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Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Collaborative Research on Sorghum and Millet

Development of biotic stress-resistant sorghum cultivars for Niger and Senegal

Lead institution: West Texas A&M University
Award amount: $876,284
Focus country: Niger, Senegal

Sorghum midge

Principal investigator: Bonnie Pendleton
U.S. collaborating institutions: West Texas A&M University, Texas A&M AgriLife Research
International collaborating institutions: Senegal - ISRA, CNRA, CERAAS; Niger - INRAN

This multi-disciplinary research project will include entomology, breeding, and agricultural economics to develop, evaluate, and deploy sorghum genotypes resistant to abiotic and biotic stresses and adapted to indigenous production and storage systems in West Africa. An integrated approach will increase agricultural productivity and economic growth, with attention to human nutrition, environmental conservation, development of host-country capacity, and gender equity.

In this project, sorghum genotypes with resistance to important stressors in West Africa and the U.S. will be selected for managing abiotic and biotic constraints. Sorghums that flower when sorghum midges are not present in the field will be evaluated to develop resistance to sorghum midge. Research on sorghum time of flowering in relation to environmental factors will be used to verify the genetic basis of resistance.

Additionally, germplasm resistant to grain mold and weathering in a range of environments will be introgressed into sorghums adapted to Niger and Senegal. To protect stored grain, environmentally friendly methods including hermetic storage and plants with natural insecticidal properties will be evaluated. Scanning electron microscopy of the structure of sorghum kernels resistant to storage insects will be used to increase efficiency for evaluating sorghum genotypes for resistance.

Extension will assist in teaching farmers to identify and manage biotic constraints in the field and storage. Human capacity will be improved by educating scientists in conventional and molecular research methodology and in graduate degree programs. Production profitability and marketing opportunities for sorghum cultivars with increased resistance to abiotic and biotic stresses will be assessed to ensure farmer adoption in West Africa. In all, this project is improving human nutrition, human capacity, and environmental conservation while increasing productivity and economic growth for sorghum.

Project details

For more information about the project, contact:

Bonnie PendletonDr. Bonnie Pendleton,Professor
West Texas A&M University
2403 Russell Long Boulevard
Canyon, TX 79016-0001
bpendleton@wtamu.edu