Agri Business

ICRISAT develops biofortified sorghum

Our Bureau Hyderabad | Updated on July 05, 2018

High iron, zinc content to address micronutrient deficiency


As millets gain currency in urban areas, ICRISAT has come out with country’s first biofortified sorghum (jowar), with higher iron and zinc content than the regular sorghum.

Developed by the Patancheru-based International Research Institute for Semi Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), the ICSR 14001 variety was taken up under the sorghum biofortification project HarvestPlus.

The sorghum variety has been named as ‘Parbhani Shakti’ by its maiden user, Vasantrao Naik Marathwada Krishi Vidyapeeth (VNMKV) of Maharashtra. ICRISAT and VNMKV has signed an agreement for seed multiplication to let more farmers benefit from the improved variety.

Nutrient deficiency

“It offers a cost-effective and sustainable solution to address micro-nutrient deficiency,” a senior ICRISAT representative said after the formal launch of the seed variety.

“Biofortification is an important approach we take as it is cost-effective and sustainable.

It addresses hidden hunger with no additional cost. Sorghum is the cheapest cereal available in the market,” Peter Carberry, Director-General (Acting) of International Crops Research Institute for Semi-Arid Tropics, said.

All weather crop

Though it was released as a rainy season (Kharif) variety, it can be grown in post-rainy (Rabi) and summer seasons. It can tolerate higher temperatures of 41°C at flowering and seed setting but the flowering may be delayed (80 days).

Ashok Kumar, Principal Scientist at the Institute, said that the new variety was developed through several years of work through conventional breeding.


The new variety has an average grain Fe (iron) concentration of 45 ppm (parts per million) and Zn (zinc) 32 ppm, which is higher than traditional varieties with 30 ppm (Fe) and 20 ppm (Zn) respectively.

“Besides it has higher protein (11.9 per cent) and low phytate content (4.14 mg/100g) as against 10 per cent protein and 7.0 mg/100g phytates content in most sorghum cultivars. Low-phytate means increased bioavailability of nutrients,” he said.

The ICSR 14001 was tested as PVK 1009 in Maharashtra and in All India Co-ordinated Sorghum Improvement Project (AICSIP) trials.

Published on July 05, 2018

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