Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy




Crop Production and Physiology; Biorenewable Resources and Technology

First Advisor

Kenneth Moore


Producing natural fibers to replace finite synthetic fibers is a good strategy to move from a petroleum-based society to a bioeconomy. Kenaf (Hibiscus cannabinus L.) has been identified as a promising multi-purpose crop that could have potential to grow in the Midwest. It is critical to determine the varieties and management practices that are optimal to produce high quantity and quality of kenaf fibers in Iowa, where corn and soybean are prevalent. Information regarding its potential for biofuel is scarce and requires to be investigated. Finally, consequences of including kenaf in traditional cropping systems on soil quality need to be studied in this area of the U.S.

In the first study (Chapter 2), we demonstrated that ‘Tainung 2’ and ‘Whitten’ were the most promising in Iowa. Also, when its biomass was pyrolyzed, kenaf could have potential in the production of levoglucosan that can be further upgraded into ethanol. Our second study (Chapter 3) showed that it exists an optimal combination of management practices that influenced kenaf productivity and morphology. In the third study (Chapter 4), we found that N fertilization does not have any influence on kenaf stem production. However, N and other agricultural practices did influence morphology and composition. Our fourth study (Chapter 5) investigated kenaf productivity in Iowa and Kentucky. The results showed that Kentucky has more potential than Iowa, but that kenaf production in Iowa was less variable than in Kentucky. Finally, in our fifth study (Chapter 6), we developed a model in APSIM for kenaf, which was used to analyze the effects of kenaf inclusion in corn-soybean systems on soil quality. Overall, this work showed that kenaf could be a promising alternative crop in Iowa.


Copyright Owner

Marie Bourguignon



File Format


File Size

281 pages