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Healthcare 2015, 3(2), 172-193; doi:10.3390/healthcare3020172

Exploiting Nutritional Value of Staple Foods in the World’s Semi-Arid Areas: Risks, Benefits, Challenges and Opportunities of Sorghum

1
European Commission, Joint Research Centre (JRC), Institute for Prospective Technological Studies (IPTS), Agriculture and Life Sciences in the Economy (AGRILIFE), Edificio Expo. C/Inca Garcilaso 3, 41092 Seville, Spain
2
Food and Veterinary Toxicology Unit, Department of Veterinary Public Health and Food Safety, Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Viale Regina Elena 299, 00161 Rome, Italy
3
External Relations Office, Istituto Superiore di Sanità, via Giano della Bella 34, 00162 Rome, Italy
These authors contributed equally to this work.
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Samir Samman and Ian Darnton-Hill
Received: 24 February 2015 / Revised: 17 March 2015 / Accepted: 22 March 2015 / Published: 30 March 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Close Relationship: Health and Nutrition)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [782 KB, uploaded 30 March 2015]

Abstract

Sorghum (Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench) is a drought-resistant crop and an important food resource in terms of nutritional as well as social-economic values, especially in semi-arid environments. Cultivar selection and processing methods have been observed to impact on composition and functional and nutritional value of sorghum. Amino acid imbalance, cyanogenic glycosides, endogenous anti-nutrients, mycotoxins and toxic elements are among factors impairing its nutritional value. This paper reviews possible approaches (varieties selection, production practices, cooking processes) to improve the benefits-to-risks balance of sorghum meal, to mitigate the risk of deficiencies and/or imbalances and to improve effects on human nutrition. Opportunity for avoiding dietary diversification in high sorghum consumers is also discussed, e.g., tryptophan and niacin deficits potentially related to pellagra, or unavailability of proteins and divalent cations (e.g., Fe, Zn) due to the antinutrient activity of phytic acid and tannins. As potential candidate for production investments, the role of sorghum in preserving biological diversity is also considered. View Full-Text
Keywords: underutilized food; antinutritional factors; contaminants; aminoacids; trace elements; nutrition; agriculture; Africa underutilized food; antinutritional factors; contaminants; aminoacids; trace elements; nutrition; agriculture; Africa
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Proietti, I.; Frazzoli, C.; Mantovani, A. Exploiting Nutritional Value of Staple Foods in the World’s Semi-Arid Areas: Risks, Benefits, Challenges and Opportunities of Sorghum. Healthcare 2015, 3, 172-193.

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