Sorghum is a staple crop and source of energy and minerals for people in semi-arid tropics of Africa and Asia. Thirteen improved and twenty seven farmer varieties of sorghum from southern Africa were analyzed for grain macro- and micronutrient content to identify germplasm with potential for breeding for mineral dense varieties. Improved sorghum varieties ELT-1-17, MMSH-1040, MMSH-1257 and MMSH-1324 exhibited higher grain macronutrient contents than farmer varieties and ranked high for grain K, Mg, S and P contents. Grain K content ranged from 278.3 to 717.8 mg/100 g, Mg (109 to 224.1 mg/100 g), S (112.5 to 275.3 mg/100 g), and grain P content ranged from 195.1 to 468.5 mg/100 g. Farmer varieties showed superiority for grain Fe content that ranged from 2.74 to 8.18 mg/100 g (ZMB5788, MW734, TZ4255) and grain Zn content ranging from 2.03 to 5.53 mg/100 g (TZ4031, TZ3966 and ZMB7111).Sorghum varieties with brown grains exhibited significant higher grain content for grain Ca, K and B than white grained varieties. Most promising improved varieties for high grain Mg, P, S and K contents and farmer varieties for high grain Fe and Zn contents are potential candidates for replicated and multilocational field experiments.
Key words: Sorghum, farmer varieties, improved varieties, macronutrients, micronutrients, semi-arid tropics, nutrition.
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