Articles

Assessing sorghum [Sorghum bicolor (L) Moench] germplasm for new traits: food, fuels & unique uses


Abstract


Sorghum [Sorghum bicolor (L) Moench] is the fifth most important cereal crop in the world; however, it has a wide range of other applications that are being explored with worldwide interest in renewable resources. The USA sorghum germplasm collection contains over 41,000 accessions that represent landraces and cultivars from over 115 countries. Traditionally, this collection has been evaluated for such traits as abiotic or biotic stress and other agronomic characteristics and little work has been done on the collection to characterize it for what might be considered “non-traditional” uses. Sorghum is a gluten-free cereal and recent research has begun to evaluate it for flour characteristics that would make it more amenable to baking and other processing technologies. New technologies are allowing sorghum germplasm to be screened for high levels of anti-oxidants that show promise in cancer research and glycemic control. In Europe, broomcorns continue to be grown for a unique market. Most recently, various forage accessions have been evaluated for their potential for renewable fuel production. Near infrared technologies have been developed to quickly and cost-effectively screen large numbers of accessions for such compositional characteristics as ash, lignin, glucan, xylan, galactan, and arabinan, all of which have unique properties related to various bioconversion technologies. Given its genetic variability, a known genomic sequence, and a robust seed industry, new utilization of sorghum within the health food market, niche utilization markets and the bioenergy arena make sorghum an attractive renewable resource for future generations.

Keywords

sorghum, flour characteristics, anti-oxidants, renewable fuel, near infrared technologies

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Maydica - A journal devoted to maize and allied species

ISSN: 2279-8013