Sorghum is a genus of about 25 species of flowering plants in the grass family Poaceae. Some of these species have grown as cereals for human consumption and some in pastures for animals. One species, Sorghum bicolor, was originally domesticated in Africa and has since spread throughout the globe. Seventeen of the 25 species are native to Australia, with the range of some extending to Africa, Asia, Mesoamerica, and certain islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. One species is grown for grain, while many others are used as fodder plants, either cultivated in warm climates worldwide or naturalized in pasture lands. Sorghum is in the subfamily Panicoideae and the tribe Andropogoneae (the tribe of big bluestem and sugarcane).
Moench 1794, conserved name not Sorgum Adanson 1763
Cultivation and usesEdit
One species, Sorghum bicolor, native to Africa with many cultivated forms now, is a common crop worldwide, used for food (as grain and in sorghum syrup or "sorghum molasses"), animal fodder, the production of alcoholic beverages, and biofuels. Sorghum's cultivation has been linked by Archeological research back to ancient Sudan around 6,000 to 7,000 bp.
All sorghums contain phenolic acids, and most contain flavonoids. Sorghum grains are one of the highest food sources of flavonoid, proanthocyanidin. Total phenol content (in both phenolic acids and flavonoids) is correlated with antioxidant activity as part of the plant defenses against ultraviolet radiation, herbivores, pests, and diseases. Antioxidant activity is high in sorghums having dark pericarp and pigmented testa.
Most varieties are drought- and heat-tolerant, and nitrogen-efficient, and are especially important in arid regions, where the grain is one of the staples for poor and rural people. These varieties form important components of forage in many tropical regions. S. bicolor is an important food crop in Africa, Central America, and South Asia, and is the fifth-most important cereal crop grown in the world.
In the early stages of the plants' growth, some species of sorghum can contain levels of hydrogen cyanide, hordenine, and nitrates which are lethal to grazing animals. When stressed by drought or heat, plants can also contain toxic levels of cyanide and nitrates at later stages in growth.
Role in global economyEdit
Global demand for sorghum increased dramatically between 2013 and 2015 when China began purchasing US sorghum crops to use as livestock feed as a substitute for domestically grown corn. China purchased around $1 billion worth of American sorghum per year until April 2018 when China imposed retaliatory duties on American sorghum as part of the trade war between the two countries.
Species recorded include:
- Sorghum amplum – northwestern Australia
- Sorghum angustum – Queensland
- Sorghum arundinaceum – Africa, Indian Subcontinent, Madagascar, islands of the western Indian Ocean
- Sorghum bicolor – cultivated sorghum, often individually called sorghum, also known as durra, jowari, or milo. Native to Sahel region of Africa; naturalized in many places
- Sorghum brachypodum – Northern Territory of Australia
- Sorghum bulbosum – Northern Territory, Western Australia
- Sorghum burmahicum – Thailand, Myanmar
- Sorghum controversum – India
- Sorghum × drummondii – Sahel and West Africa
- Sorghum ecarinatum – Northern Territory, Western Australia
- Sorghum exstans – Northern Territory of Australia
- Sorghum grande – Northern Territory, Queensland
- Sorghum halepense – Johnson grass – North Africa, islands of eastern Atlantic, southern Asia from Lebanon to Vietnam; naturalized in East Asia, Australia, the Americas
- Sorghum interjectum – Northern Territory, Western Australia
- Sorghum intrans – Northern Territory, Western Australia
- Sorghum laxiflorum – Philippines, Lesser Sunda Islands, Sulawesi, New Guinea, northern Australia
- Sorghum leiocladum – Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria
- Sorghum macrospermum – Northern Territory of Australia
- Sorghum matarankense – Northern Territory, Western Australia
- Sorghum nitidum – East Asia, Indian Subcontinent, Southeast Asia, New Guinea, Micronesia
- Sorghum plumosum – Australia, New Guinea, Indonesia
- Sorghum propinquum – China, Indian Subcontinent, Southeast Asia, New Guinea, Christmas Island, Micronesia, Cook Islands
- Sorghum purpureosericeum – Sahel from Mali to Tanzania; Yemen, Oman, India
- Sorghum stipoideum – Northern Territory, Western Australia
- Sorghum timorense – Lesser Sunda Islands, Maluku, New Guinea, northern Australia
- Sorghum trichocladum – Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras
- Sorghum versicolor – eastern + southern Africa from Ethiopia to Namibia; Oman
- Sorghum virgatum – dry regions from Senegal to the Levant.
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- Luca SV, Macovei I, Bujor A, Trifan A (2020). "Bioactivity of dietary polyphenols: The role of metabolites". Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition. 60 (4): 626–659. doi:10.1080/10408398.2018.1546669. PMID 30614249. S2CID 58651581.
- Mulhollem, Jeff (10 August 2020). "Flavonoids' presence in sorghum roots may lead to frost-resistant crop". Pennsylvania State University.
… sorghum is a crop that can respond to climate change because of its high water- and nitrogen-use efficiency …
- Tove Danovich (15 December 2015). "Move over, quinoa: sorghum is the new 'wonder grain'". The Guardian. Retrieved 31 July 2018.
- Willy H. Verheye, ed. (2010). "Growth and Production of Sorghum and Millets". Soils, Plant Growth and Crop Production Volume II. EOLSS Publishers. ISBN 978-1-84826-368-0.
- "Cyanide (prussic acid) and nitrate in sorghum crops Primary industries and fisheries. Queensland Government". Retrieved 2018-10-15.
- "Sorghum". Retrieved 2018-10-15.
- "Sorghum, targeted by tariffs, is a U.S. crop China started buying only five years ago". LA Times. Apr 18, 2018. Retrieved 28 January 2019.
- "The Plant List: Sorghum". Royal Botanic Gardens Kew and Missouri Botanic Garden. 2013. Retrieved 28 February 2017.
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