Research Publications

  • Sorghum
  • Pearl Millet
  • Finger Millet

Shoot fly (Atherigona soccata L. Moench) is a serious pest in sorghum production. Management of shoot fly using insecticides is expensive and environmentally un-safe. Developing host–plant resistance is the best method to manage shoot fly infestation. Number of component traits contribute for imparting shoot fly resistance in sorghum and molecular markers have been reported which were closely link [...]

Sorghum [Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench, 2n = 2x = 20] is the fifth most important cereal crop globally, and is grown primarily in arid and semi-arid conditions. Major biotic and abiotic constraints hampering sorghum production include shoot fly infestation during early stages of crop development (seedling establishment and early growth stages; but only present in the eastern hemisphere) and terminal [...]

Seven strains of Streptomyces spp. (BCA-546, BCA-659, BCA-667, BCA-689, BCA-698, CAI-8 and CAI-133; demonstrated previously to have potential for plant growth-promotion on sorghum and chickpea) were evaluated for their antagonistic potential against Macrophomina phaseolina, causal agent of charcoal rot disease of sorghum, by dual culture assay, secondary metabolite production assay and in greenhou [...]

Accurate and reliable gene expression data from qPCR depends on stable reference gene expression for potential gene functional analyses. In this study, 15 reference genes were selected and analyzed in various sample sets including abiotic stress treatments (salt, cold, water stress, heat, and abscisic acid) and tissues (leaves, roots, seedlings, panicle, and mature seeds). Statistical tools, inclu [...]

Rural Malians depend on sorghum as a staple food. Despite long-term investment in sorghum improvement, achieving major gains in sorghum yields has posed challenges. We assessed the potential economic impact of the first Guinea-race sorghum hybrids developed and diffused using participatory plant breeding with decentralised, farmer-based seed systems. We compared this approach to formal plant breed [...]

Three sorghum backgrounds [Atlas, Early Hegari (EH), and Kansas Collier (KC)] and two bmr mutants (bmr6 and bmr12) of each line were evaluated and compared for grain and biomass yield, biomass composition, and 2,3-butanediol production from biomass. The data showed that the bmr6 mutation in EH background led to a significant decrease in stover yield and increase in grain yield, whereas the stover [...]

Sorghum [Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench] crop in the semiarid tropics often suffers from post-flowering drought stress, which causes substantial losses in grain yield and stover quality. This research was aimed at studying the yield response of sorghum mini core accessions to post-flowering drought stress to identify drought-tolerant sources for sorghum improvement. Mini core accessions were grouped [...]

Sorghum is a major food staple in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), but its production is constrained by the parasitic plant Striga that attaches to the roots of many cereals crops and causes severe stunting and loss of yield. Away from cultivated farmland, wild sorghum accessions grow as weedy plants and have shown remarkable immunity to Striga. We sought to determine the extent of the resistance to Stri [...]

Many farmers in West and Central Africa (WCA) prefer tall (>3 m) grain sorghum [Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench] for various reasons. This study seeks to determine (i) what yield superiority newly bred, tall, photoperiod-sensitive guinea-race sorghum hybrids can provide relative to an adapted landrace variety across a wide range of productivity conditions, and (ii) the risk of these hybrids failing [...]

Shoot fly is a major insect pest of sorghum damaging early crop growth, establishment and productivity. Host plant resistance is an efficient approach to minimize yield losses due to shoot fly infestation. Seedling leaf blade glossiness and trichome density are morphological traits associated with shoot fly resistance. Our objective was to identify and evaluate QTLs for glossiness and trichome den [...]

Sorghum is a typical short-day (SD) plant and its use in grain or biomass production in temperate regions depends on its flowering time control, but the underlying molecular mechanism of floral transition in sorghum is poorly understood. Here we characterized sorghum FLOWERING LOCUS T (SbFT) genes to establish a molecular road map for mechanistic understanding. Out of 19 PEBP genes, SbFT1, SbFT8 a [...]

Crop populations in smallholder farming systems are shaped by the interaction of biological, ecological, and social processes, occurring on different spatio temporal scales. Understanding these dynamics is fundamental for the conservation of crop genetic resources. In this study, we investigated the processes involved in sorghum and pearl millet diversity dynamics on Mount Kenya. Surveys were cond [...]

Sorghum is one of the world’s most important food, feed, and fiber crops as well as a potential feedstock for lignocellulosic bioenergy. Early-season planting extends sorghum’s growing season and increases yield in temperate regions. However, sorghum’s sensitivity to low soil temperatures adversely impacts seed germination. In this study, we evaluated the 242 accessions of the ICRISAT sorghum mini [...]

Better defining niches for the photoperiod sensitive sorghum (Sorghum bicolor L. Moench) varieties of West Africa into the local cropping system might help to improve the resilience of food production in the region. In particular, crop models are key tools to assess the growth and development of such varieties against climate and soil variability. In this study, we compared the performance of thre [...]

The study of genetic diversity in crops has a strong impact on plant breeding and maintenance of genetic resources. Comprehensive knowledge of the genetic biodiversity of cultivated and wild sorghum germplasm is an important prerequisite for sustainability of sorghum production. Recurrent droughts resulting from climate change scenarios’ in many East and Central Africa countries, where sorghum is [...]

Background Chilo partellus is an important insect pest infesting sorghum and maize. The larvae internalize in the stem, rendering difficulties in pest management. We investigated the effects of Capsicum annuum proteinase inhibitors (CanPIs) on C. partellus larvae by in-vitro and in-vivo experiments. Methods Recombinant CanPI-7 (with four-Inhibitory Repeat Domains, IRDs), -22 (two-IRDs) and insect [...]

North Eastern Ethiopia is a major sorghum-growing region. A total of 415 sorghum landraces were sampled to represent the range of agro-ecologies (three altitude ranges) as well as spatial heterogeneity, that is, 4 zones: North Welo, South Welo, Oromiya and North Shewa with each zone containing 2 to 5 districts. The landraces were genotyped with simple sequence repeats (SSR) and inter simple sequen [...]

Background Sorghum (Sorghum bicolor L. Moench) productivity is severely impeded by low phosphorus (P) and aluminum (Al) toxic soils in sub-Saharan Africa and especially West Africa (WA). Improving productivity of this staple crop under these harsh conditions is crucial to improve food security and farmer’s incomes in WA. Results This is the first study to examine the genetics underlying sorghum ad [...]

Induced resistance was studied in three sorghum genotypes (IS2205, ICSV1 and ICSV700) against Chilo partellus (Swinhoe) (Lepidoptera; Pyralidae) infestation and jasmonic acid (JA) and salicylic acid (SA) application. The activity of plant defensive enzymes [peroxidase (POD), polyphenol oxidase (PPO), superoxide dismutase (SOD), and catalase (CAT)], and the amounts of total phenols, hydrogen peroxi [...]

West Africa (WA) is among the most food insecure regions. Rapid human population growth and stagnating crop yields greatly contribute to this fact. Poor soil fertility, especially low plant available phosphorus (P) is constraining food production in the region. P-fertilizer use in WA is among the lowest in the world due to inaccessibility and high prices, often unaffordable to resource-poor subsis [...]

Pearl millet [Cenchrus americanus (L.) Morrone] is a staple food for more than 90 million farmers in arid and semi-arid regions of sub-Saharan Africa, India and South Asia. We report the ~1.79 Gb draft whole genome sequence of reference genotype Tift 23D2B1-P1-P5, which contains an estimated 38,579 genes. We highlight the substantial enrichment for wax biosynthesis genes, which may contribute to h [...]

Blast has emerged as an important disease in the major pearl millet growing areas in India. The present investigation was undertaken to study cultural, pathogenic and molecular diversity in the M. grisea isolates infecting pearl millet, effect of temperature and leaf wetness duration on blast development and to screen pearl millet lines for resistance to blast disease. Culture characters of four m [...]

Endophytic Trichoderma hamatum UoM 13 isolated from pearl millet roots was evaluated for its efficiency to suppress downy mildew disease. Under laboratory conditions, T. hamatum seed treatment significantly enhanced pearl millet seed germination and seedling vigor. T. hamatum seed treatment resulted in systemic and durable immunity against pearl millet downy mildew disease under greenhouse and fie [...]

Developing cultivars with traits that can enhance and sustain productivity under climate change will be an important climate smart adaptation option. The modified CSM-CERES-Pearl millet model was used to assess yield gains by modifying plant traits determining crop maturity duration, potential yield and tolerance to drought and heat in pearl millet cultivars grown at six locations in arid (Hisar, [...]

Plasma membrane proteolipid 3 (Pmp3) is a gene family involved in abiotic stress response and cellular protection. Here we report cloning of two genes PgPmp3-1 and PgPmp3-2 from Pennisetum glaucum, and characterization with respect to their functions and responsiveness to various abiotic stresses. Both PgPmp3-1 and PgPmp3-2 genes are 171 bp long and encode for 56 amino acid long peptides. PgPmp3 s [...]

Traits influencing plant water use eventually define the fitness of genotypes for specific rainfall environments. We assessed the response of several water use traits to vapour pressure deficit (VPD) in pearl millet (Pennisetum glaucum (L.) R.Br.) genotypes known to differ in drought adaptation mechanisms: PRLT 2/89–33 (terminal drought-adapted parent), H 77/833–2 (terminal drought-sensitive paren [...]

The objectives were to (1) quantify high temperature (HT) stress impacts at different growth stages (season long, booting to seed-set and booting to maturity) on various yield components; (2) identify the most sensitive stage(s) to short episodes of HT stress during reproductive development; (3) understand the genetic variations for HT stress tolerance based on cardinal temperatures for pollen ger [...]

Actinomycetes have been demonstrated for plant growth-promotion, antagonistic against plant pathogens and insect pests and biofortification traits in many agriculturally important crops. The present investigation was conducted to characterize probiotic properties of actinomycete(s) isolated from pearl millet flour and batter samples. A media selective and specific were used for isolation, actinomy [...]

Characterization of pearl millet germplasm is imperative for categorization of germplasm and identification of the desirable genotypes for introgression into breeding programs. The available pearl millet genetic resources from Nigeria, and especially photoperiodsensitive materials or stay-green traits, have so far been exploited only to a limited extent. The present study was undertaken for initia [...]

Crop populations in smallholder farming systems are shaped by the interaction of biological, ecological, and social processes, occurring on different spatio temporal scales. Understanding these dynamics is fundamental for the conservation of crop genetic resources. In this study, we investigated the processes involved in sorghum and pearl millet diversity dynamics on Mount Kenya. Surveys were cond [...]

Pearl millet is a multipurpose grain/fodder crop of the semi-arid tropics, feeding many of the world’s poorest and most undernourished people. Genetic variation among adapted pearl millet inbreds and hybrids suggests it will be possible to improve grain micronutrient concentrations by selective breeding. Using 305 loci, a linkage map was constructed to map QTLs for grain iron [Fe] and zinc [Zn] us [...]

Pearl millet (Pennisetum glaucum (L.) R. Br.) is an important hybrid crop in India. However, to date limited pearl millet hybrid development has been undertaken in West Africa (WA), which is the center of pearl millet origin and diversity and where this crop is most important outside India. Using a diverse set of WA pearl millet germplasm, objectives of this study were to determine the superiority [...]

Pearl millet [Pennisetum glaucum (L). R. Br.] is cultivated on more than 8 million ha in India, ranking third after rice and wheat in acreage. It is an important source of staple food for human beings and valuable source of fodder for livestock in marginal environments. A significant portion of pearl millet grain is also used for non-food purposes such as poultry and cattle feed and alcohol extrac [...]

Availability of diverse cultivars is essential in order to meet necessity of regional adaptation to various climatic conditions and to fulfil the farmers’ need of differential preference of various phenotypic traits in pearl millet. The present study attempted to quantify the degree of diversity in commercial hybrids of pearl millet and to understand the relationship among various phenotypic and q [...]

Diabetes has become a highly problematic and increasingly prevalent disease world-wide. It has contributed toward 1.5 million deaths in 2012. Management techniques for diabetes prevention in high-risk as well as in affected individuals, beside medication, are mainly through changes in lifestyle and dietary regulation. Particularly, diet can have a great influence on life quality for those that suf [...]

West Africa (WA) is among the most food insecure regions. Rapid human population growth and stagnating crop yields greatly contribute to this fact. Poor soil fertility, especially low plant available phosphorus (P) is constraining food production in the region. P-fertilizer use in WA is among the lowest in the world due to inaccessibility and high prices, often unaffordable to resource-poor subsis [...]

The genebank at ICRISAT conserves the largest collection of 23,092 pearl millet germplasm accessions originating in 52 countries. A total of 15,979 landraces originating in 34 countries and having geographic coordinates of the collection sites were selected to investigate the geographical distribution of pearl millet traits and diversity in the collection. Results revealed adaptation of pearl mill [...]

Phosphorus (P) deficiency at early seedling stages is a critical determinant for survival and final yield of pearl millet in multi-stress Sahelian environments. Longer roots and colonization with arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) enhance P uptake and crop performance of millet. Assessing the genotypic variation of early mycorrhization and its effect on plant growth is necessary to better understa [...]

Traits influencing plant water use eventually define the fitness of genotypes for specific rainfall environments. We assessed the response of several water use traits to vapour pressure deficit (VPD) in pearl millet (Pennisetum glaucum (L.) R.Br.) genotypes known to differ in drought adaptation mechanisms: PRLT 2/89–33 (terminal drought-adapted parent), H 77/833–2 (terminal drought-sensitive paren [...]

Three high protein (HP) inbred lines (700112, WC-190 and B-816) of pearl millet were studied for their nutritional quality and the results compared with those of normal protein varieties. The protein content of HP lines showed an average increase of 60% but the starch and soluble sugars together and the fat content decreased by 40 and 20%, respectively. Total dietary fibre of the HP lines was abou [...]

Knowledge of association between traits and heritability is important in breeding for purposes of effective trait selection. Such information on finger millet in east Africa is very limited. This study was intended to determine the association and heritability for 19 quantitative traits of 340 finger millet landraces from Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda and 80 global minicore accessions from ICRISAT Ge [...]

Soil infertility is one of the main factors leading to low finger millet production in the semi-arid tropics of Kenya. About 50-80% of P applied as fertilizer is adsorbed by soil and the amount of P needed to achieve maintenance of its adequate status and influence on other soil properties has not been well documented. An on-station experiment was therefore conducted at the KALROKiboko research st [...]

Diabetes has become a highly problematic and increasingly prevalent disease world-wide. It has contributed toward 1.5 million deaths in 2012. Management techniques for diabetes prevention in high-risk as well as in affected individuals, beside medication, are mainly through changes in lifestyle and dietary regulation. Particularly, diet can have a great influence on life quality for those that suf [...]

Finger millet is an important cereal crop in eastern Africa and southern India with excellent grain storage quality and unique ability to thrive in extreme environmental conditions. Since negligible attention has been paid to improving this crop to date, the current study used Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) technologies to develop both Simple Sequence Repeat (SSR) and Single Nucleotide Polymorph [...]

Finger millet is a staple food crop of many communities in Africa. The crop is highly nutritious and has incredible grain storage quality. Limited research investment in finger millet in the past has resulted in poor yields and there are currently no commercial hybrids. We investigated the response of different finger millet genotypes (Okhale-1, Gulu-E, KACCIMMI-72, IE 2872, IE 4115 and U-15) to t [...]

Genetic diversity of finger millet (Eleusine coracana), a nutritious neglected staple cereal in Africa and South Asia is largely uncharacterized. This study analysed 82 published SSR markers for finger millet across 10 diverse accessions to compile an informative set for genetic characterisation. Extensive optimization compared single samples with bulked leaf or bulked DNA samples for capturing wi [...]

Finger millet (Eleusine coracana L. Gaertn.) ranks third in production among the dry land cereals. It is widely cultivated in Africa and South Asia where soil salinization is a major production constraint. It is a potential crop for salt affected soils. To identify salt tolerant germplasm, the minicore finger millet germplasm (n = 80) was screened for grain yield performance in a soil saturated wi [...]

In this study, genetic diversity in 340 finger millet accessions from Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda and 15 minicore accessions was assessed using 23 single-sequence repeat markers and five qualitative traits. Nineteen markers were polymorphic with a mean polymorphic information content value of 0.606 and a range of 0.035–0.889, with allele size ranging from 148 to 478. A total of 195 alleles were det [...]

DRYLAND CEREALS
The CGIAR Research Program on Dryland Cereals (Dryland Cereals) is a partnership between two members of the CGIAR Consortium – ICRISAT (lead center), and ICARDA, along with a number of public and private institutes and organizations, governments, and farmers globally.
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