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ARS Home » Plains Area » Manhattan, Kansas » Center for Grain and Animal Health Research » Grain Quality and Structure Research » Research » Research Project #426396

Research Project: Improved Crop Genetics and Processing Methods for Increased Productivity and Nutrition for Smallholder Sorghum Producers in Ethiopia

Location: Grain Quality and Structure Research

Project Number: 3020-43440-001-02-R
Project Type: Reimbursable Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Apr 1, 2014
End Date: Jul 22, 2018

Overall objective: Improve crop genetics, production practices and processing methods for increased productivity and nutrition of sorghum. Specific Objectives: 1) Development and systematic evaluation of core sorghum germplasm population from Ethiopia 2) Develop and deploy high yielding locally adapted sorghum varieties/hybrids with enhanced nutritional value for improved health and nutrition for smallholder farmers 3) Develop improved cropping systems and crop management practices to enhance smallholder productivity and food security 4) Optimize traditional food processing methods for increased availability of proteins and calories in sorghum based diets

This project will bring together relevant disciplines in the sorghum value chain and will be implemented in an integrated scheme. A team of scientists from US land grant universities, USDA-ARS and partner institutions in Ethiopia will work together. Genetic sources of tolerance to heat and drought stress, Striga resistance, sources of superior grain and nutritional quality identified in the previous INTSORMIL-CRSP funding will be integrated with high yield potential sources from adapted germplasm to develop varieties/hybrids that combine multiple desirable traits to enhance productivity and nutrition. For Objective 1, core germplasm population representing wide sorghum geography in the country, diverse forms of cultivation and utilization, and morpho-agronomic diversity will be systematically assembled. The population will be systematically evaluated for all relevant traits beginning the 2015 main season. For Objective 2, a series of advanced breeding lines (100-200 lines) from Purdue and Kansas State Universities, the Ethiopian national and regional research programs, and locally adapted landraces of known end use quality and agronomic value, will be characterized for major physical and chemical grain quality attributes such as grain size and shape, hardness, and starch structure. Standard lines of known starch composition (waxy and hetero waxy genotypes), high lysine germplasm sources (naturally occurring and artificially induced mutants) will be included as control entries. The samples will also be characterized for key nutritional quality parameters primarily protein content, protein digestibility, and presence of anti-nutritional factors such as phytic acid, protease and amylase inhibitors, and tannin. Moreover, flour samples (cooked and uncooked) from each of the test entries will be evaluated for the presence and activity of protease inhibitors. For Objective 3, a combination of sorghum varieties and legumes will be evaluated in different planting arrangements (various sorghum and legume population and spacing patterns) in the east (Hararghe) and north (Wollo & Tigray) sorghum belts in Ethiopia. Optimal cropping system that maximizes system productivity and economic return, saves water or improves water use efficiency and also improves/maintains soil fertility will be advanced and recommended for wide use. For Objective 4, landraces of various utilization characteristics as defined by local users, improved varieties of different agronomic and grain quality characteristics and new breeding lines from both US PI institutions and the Ethiopian sorghum breeding program will be assembled and multiplied. The genotypes will be first characterized for various physico-chemical and nutritional quality attributes including endosperm texture (soft and hard endosperm types), starch structure (waxy vs. non waxy), grain sizes and color (red, white, tan, pigmented) and nutritional profile (protein content, protein digestibility, and PI activity, phytic acid level, ect). Grain samples from all genotypes will be subjected to various combinations of processing treatments which includes water soaking, decortication, malting, germination, fermentation, etc