Preprint Article Version 1 This version is not peer-reviewed

Breeding Biofortified Pearl Millet Varieties and Hybrids to Enhance Millet Markets for Human Nutrition

Version 1 : Received: 6 March 2019 / Approved: 7 March 2019 / Online: 7 March 2019 (12:08:24 CET)

How to cite: Govindaraj, M.; Rai, K.; Cherian, B.; Pfeiffer, W.; Kanatti, A.; Shivade, H. Breeding Biofortified Pearl Millet Varieties and Hybrids to Enhance Millet Markets for Human Nutrition. Preprints 2019, 2019030092 (doi: 10.20944/preprints201903.0092.v1). Govindaraj, M.; Rai, K.; Cherian, B.; Pfeiffer, W.; Kanatti, A.; Shivade, H. Breeding Biofortified Pearl Millet Varieties and Hybrids to Enhance Millet Markets for Human Nutrition. Preprints 2019, 2019030092 (doi: 10.20944/preprints201903.0092.v1).

Abstract

Pearl millet is an important food crop in the arid and semi-arid tropical regions of Africa and Asia. These regions are home to millions of poor smallholder’s households living in harsh agro ecology and reported higher prevalence of malnutrition. Such poor households have few options in terms of food crops, besides the limited markets. Indeed, pearl millet is one of the food crops they continue to grow for their food and nutritional security. Pearl millet is important sources of dietary carbohydrates, energy, protein, and important minerals such as calcium, iron and zinc. Considering inherent high nutritional values and climate resilient nature (drought and heat), demand for pearl millet as food, beside valued for its Stover as a source of livestock fodder, is projected to grow strongly in Asia (India) and Africa (West and Central Africa). Iron (cause anemia) and zinc (cause stunting) deficiencies are widespread and serious public health problems worldwide, including India and Africa. Biofortification is a cost-effective and sustainable agricultural strategy to address this problem. Research on pearl millet has shown that large genetic variability (30-140 mg/kg Fe and 20-90 mg/kg Zn) available in this crop can be effectively utilized to develop high-yielding cultivars with high iron and zinc densities. Both Open –pollinated varieties (Dhanshakti and Chakti) and hybrids (ICMH 1202, ICMH 1203 and ICMH 1301) of pearl millet with high grain yield (>3.5 tons/ha in hybrids) and high levels of iron (70-75 mg/kg) and zinc (35-40 mg/kg) densities have been developed and released. Currently, India growing >70,000 ha of biofortified pearl millet, besides more pipeline hybrids and varieties are under various stage of testing at the national (India) and international (west Africa) trials for possible release. Genomic tools will be an integral part of breeding program particularly for nutritional traits to use diagnostic markers and genomic selection. Clinical studies showed that 200g grains from biofortified cultivar would provide bioavailable Fe to meet full recommended daily allowance (RDA) in children, adult men and 80% of the RDA in women. Till today, no markets to promote biofortified cultivars/grains/products as no incentive price and such products aims to address food and nutritional security challenges simultaneously. The demand is likely to increase only after investment and integration into modern public distribution system, nutritional intervention schemes, private seed and food companies with strong mainstreaming nutritional policies. In the non-traditional regions, this will contribute to livestock and poultry feed industry as spill-over benefits to improve nutrition.

Subject Areas

Biofortification, Pearl millet, Malnutrition, Iron, Zinc, Market.

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