel and low-grade coal for home heating half the year, with coal used mainly as a nighttime adjunct. Serious health problems arise because stoves are old and leak smoke and carbon monoxide. The impacts are gender-biased to women and small children. Respiratory disease is a major cause of Navajo mortality and unusually high admissions to Navajo Indian Health Service hospitals. A 1990 study at a Navajo hospital showed that Navajo children under two years of age from homes with woodstoves are nearly five times more likely tomore » contract acute lower respiratory tract infections than children from homes with no stove. Correctives include improved stoves and fuels. Our previous studies on clean-burning starchy/cellulosic {open_quotes}rootfuels{close_quotes} in Latin America, Africa, and Asia are applicable. We discuss our preliminary work on the Navajo reservation, the current status of household stoves and stovefuels, the health impacts of woodsmoke and coalsmoke from old, faulty stoves, the conditions for growing rootfuel on the reservation, and policy and strategy for coping with the problem.« less
  • Root carbohydrate status of 7d old corn seedlings was altered by seed excision, extended light, extended darkness and removal of the seed piece, while extended light slightly increased the induced rate of uptake. Neither of these treatments had any effect on the constitutive uptake of nitrate. Glucose added to the uptake medium, however, led to a tripling of constitutive uptake and masked any effect of inducing the uptake system. In addition to the results of carbohydrate analysis, and net uptake over the course of induction, results will be presented of short-term {sup 15}N experiments, in which the relative contribution ofmore » distinct root regions to the constitutive and induced uptake will be evaluated.« less
  • The New Mexico Solar Energy Institute has conducted a two-year investigation into the technical and economic feasibility of using the buffalo gourd plant as an energy feedstock in eastern New Mexico. The studies indicate that buffalo gourd is well suited for root production in eastern NM. Buffalo gourd has been shown to be an excellent feedstock for ethanol production provided necessary pre-fermentation processing (chopping of roots) is performed correctly. A model was created to determine the economic feasibility of growing buffalo gourd in eastern NM. It was determined that the net return to a farmer in eastern NM can bemore » higher planting buffalo gourd than many traditionally grown crops because of buffalo gourd's low water and fertilizer requirements. A clearly defined RandD agenda and commercialization strategy is presented and discussed. Buffalo gourd has been demonstrated to have high potential as an alternative feedstock for ethanol production in eastern NM.« less