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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Tifton, Georgia » Crop Genetics and Breeding Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #150804

Title: SORGHUM AND PEARL MILLET - HEALTH FOODS AND INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTS IN DEVELOPED COUNTRIES

Author
item Dahlbert, Jeff
item Wilson, Jeffrey - Jeff
item Snyder, Tim

Submitted to: Expert Meeting on Alternative Uses of Sorghum and Pearl Millet in Asia, Andhra Pradesh, India
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/10/2004
Publication Date: 7/5/2004
Citation: Dahlbert, J., Wilson, J.P., Snyder, T. 2004. Sorghum and pearl millet - health foods and industrial products in developed countries. Expert Meeting on Alternative Uses of Sorghum and Pearl Millet in Asia, India. ISBN 92-9066-471-1, p. 42-59.

Interpretive Summary: Market demand should drive product development research. Successful technology transfer from research to the end-user requires development of a superior product, scale-appropriate production technologies, and a broad market demand. Value of sorghum and pearl millet grain are currently defined by demands for livestock and poultry feed, and ethanol production. Livestock and industrial uses will continue to be important market outlets, but the crops have other important qualities that could be used in processed foods. The grains have inherently low levels of naturally occurring mycotoxins. Certain varieties have high levels of antioxidants in the bran. Their starches have a low glycaemic index which is beneficial for diabetics, and is gluten-free so they can be safely eaten by gluten-intolerant celiacs. Food products with several health benefits could result from these grains. Current processing systems are capable of utilizing these grains. The major factor limiting their use in food systems is the unavailability of a high-quality, reliable supply of these grains. The nutritional characteristics of these grains encourage additional research into development of new cultivars and food products.

Technical Abstract: Sorghum and pearl millet are important staples to millions of people world-wide. The use of these cereals in the developed world has been primarily restricted to animal feed and little work has been done to evaluate them in industrial food systems. Recent work has suggested that these cereals possess unique characteristics that have both nutritional and functional properties that lend themselves to the development of healthy, nutritious foods. Both cereals are gluten-free, have unique phenolic compounds, which are being identified as having medicinal properties and contain proteins and starch characteristics that lend themselves to functional food uses that may impact health. Africans and Asians have used these cereals in traditional food products, but are now beginning to explore their uses in industrial settings. Both developed and developing countries have similar problems in using these two crops for high-end food systems. These problems are the foundation that keeps the "technology bridge" from collapsing as research is moved to market development. These foundations are a stable, reliable source of relatively inexpensive high quality grain and new market development in the case of Africa and Asia. Without these basic requirements, development of new food markets for sorghum or pearl millet will be extremely difficult.