Nutrient, water, and soil type mangement of biofuel feedstock production by corn, sorghum, and switchgrass

PhD Dissertation:

Roland Ahouelete Yaovi Holou (2010). Nutrient, water, and soil type mangement of biofuel feedstock production by corn, sorghum, and switchgrass. University of Missouri–Columbia (USA). Degree Doctor of Philosophy In Plant, Insect, and Microbial Sciences (Plant Biology and Genetics).

Dissertation Main Advisor: Prof Gene Stevens, 

Co-Advisor: Prof Bill Folk

PDF of the  PhD Dissertation
ABSTRACT: Efficient use of biomass to produce biofuel and the development of more drought tolerant crops can contribute to helping address current and future problems faced by mankind, and are the focus of this dissertation. Objectives of experiments done in Portageville, Missouri, from 2007 to 2009 were to: (1) determine the effect of nitrogen (N) fertilization rate on the grain yield, the content and yield of oil, protein, starch, and the nutrient removal by corn; (2) determine the effect of N fertilization rate and the soil type on the biomass, juice, bagasse, sugars yield, and the nutrient removal by sweet sorghum; and to (3) determine the best date to harvest switchgrass in order to maximize biomass production with minimum nutrient removal. We found that in contrast to sweet sorghum, corn required 179 to 224 kg N ha-1 for maximum corn grain yield. Sweet sorghum mostly responded to N fertilization only on clay soil; loam and sand soils had enough N when planted in a cotton/soybean rotation. However, the soil type and N rate highly impacted a variety of sweet sorghum yields, with the optimum yield recorded with 67 kg N ha-1 if sweet sorghum is grown after soybean or cotton. N fertilization changed the oil, protein, mineral, and carbohydrate composition of the corn kernel. In general, the increase of N fertilization rate increased the grain yield and also the uptake of most nutrients, suggesting that nutrient removal will be critical for biofuel production from corn. The nutrient removal by sweet sorghum significantly depended on the year, soil type and N rate. The return of the leaves and the bagasse to the soil significantly reduced the nutrient removal by sweet sorghum. In general, the loam is the best soil type to produce corn and sweet sorghum in order to maximize biomass, and carbohydrates yield, and consequently biofuel production.
Switchgrass cv. Alamo produced twice the amount of biomass as the Blackwell cultivars. From July to November the nutrient uptake in the aboveground biomass decreased and their sink was successfully determined. Harvesting switchgrass biomass in late November is appropriate to minimize the nutrient removal, maximize biomass yield and reduce the biomass drying cost.
Experiments performed in Columbia, MO, focused upon beginning to measure the root and the leaf responses of sorghum varieties Tx7000, Tx642, RTx2817, Px898012, and M81E compared to a well-studied corn variety, FR697 to limiting water. Using two systems modeled after the work of Dr. R. Sharp and colleagues, we found significant differences across the varieties. Drought stress significantly reduced the biomass yield and changed the morphology of the roots, suggesting that it can significantly impact the biofuel production from these crops. A combination of the change in the root protein content and the leaf and root lengths correlated with the drought tolerance of the varieties studied.


Book – A continent in tears: The origin of Africa’s collapse and how to reverse it

A continent in tears 978-3-639-76428-4-fullHolou R.A.Y., 2015. A continent in tears: The origin of Africa’s collapse and how to reverse it. Scholars’ Press. Germany. 132p. ISBN-13: 978-3-639-76428-4; ISBN-10: 3639764285.

Abstract: Launching Africa into prosperity: a compelling solution-directed study of African culture, assets, underdevelopment, poverty and potential by a native born African scientist. A deep analysis of the real causes of African poverty and the solutions to launch Africa prosperity with an insider’s review of deeply held beliefs and practices that bar progress. After a review on Africa development, the author demonstrates the importance of human resources in the process of launching Africa. Educational and religious problems are identified. The main roots of Africa underdevelopment are analyzed and discussed: brain drain of educated, creative and innovative citizens; regional and tribal wars; lack of a relevant educational system; common African cultural thought conditioning and the mentality that blocks progress; management of natural resources and how other countries are poaching Africa’s resources; witchcraft and aberrant spiritualism as a deterrent to progress; political and administrative corruption; characteristics of leaders Africa needs; impact of uniting African nations; procreation issues; African intoxication with all things Western that are not in its best interest.Bénin.  ISBN: 978-99919-62-05-4.



Previous editions



BackHolou R.A.Y., 2010. A continent in tears: The origin of Africa’s collapse and how to reverse it. Outskirts Publishing. Colorado, US. 206p. ISBN: ISBN-13: 9781432717346; ISBN: 1432717340. Out of stock.

Book – Failure of the African Intellectuals

Faillite des cadres africains9782296061453r BackHolou R.A.Y., 2008. La faillite des cadres et intellectuels africains. Editions l’Harmattan. Collection Points de vue. Paris, France. 332p. ISBN 978-2-296-06145-3. 

Abstract: Since the era of slavery and colonialism, African intellectuals have been thinking about ways to develop themselves and their continent, but they have not found a definitive solution to their misery yet. It is imperative to reflect on the roots of the evils and problems affecting these intellectuals, then enlighten people and nations so that positive reforms can be undertaken to advance the Africans and better equip/empower them to meet their developmental challenges. After thoroughly reviewing how foreign powers weakens and seek to control Africa, this book analyzes the real problems and solutions of the African intellectuals, the main resource that needs to be unleashed to sustainably develop Africa from within.

Book – Biography of Prof Brice Sinsin

Holou R.A.Y., 2015. Biographie de Brice Augustin Sinsin : Vie, succès, et secrets d’un intellectuel et développeur Africain. Éditions l’Harmattan. ISBN 978-2-343-06478-9. Paris, France. 300 pages.

Abstract: The 18 chapters of that book revealed the true facets and secrets of his masterful journey. Indeed, Brice Sinsin is a Beninese, a beloved father, a tireless leader, a rigorous developer, a generous educator, an undeniable reformer, and a proven scientist that has braved everything in his life, from childhood to the top of modern science where the sweat of his brow raised him to an internationally acclaimed reputation. Forerunner of a new approach to science policy for the emergence and development of nations, Prof Brice Sinsin is a model that all generations are invited to imitate and seek to surpass. His biography explains how this Beninese works on the basis of principles and passions that hide the code of his success that many seek to emulate without wanting to pay the price. In the 300 page biography, Prof Sinsin also proposes strategies to reform the African democracy and constitutions to suit the needs of the African people, learn from traditional leadership systems in Africa, make African countries more national and patriotic, reform politics in Africa and better train the African diplomats. The author ended the biography with a critical conclusion and a fervent prayer. To get your copy of the biography, please click here. To learn more, please click on this article: Brice Augustin Sinsin: The Famous Intellectual and Developer that the Diaspora and their Stakeholders Must Know

Book – The Most Influential Contemporary African Diaspora Leaders.

Holou R.A.Y. 2016. The Most Influential Contemporary African Diaspora Leaders. ISBN: 978-1-52460-559-9. USA. 336p.

Abstract: In this comprehensive reference and background book, Dr. Roland Holou  (  highlights the lives, visions, achievements, policies, and strategies of exceptional contemporary African Diaspora leaders across the globe. This inspirational collection of biographies motivates, challenges, and encourages current and future generations of people of African descent to take initiative and offers guidance to those interested in Africa’s development. It enlightens and empowers readers with stories that showcase the diversity, complexity, and richness of the ongoing global African Diaspora engagement efforts. It also presents powerful accounts of experiences, growth, struggle, failure, and success that will provoke interest in the field of Diaspora engagement and inspire readers to stand up and face life’s many challenges. The featured leaders are known for their long-lasting achievements. Their impressive actions both contributed to important historical movements that significantly shaped and transformed the lives and history of people of African descent and removed major roadblocks preventing the prosperity of Africa and its Diaspora. They have brought about enormous and rare progress that would have been impossible without their leadership; their contributions have greatly improved the freedom and economic and political development of Africa and its Diaspora. If you are interested in learning the secrets of these modern leaders who have accomplished outstanding tasks and demonstrated professional excellence and character while performing duties related to Africa and its Diaspora, then this is the book for you. Since influence can have negative effects as well, this book also addresses destructive actions of certain leaders that are pulling down both Africa and its people.

The Most Influential Contemporary African Diaspora Leaders