Extreme climatic events will reduce the production of staple food crops such as wheat. This will pose a serious threat to food security. Therefore, scientists are studying crops that will better cope with drought and heat. N queue – African millet.
Scientists have been studying crops that adapt to global warming for several years. The latest work in this direction was presented by an international group led by Wolfram Wekvert from the University of Vienna. She made a comparative physiological and molecular analysis of wheat and pearl millet in drought conditions. It turned out that millet copes with warming and droughts better than wheat. The research is published in the journal Frontiers in Plant Science.
Pearl millet (Cenchrus americanus) is commonly known as Pennisetum glaucum – African millet, or American pinnate. This is an annual herb with a height of 3 to 4 m. Its root penetrates into the soil to a depth of 3.6 m, while 80% of the root mass is located at a depth of 10 cm.The seed fruit contains from 1000 to 3000 grains up to 5 mm in diameter, white, yellow, red or black.
The plant is native to tropical Africa, where it was cultivated 4900 years ago. As a cultivated plant, it got across the Arabian Peninsula to India and Burma, where it is widely cultivated in the arid tropics at an altitude of 800 to 1800 m above sea level.
“Pearl millet is an important grain crop, containing the same or better nutrients as wheat, higher in zinc and iron,” emphasizes Wolfram Weckwerth of the Department of Functional and Evolutionary Ecology at the University of Vienna and head of the study.
In his Laboratory of Molecular Systems Biology (MOSYS), he worked closely with scientists from the University of Oviedo to closely study the resistance of plants to drought and heat stress. Spain), National Institute of Biology, Ljubljana (Slovenia), IROST Tehran (Iran) and ICRISAT Group (India) CEGSB.
It is an underutilized culture, despite its characteristics.
When it comes to resilience to climatic stressors, water is a critical parameter. It is also warm, especially during periods of prolonged drought. During the experiments of scientists, millet coped with all these factors better than wheat.