Project Details

Genetically enhanced pearl millet with high grain iron density for improvement of human nutrition in West and Central Africa

Duration: 01/Dec/2014 - 31/Dec/2015

Donor: CGIAR

CGIAR Research Program: Agriculture for Nutrition and Health

Pearl millet varieties and hybrid parents developed at ICRISAT-Headquarter and ICRISAT-Bulawayo, with high grain concentrations of Fe and Zn will be imported into West & Central Africa (specifically to the ICRISAT Sahelian Center, BP 12404, Niamey, NIGER), and their seed multiplied during the 2013/14 dry season. These high Fe+Zn pearl millet varieties and hybrid parents will then be used, along with pearl millet varieties and hybrids developed in West & Central Africa, to constitute multi-locational field trials that will be conducted during the 2014 and 2015 rainy seasons (and beyond, if funding continues). All trials will be conducted in partial lattice designs having a block size of 6 plots of two rows of 4.8m length, spaced 80 cm apart with each row consisting of 7 hills at 80-cm intervals. Trials will include both local checks and regional checks with an appropriate range of maturities. Trials will be conducted at the ICRISAT Sahelian Center under low-P (no P fertilizer applied, Bray-P less than 6 ppm) and moderate-P (microdose NPK of 6 g per hill, followed by one side-dressing of 6 g NPK just after thinning to the plots to 2 plants per hill, and two subsequent sid-dressings of urea, if rainfall permits). Trials will also be conducted under recommended soil fertility management in on-station trials (at last one per country per rainy season) in Senegal, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger and Nigeria. Ten-gram samples of grain will be collected from representative open-pollinated panicles from each plot prior to harvest of panicles. Dry grain and stover yields will be collected for each plot. Grain samples and stover samples from each plot will be collected for estimation of Fe, Zn, P and Al concentration using XRF, and estimation of proximate analyses (protein, carbohydrate, fat and ash on dry weight basis) and ruminant and non-ruminant nutritional value (in vitro dry matter digestibility and metabolizable energy) using NIRS. The data sets obtained will be analysed and their results used to identify superior entries having high grain Fe and Zn levels combined with good grain and stover yield performance – in specific environments, in selected subsets of environments, or across the range of pearl millet production environments in countries accounting for more than 90% of the pearl millet area and production in WCA. Results from these trials will be used to identify specific varieties that can be recommended and promoted as biofortified pearl millets producing grain that is particularly suitable for consumption by women of child0bearing age, infants, and young children. The stipend and field/laboratory operational costs for the first two years of a four-year sandwich PhD thesis research program for a young Nigerien plant breeding student will be met by this project. If funding is continued for 2016 and 2017, the student would complete his PhD thesis research program, defend his thesis and return to Niger

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