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

Developing superior functionality in sorghum for food applications to promote sorghum value chain in Ethiopia

Lead institution: Texas A&M University
Award amount: $809,941
Focus country: Ethiopia

Sorghum from Awika's research

Principal investigator: Joseph Awika
U.S. collaborating institution: Texas A&M University
International collaborating institutions: Ethiopia - Hawassa University; South Africa - University of Pretoria

Two major bottlenecks on sorghum utilization for food in Ethiopia’s growing urban markets are its inadequate functionality as a food ingredient and inferior protein nutritional quality (low lysine and poor digestibility). To combat these characteristics, Texas A&M University has developed a set of sorghum parental lines and hybrids that combine waxy and heterowaxy traits (WX/HX) with the high lysine, high protein digestibility (HPD) trait into high performing hybrids and inbred cultivars. The WX/HX-HPD sorghums have desirable end-use characteristics, including more efficient fermentation for ethanol, better protein quality co-product (high lysine) for feed and other uses, and better functionality in batters and dough systems. In this project, Dr. Awika and his research team will test the hypothesis that the improved WX/HX-HPD sorghums will demonstrate significantly better functionality as a food ingredient in dough and batter systems, producing superior quality grain-based products, and that products made with WX/HX-HPD sorghums will demonstrate superior protein nutritional quality for infants and young children from poor households.

The three research objectives for this project include:

  1. Establish the effect of combining waxy-heterowaxy (WX/HX) with HPD sorghum traits on dough and batter rheology, food processing, and quality profile of selected traditional and commercial grain-based food products popular in Ethiopia,
  2. Establish the suitability of the WX/HX-HPD sorghum hybrids for malting and commercial brewing, and
  3. Evaluate the performance and adaptation of the WX/HX-HPD sorghum hybrids in Ethiopia.

Addressing these objectives will lead to development of superior quality sorghum-based food products that will open new markets and enhance the value-chain of sorghum, benefit small-scale sorghum producers and small- and medium-scale food enterprises (SMEs), and limit the effects of poor nutrition in children.

For more information about this project, contact:

Joseph Awika

Dr. Joseph Awika, Associate Professor
Texas A&M University
2474 TAMU - Soil and Crop Science Department
College Station, TX 77843
+1-979-845-2985
awika@tamu.edu