Sorghum is a widely consumed cereal stapled in sub-tropical and semi-arid regions of Africa and Asia. Sorghum is the second cheapest source of energy and micronutrients (after pearl millet). Micronutrient malnutrition, primarily the result of diets poor in bio-available vitamins and minerals, causes health problems, especially among women and children. Biofortification wherever possible, is a cost effective and sustainable solution for tackling the micronutrient deficiencies as the intake of micronutrients is on a continuing basis with no additional costs to the consumer. ICRISAT is working on sorghum biofortification for enhancing Fe and Zn contents of the grain. Large variability for grain Fe and Zn contents was found from assessment of core germplasm collections (over 2200), and from these, promising donors were identified for further improvement. Significant positive association observed between grain Fe and Zn contents indicated that it is feasible to develop high Fe and Zn containing cultivars with high yielding and different maturity backgrounds. The commercial sorghum cultivars (66) currently being cultivated by the farmers in India, were evaluated to identify high Fe and Zn cultivars in adapted backgrounds. Identification of commercial cultivars with high grain Fe and Zn content would help in wider dissemination of the cultivars to complement the on-going efforts for combating the micronutrient malnutrition.
Ashok Kumar, A.; Reddy, B.V.S.; Ramaiah, B.; Sahrawat, K.L.; Pfeiffer, W.H. Genetic Variability and Character Association for Grain Iron and Zinc Contents in Sorghum Germplasm Accessions and Commercial Cultivars. European Journal of Plant Science and Biotechnology (2012) 6 (Special Issue 1) 66-70.