Sorghum production and promotion of nutritional value needs to be improved for food and feed. Quality of sorghum grain needs to be evaluated by smallholder farmers to ensure value. There is a need for better sorghum protein digestibility. Increased sorghum production and availability of high-quality seeds and grains is difficult to maintain.
With targeted research and technology transfer, this project promotes and enhances sorghum production and nutritional value. Allelic variation in genes that influence grain and forage quality and protein digestibility have been identified. The Protein Digestibility Lab in Senegal is a hub of activity in West Africa for efforts to develop sorghum cultivars with improved post-cooking protein digestibility. The Forage Sorghum Breeding Program in Niger is being used to develop new forage varieties.
Mitch Tuinstra Elisabeth Diatta-Holgate
Clifford Weil Seyni Ousmane Diakite
Kansas State University
Niger - Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique du Niger (INRAN), Université Abdou Moumouni de Niamey (UAM)
Senegal - Centre d’Etudes Régional pour l’Amélioration de l’Adaptation à la Sécheresse (CERAAS), Centre National de Recherche Agronomique (CNRA), Institut Sénégalais de Recherches Agricoles (ISRA), Institut de Téchnologie Alimentaire (ITA)
Niger - Aguié, Bkonni, Kollo, Niamey, Say, Tillabéri
Senegal - Bambey, Thiès
This project expands the team’s sorghum crop improvement efforts through targeted research and technology transfer to promote and enhance sorghum production and nutritional value. Researchers have identified allelic variation in genes that influence grain and forage quality; specifically, grain protein digestibility, modified starches that produce new functional food and nutritional attributes, and improved forage quality.
The Protein Digestibility Lab established in Senegal serves as a hub of activity in West Africa for efforts to develop sorghum cultivars with improved post-cooking protein digestibility. As new varieties are developed, ISRA has been engaging with sorghum farmers and end-users to evaluate the bread-making and couscous-making qualities of grain produced using these varieties as well as their feed value in poultry rations.
A Forage Sorghum Breeding Program has been established at the INRAN Kollo Research Station. The bmr6 and bmr12 alleles are used to develop new forage varieties in the El Mota and SEPON82 backgrounds. Hybrid forage varieties are being developed using locally adapted seed and pollinator parents. AN223 and selected A-lines from the breeding program is crossed with elite forage and Sudan grass pollinators and is being developed at Purdue University.
The crop development activities are producing new and unique sorghum varieties and hybrids with enhanced food- and feed-quality traits. Farmer participation during evaluation and selection of the best new varieties promotes acceptance and production of new cultivars. Researchers are working with seed system specialists to encourage and enable seed production and distribution. Increased production and availability of high-quality seeds and grains are stimulating and supporting the development of new markets.
Sorghum has lower protein digestibility compared to other cereals. The Protein Digestibility Lab established in Senegal by is serving as a hub of activity for efforts to identify genes that control protein digestibility in sorghum. Mutation studies identified two sorghum mutants with 23-37% more digestible proteins than normal sorghum. Whole genome sequencing has been used to discover candidate SNPs for the protein digestibility traits in SbEMS1613 and SbEMS3324. Large-scale mapping studies are being conducted at Purdue University to identify the causal mutations and genes responsible for these changes in protein digestibility. Sorghum breeding efforts for protein digestibility are focused on incorporating genes for improved protein digestibility into locally adapted cultivars. The hl locus is being incorporated into ISRA 621A, ISRA 621B, ISRA 622A, ISRA 622B. The 10 best progenies derived in the Faourou genetic background were tested in multi-location trials. Grain samples collected from each location were used to test and validate changes in grain quality attributes of these varieties.
A new forage breeding program was founded in Niger, at the INRAN/CERRA/NIAMEY facility. Laboratory facilities include a dry lab for seed preparation and a new cold facility for seed storage. The breeding nurseries are being managed at the Cerra Ny and Cerra Mdi locations and multi-location trials to optimize the testing program. The bmr6 and bmr12 genes are being introgressed (BC1F5 and F6) into elite Nigerien OPVs and breeding lines in the breeding program. Participatory plant breeding trials showed that farmers preferred SEPON82 derivatives compared to other genotypes. Brown midrib traits is being introgressed into locally adapted seed parents and pollinator parents for hybrid development.
Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique du Niger (INRAN)