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Essay

Domesticating the Undomesticated for Global Food and Nutritional Security: Four Steps

Institute of Environment & Sustainable Development, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi 221005, India
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Agronomy 2019, 9(9), 491; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy9090491
Received: 8 July 2019 / Revised: 25 August 2019 / Accepted: 27 August 2019 / Published: 28 August 2019

Abstract

:
Ensuring the food and nutritional demand of the ever-growing human population is a major sustainability challenge for humanity in this Anthropocene. The cultivation of climate resilient, adaptive and underutilized wild crops along with modern crop varieties is proposed as an innovative strategy for managing future agricultural production under the changing environmental conditions. Such underutilized and neglected wild crops have been recently projected by the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations as ‘future smart crops’ as they are not only hardy, and resilient to changing climatic conditions, but also rich in nutrients. They need only minimal care and input, and therefore, they can be easily grown in degraded and nutrient-poor soil also. Moreover, they can be used for improving the adaptive traits of modern crops. The contribution of such neglected, and underutilized crops and their wild relatives to global food production is estimated to be around 115–120 billion US$ per annum. Therefore, the exploitation of such lesser utilized and yet to be used wild crops is highly significant for climate resilient agriculture and thereby providing a good quality of life to one and all. Here we provide four steps, namely: (i) exploring the unexplored, (ii) refining the unrefined traits, (iii) cultivating the uncultivated, and (iv) popularizing the unpopular for the sustainable utilization of such wild crops as a resilient strategy for ensuring food and nutritional security and also urge the timely adoption of suitable frameworks for the large-scale exploitation of such wild species for achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Graphical Abstract

1. Producing More with Less Resources: The Need of the Hour

The sustainable utilization of our limited natural resources for maximizing the food production [1] within the planetary boundaries [2] is a serious challenge for attaining the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN-SDGs), especially the first, second and third goals namely (i) no poverty, (ii) zero hunger and (iii) good health and wellbeing. Since the indiscriminate usage of a critical resource governing agricultural production, i.e., N, has already crossed planetary boundaries [2], there is a growing concern regarding the cultivation of high-input demanding modern crop varieties under resource-poor conditions. Moreover, the quality and availability of two other inputs vital for agricultural production, i.e., water and land, are already in a thinning state [3,4]. The changing climatic condition is another impediment for food production as it negatively affects the quality and availability of the critical resources as well as the quality and quantity of the agricultural production itself [5]. Since we have to enhance the food production by 70% for meeting the demand of the growing population in 2050, the cultivation of resilient, nutritionally rich, and low-resource intensive crops are of paramount importance for human wellbeing and environmental sustainability [6]. In this context, [7,8] the domestication of undomesticated, wild and neglected crops and exploiting their natural traits to efficiently use critical natural resources such as N, P, water, and land offers huge promise in attaining future food security as they are bestowed with high nutritional value [9,10] and adaptive traits [11]. Importantly, they need only minimal input and care so they can be easily cultivated in marginal and other nutrient-poor soil and even under changing climatic conditions [11]. Here we propose four important steps, i.e., (i) exploring the unexplored, (ii) refining the unrefined traits, (iii) cultivating the uncultivated, and (iv) popularizing the unpopular for the large-scale exploitation of such important but still underutilized and neglected crops for global food and nutritional security (Figure 1).

2. Exploring the Unexplored: First Step

A list of nutritionally relevant, neglected and wild crops for global food security [10,11,12,13,14] is given in Table 1. While it has been reported that about 5538 crops have been used for food by humans throughout the history, only 12 crops contribute the lion share of the current global food production [12,15]. Among this, three crops namely rice, wheat and maize account for >50% the world’s calories [15]. Though there are few estimates regarding the number of underutilized species (for example, Arora (2014) reported 992 species across the world), still a majority of them are unknown to various stakeholders. Therefore, the detailed exploration of such species from various agro-climatic regions of the world is important for identifying the promising species (Figure 2) like cereals/pseudo-cereals, roots and tubers, pulses, fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds and spices etc. and their successful utilization in a dietary diversification program [9,15,16,17]. For this, a well-coordinated wild crop exploration program at various scales (i.e., national, regional, and global) are imperative. For example, Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) has recently started an initiative to identify the Future Smart Food (FSF) crops on a regional basis and have identified 39 nutrition-sensitive and climate resilient crops from South and South East Asia as FSF [13] with the consultation of national experts from Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, India, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Nepal and Vietnam. While they proposed nine species of cereals/pseudo-cereals (buckwheat, tartary buckwheat, foxtail millet, porso millet, sorghum, amaranth, grain amaranth, quinoa, and specialty rice), six species of roots and tubers (taro, swamp taro, purple yam, fancy yam, elephants foot yam, and sweet potato), nine species of pulses (grasspea, fababean, cowpea, mungbean, blackbean, ricebean, lentil, horsebean, and soybean), 9 species of fruits and vegetables (drumstick, chayote, fenugreek, snake gourd, pumpkin, roselle, Indian gooseberry, jackfruit and wood apple), and five species of nuts, seeds and spices (linseed, walnut, Nepali butter tree, perilla and Nepali pepper) as FSFs for the South and South East Asia region [13] for further exploitation, there are many more neglected and wild species to be included and projected as FSFs (Figure 3A,B). For an instance, a detailed survey conducted by authors during the last few years in India (Figure 3) has revealed that there are many potential FSF such as finger millet, kodo millet, little millet (cereals/pseudo-cereals), air potato, turnip, kohlrabi, kudzu (roots and tubers), winged bean, sword bean, pigeon pea, chick pea (pulses), spine gourd, clove bean, phalsa, custard apple, kadamba, chenopodium, brown mustard, water spinach, jujube, ground cherry (fruits and vegetables) [10] etc. to be included in the regional list and thereby encouraged to be exploited them for future food security (for more such species, please see Figure 3A and Table 1). The cultivation of such species are not only important for global food security but also for attaining many other UN-SDGs (Figure 3B).
The application of biotechnological advances for exploring crop diversity like genotyping by sequencing, genotyping arrays, and pangenomics approaches [18] is another important strategy for assessing genetic diversity. Crop genome sequencing can provide insight into genetic variation through the re-sequencing [19]. Jiao et al. (2012) re-sequenced 278 elite maize lines (USA and Chinese maize lines) and identified >27 million single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). Similarly, the 3000-rice genome project resulted in the identification of >18.9 million SNPs [20,21] and the methylation-sensitive digestion of genomic DNA coupled with next- generation sequencing in wheat resulted in ~23,500 SNPs [22]. Furthermore, whole-genome re-sequencing was also done for barley [23], soybean [24], and lupin [25].
However, whole-genome sequencing is yet to be done in many promising but neglected crops and there are many wild species yet to be explored for their food and nutritional significance. For example, exploring the diversity in root and tuber crops are essential for the food security, especially in tropical regions as they are nutritionally rich and widely found in tropical regions [26]. Vigna is another important legume genus having more than a 100 species of high nutritional value for human and animal consumption [27]. Among this, only 10 species have been domesticated so far and the potential of the rest of the remaining 90 species is yet to be explored. Prickly pear (Opuntia spp.) is another valuable fruit crop for the semi-arid regions [28]. Similarly, Indian spinach or Malabar spinach (Basella species), is a resilient, nutritionally significant, perennial leafy vegetable native to tropical region [11]. However, as in the case of many other tropical leafy vegetables such as wild amaranth [10], water spinach, and waterleaf etc., Basella species are yet to be exploited for the dietary diversification program and food security [11]. Therefore, the large-scale exploration of underutilized and neglected crop species from various agro-climatic regions of the world, with the active involvements of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) institutions, Crop Trust, local and national institutions, and with the financial support from Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (UN-FAO), corporate bodies (through corporate social responsibility), Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), and also from concerned national governments, are imperative for exploring the most promising species as well as identifying the current diversity of such wild species.
Applications of geoinformatics tools such as remote sensing and geographical information system (RS & GISs) can be used for mapping the distribution of neglected and wild crops [29] in various agro-climatic regions of the world, as well as modelling their habitat suitability for identifying the most suitable areas for large-scale cultivation [17,30]. Apart from the large-scale exploration of neglected and underutilized species from diverse habitats and agroecological zones of the world, the conservation of promising species is also equally important for facilitating their future utilization [6,14]. The exploitation of indigenous and local knowledge (ILK) along with the successful incorporation of the biocultural practices of the local people are very much essential for applying the traditional mode of conservation (Figure 4), whereas the exploitation of modern techniques for germplasm storage is also essential for maintaining such vital resources for the future use [13,14]. Creating community gene banks at farmer’s fields is an excellent strategy for the long-term conservation of such underutilized species (Figure 5).

3. Refining the Unrefined Traits: Second Step

While modern agriculture aiming for higher productions prefers new cultivars that are developed through selection and fixation of favorable alleles providing most desirable traits, unscientific practices coupled with due negligence results in loss of wild or traditional crops and crop varieties and thereby causing genetic erosion and decline in landraces and ecotypes [31]. Therefore, once the promising wild and neglected species have been identified, developing a suitable crop improvement program for traiting or featuring desirable traits is another major strategy. Though most of the wild species are endowed with many positive traits such as stress tolerance (drought, flood, salinity, heat, pest and diseases, etc.) and able to grow even in resource-poor conditions [5,7,9], these attributes can be further refined by crop improvement by using next generation sequencing (NGS) for genomic selection [32], the identification of candidate loci using quantitative trait locus (QTL) analyses, targeted gene replacement using zinc-finger nucleases and transcription activator-like effector nucleases and also by using clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR/Cas system) etc. [18,33,34,35,36].
The application of genomic technologies [37] was found to increase the productivity of several orphan crops such as cassava, sweet potato, coconut, sorghum, yam, groundnut, common bean, chickpea, cowpea, cacao etc. [18], especially, exploring plant microRNAs (miRNAs) for developing climate resilient crops [38]. Khan et al. (2019) proposed the application of CRISPR-Cas9 for engineering the domestication traits in wild tomato for higher nutritive value and better adaptation to multiple stresses [39]. Pigeon pea (Cajanus cajan) is another versatile, stress tolerant and nutritious grain legume for enhancing the sustainability of dry tropical and sub-tropical system [40] and therefore, the crop breeding programs in pigeon pea has resulted in enhancing its tolerance to heat, cold, drought and waterlogging [40]. Muthamilarasan et al. (2016) explored the application of omics technologies for exploring suitable millet models for developing nutrient rich graminaceous crops [41]. De novo sequencing and comparative leaf transcriptome analysis of underutilized winged bean (Psophocarpus tetragonolobus (L.) DC) has been done by Singh et al. (2017) for removing the anti-nutritional factors in winged bean like condensed tannin (CT) and proanthocyanidin (PA) [42]. Such transcriptomic insights can be used for removing the antinutritional factors (high tannin and lignin content) in sword bean also. Lemmon et al. (2018) enhanced the domestication traits in an orphan crop of Solanaceae (groundcherry) by gene editing [36]. While biotechnological advances have revolutionized the crop breeding domain, there are many other potential species yet to be considered for crop breeding for improving their nutritional and domestication traits [10].
Apart from modern breeding programs, the exploitation of conventional breeding techniques [43,44] is also important for improving the traits as well as economic benefits of such underutilized species [43,44,45,46,47,48,49,50]. For instances, the traditional crop improvement techniques like mass selection, pure-line selection, pedigree method, bulk method, backcross method, single seed descent (SSD) method [43,49], mutation breeding [50] etc. are also essential for (i) improving the yield and quality attributing traits of the wild species, (ii) conferring resistance to biotic and abiotic stresses, (iii) enabling better adaptation by altering the crop duration, maturity/earliness etc., (iv) reducing the anti-nutritional factors, (v) enhancing the non-shattering characteristics, and (vi) improving the adaptation range as well as the photo and thermo sensitivity [43].
Targeted and participatory crop breeding programs [46,47] are necessary for some of the underutilized and neglected species such as Indian hemp (Crotalaria juncea), tarali (Melothria heterophylla), water leaf (Talinum fruticosum), Indian jute (Corchorus olitorius), Indian kudzu (Pueraria tuberosa), winter cherry (Physalis angulata), phalsa (Grewia asiatica), bur flower tree (Neolamarckia cadamba), wood apple (Aegle marmelos), jack bean (Canavalia ensiformis) etc. For this, a globally coordinated wild crop breeding program (including both conventional as well as modern breeding) under the leadership of CGIAR institutes and various national agricultural organizations is essential for improving the traits of potential lesser utilized species and to bring them to mainstream agriculture.

4. Cultivating the Uncultivated: Third Step

As opined by Massawe et al. (2016), neglected and underutilized wild species are a treasure trove for food security [51]. However, majority of such lesser known species are undomesticated, and therefore, farmers are not aware of their cultivation and propagation methods. Therefore, standardizing the agronomic practices (Figure 6) for such uncultivated edible crops is another major step for optimizing their resource use and also for improving the yield and nutritional quality [7].
Though the cultivation practices have been optimized for some of the wild species (for example, pigeon pea [40]; wild rocket [52]; terracrepolo [53]; Physalis sp. [54] etc.), such practices are yet to be standardized for a majority of the neglected species. For example, Basella alba and Basella rubra (Malabar spinach) are two of the highly nutritive, perennial leafy vegetable, capable of growing in diverse kind of habitat (including degraded and disturbed lands), there is no standardized protocols available for the large-scale cultivation of Basella sp. through stem cutting [11]. Similarly, there are many underutilized species yet to be introduced into farmers’ fields (Figure 3A) and many optimial agronomic practices for improving their domestication traits. Moreover, the standardization of inventive agronomic practices is important for emission reduction [55] while increasing the soil’s carbon pool [56,57].
Apart from validating the cultivation practices, standardization of suitable cropping models is also essential for successful crop diversification program. Since a majority of the wild crops are hardy and resilient to diverse climatic conditions, they can be used as border crops, as crop breaks, intercrops and also for multi-cropping and integrated farming practices [58]. Importantly, the cultivation of such wild crops will result in species diversification though multiple cropping and niche compartmentalization and thereby diversify the ecosystem functions and services [57]. Though monocropping system possess only limited traits to perform critical ecosystem functions (e.g., biological pest control, managing GHG emissions etc.), diversified cropping system have multiple traits to perform mosaic of functions (e.g., nutrient recycling, nitrogen fixation etc.) [56,59]. Moreover, crop diversification is also essential to ensure pollinator diversity such as honey bees, flies, beetles, moths, butterflies, wasps, ants, birds, and bats etc. as they are crucial for agrobiodiversity and other ecosystem services [60]. Therefore, internationally coordinated efforts are imperative to standardizing the cultivation practices of wild crops as well as for conducting their multi-locational trials in the various agro-climatic regions of the world, and such efforts must be linked to the concerned SDG targets of the appropriate national, regional, and international agencies for global sustainable development.

5. Popularizing the Unpopular: Final Step

Last, but not least, popularizing lesser known species as a climate resilient strategy for food security and resource conservation as well as promoting their role in maintaining ecosystem complexity to common people is another important step for their large-scale cultivation. For this, well-coordinated popularization efforts at various levels and scales are essential with the involvement of multiple stakeholders such as NGOs, State Governments, Local Help Groups, farming communities, National Science Academies, the FAO, CGIAR and other UN organizations. (Figure 7 and Figure 8). Moreover, the standardization of cost-effective and suitable mass multiplication strategies (both micro and macro propagation) [61,62] are important for reducing the cost of the plating materials and also for the large-scale popularization of such neglected and underutilized species because such mass multiplication strategies will make the cultivation of novel crops profitable to farmers.
Harnessing indigenous and local knowledge and associated biocultural practices of the local people is an innovative strategy for conservation as well as popularization programs. Since the cultivation of such underutilized and neglected species will empower the indigenous community [5,6,7], suitable polices must be framed at the local and regional level to harness the ILK and biocultural practices of the local people for the exploration, large-scale exploitation, and also for developing the participatory crop improvement programs for the extensive utilization of such traditional and underutilized wild varieties for dietary diversification program. Therefore, conducting periodic awareness program for farmers especially women and other marginalized people is important for encouraging the introduction of various underutilized crops in their family and kitchen garden and also for developing suitable models for crop diversification based on such neglected and wild crops.
Developing a comprehensive, integrated and multi-utility database having the complete details of wild, neglected and underutilized crops in multiple languages (such as their origin, distribution, nutritional value, cultivation practices, crop genomics, crop improvement strategies, ecosystem services etc.) is of the utmost importance. Though there are websites and databases for crop wild relatives and wild crops, the content and coverage of them are limited. For example, the website of crop wild relatives only showcases 29 priority crops, listed in the Annex 1 of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA) (www.cwrdiversity.org) Similarly, the global distribution database of crop wild relatives published by the International Centre for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) is another venture having the distribution database of crop gene pools of 80 species (www.gbif.org). The crop Wild Relatives Global Portal (www.cropwildrelatives.org) is another joint venture by Bioversity International, United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and Global Environmental Facility (GEF). The International Legume Database and Information Services (ILDIS) is a promising database for legume species across the world (www.ildis.org). However, as we mentioned earlier, the species coverage in those databases must be expanded beyond the Annexure-1 of the ITPGRFA, and most promising species for global food security, especially from the lesser and underutilized leafy vegetables, wild tubers, wild fruits etc. must be included in the database.
The creation of a national or regional inventory of crop wild relatives is another promising strategy [63,64]. Cultivating wild crops in school gardens and using them for the mid-day meal programs of the developing countries, especially in South East Asia and Africa is another way for popularizing the lesser and under-utilized neglected species [17]. State governments can also play a vital role in encouraging the use of nutritionally rich wild crops. For example, the government of India has proposed nutritionally rich millets as ‘nutrimillets’ and urged for global solidarity in popularizing them by celebrating an international year for millets. As a result, the FAO council approves India’s proposal to celebrate the year 2023 as the International Year of Millets (www.pib.nic.in). Furthermore, the existing 11 gene banks under CGIAR must also go beyond their proposed mandate (i.e., confined to the germplasm collection of a particular crop) and would start collecting germplasms of all uncollected species including wild leafy vegetables, wild vegetables, wild edible flowers, wild fruits, wild tubers etc. for ensuring the current and future food security.

6. Concluding Remarks

Unlocking the real potential of undomesticated and wild crops is imperative for global food and nutritional security and also for attaining many other UN-SDGs. However, targeted crop improvement, domestication as well as cost-effective mass cultivation programs are essential for exploiting their real potential. Therefore, international collaborations under the joint leaderships of FAO and CGIAR institutions, national agriculture institutions and State Governments are essential for the exploration, popularization, as well as the large-scale exploitation of undomesticated crops for ensuring the food and nutritional demand of the global population, and also for communicating their multipurpose benefits to various stakeholders, and framing suitable policies accordingly.

Author Contributions

Conceptualization, P.C.A.; initial draft, A.S. and P.C.A; revision, A.S., P.K.D., R.C., R.K.D., K.K.P., G.S.S., P.C.A.; editing, P.C.A., final approval, A.S., P.K.D., R.C., R.K.D., K.K.P., G.S.S., P.C.A.; supervision, P.C.A., co-supervision, G.S.S.

Funding

Authors have not received any specific funding for this work.

Acknowledgments

Authors are grateful to Head, DESD and Director, IESD for support and encouragement. A.S. is thankful to Jawaharlal Nehru Trust for Jawaharlal Nehru Scholarship; P.K.D. is thankful to UGC for Senior Research Fellowship; R.C. is grateful to CSIR for Junior Research Fellowship. We have the support of Nitin, Gangesh Kumar, Sujeet Bharati, Amit Bundela, and Avinash Kushwaha for field exploration. Thanks, are also due to Principal and Managers of Krishak PG College for their whole-hearted support for this study. Special thanks go to Paras Nath Singh for his kind help and support for this research study. Mahadav Karki, Vice-Chair, IUCN-CEM and Angela Andrade, Chair, IUCN-CEM for encouragements.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

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Figure 1. A casual loop diagram showing various steps involved in the sustainable utilization of wild and neglected crops for global food and nutritional security. (i) Step-1: exploration of various kind of wild and neglected crops; (ii) Step-2: improving the desirable traits in promising species by conventional as well as modern biotechnological approaches; (iii) Step-3: standardization and optimization of various agronomic practices for their large-scale exploitation and (iv) Step-4: the popularization of unpopular crops among farmers, policy makers, and other stakeholders.
Figure 1. A casual loop diagram showing various steps involved in the sustainable utilization of wild and neglected crops for global food and nutritional security. (i) Step-1: exploration of various kind of wild and neglected crops; (ii) Step-2: improving the desirable traits in promising species by conventional as well as modern biotechnological approaches; (iii) Step-3: standardization and optimization of various agronomic practices for their large-scale exploitation and (iv) Step-4: the popularization of unpopular crops among farmers, policy makers, and other stakeholders.
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Figure 2. Exploration and germplasm collection of wild crops from diverse habitat ((a–e) collection from farmer’s field, backyard and kitchen garden; (f) pond) is essential for identifying most promising species.
Figure 2. Exploration and germplasm collection of wild crops from diverse habitat ((a–e) collection from farmer’s field, backyard and kitchen garden; (f) pond) is essential for identifying most promising species.
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Figure 3. Schematic representation of the inter-relationship between diversity of wild and neglected crops, food and nutritional security and UN-SDGs. (A) food and nutritional security increases with the large-scale exploitation of neglected and wild crops. Circle shows various neglected wild species: (1) Indian hemp (Crotalaria juncea); (2) Tarali (Melothria heterophylla); (3) Taro (Colocasia esculenta); (4) Flower and leaves of Winged bean (Psophocarpus tetragonolobus); (5) Water leaf (Talinum fruticosum); (6) Indian jute (Corchorus olitorius); (7) Wild sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas); (8) Elephant’s ear (Colocasia gigantea); (9) Elephant foot yam (Amorphophallus paeoniifolius); (10) Taro (Colocasia esculenta); (11) Indian Kudzu (Pueraria tuberosa); (12) Tuber of purple yam (Dioscorea alata);(13) Winter cherry (Physalis angulata); (14) Phalsa (Grewia asiatica); (15) Bur flower tree (Neolamarckia cadamba); (16) Wood apple (Aegle marmelos); (17) Karanda (Carissa carandas); (18) Jackfruit (Artocarpus heterophyllus); (19) Pods of large sword bean (Canavalia gladiata); (20) Seeds of winged bean (Psophocarpus tetragonolobus); (21) Seeds of vegetable hummingbird (Sesbania grandiflora); (22) Pods of winged bean (Psophocarpus tetragonolobus); (23) Seeds of large sword bean (Canavalia gladiata); and (24) Sword bean (Canavalia virosa) (B) Sustainable utilization of wild and neglected crops are essential for attaining UN-SDGs.
Figure 3. Schematic representation of the inter-relationship between diversity of wild and neglected crops, food and nutritional security and UN-SDGs. (A) food and nutritional security increases with the large-scale exploitation of neglected and wild crops. Circle shows various neglected wild species: (1) Indian hemp (Crotalaria juncea); (2) Tarali (Melothria heterophylla); (3) Taro (Colocasia esculenta); (4) Flower and leaves of Winged bean (Psophocarpus tetragonolobus); (5) Water leaf (Talinum fruticosum); (6) Indian jute (Corchorus olitorius); (7) Wild sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas); (8) Elephant’s ear (Colocasia gigantea); (9) Elephant foot yam (Amorphophallus paeoniifolius); (10) Taro (Colocasia esculenta); (11) Indian Kudzu (Pueraria tuberosa); (12) Tuber of purple yam (Dioscorea alata);(13) Winter cherry (Physalis angulata); (14) Phalsa (Grewia asiatica); (15) Bur flower tree (Neolamarckia cadamba); (16) Wood apple (Aegle marmelos); (17) Karanda (Carissa carandas); (18) Jackfruit (Artocarpus heterophyllus); (19) Pods of large sword bean (Canavalia gladiata); (20) Seeds of winged bean (Psophocarpus tetragonolobus); (21) Seeds of vegetable hummingbird (Sesbania grandiflora); (22) Pods of winged bean (Psophocarpus tetragonolobus); (23) Seeds of large sword bean (Canavalia gladiata); and (24) Sword bean (Canavalia virosa) (B) Sustainable utilization of wild and neglected crops are essential for attaining UN-SDGs.
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Figure 4. Apart from the exploration of wild and neglected crops, conservation of the germplasms of most promising species are also equally important for their sustainable utilization. For this, a blend of traditional (ac) as well as modern (d,e) germplasm storage technologies should be adopted.
Figure 4. Apart from the exploration of wild and neglected crops, conservation of the germplasms of most promising species are also equally important for their sustainable utilization. For this, a blend of traditional (ac) as well as modern (d,e) germplasm storage technologies should be adopted.
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Figure 5. Field gene bank for conservation of neglected and underutilized crops. Maintaining germplasms of promising species at farmer’s field itself is a promising strategy for conservation. Figures shows the cultivation of wheat in the farmer’s field of Rajgarh, Mirzapur district, UP, India.
Figure 5. Field gene bank for conservation of neglected and underutilized crops. Maintaining germplasms of promising species at farmer’s field itself is a promising strategy for conservation. Figures shows the cultivation of wheat in the farmer’s field of Rajgarh, Mirzapur district, UP, India.
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Figure 6. Optimization of agronomic practices and mass multiplication strategies are essential for the large-scale exploitation of underutilized crops. Photographs (ae) shows the various stages of the mass propagation and cultivation of Indian spinach (Basella alba and Basella rubra).
Figure 6. Optimization of agronomic practices and mass multiplication strategies are essential for the large-scale exploitation of underutilized crops. Photographs (ae) shows the various stages of the mass propagation and cultivation of Indian spinach (Basella alba and Basella rubra).
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Figure 7. Popularization of neglected and wild edibles among diverse stakeholders especially women is important for dietary diversification program and thereby attaining food and nutritional security. Photographs shows the various interactive sessions of an awareness workshop on sustainable utilization of wild edibles for the health and well-being of the tribal women conducted by authors group in association with the National Academy of Sciences, India (NASI) and also with the support of Krishak, P.G College, Rajgarh, Mirzapur.
Figure 7. Popularization of neglected and wild edibles among diverse stakeholders especially women is important for dietary diversification program and thereby attaining food and nutritional security. Photographs shows the various interactive sessions of an awareness workshop on sustainable utilization of wild edibles for the health and well-being of the tribal women conducted by authors group in association with the National Academy of Sciences, India (NASI) and also with the support of Krishak, P.G College, Rajgarh, Mirzapur.
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Figure 8. Periodic meetings and community involvements are essential for the awareness creation among indigenous and local community regarding the use of such neglected and underutilized crops for attaining global goals and also for encouraging them to use such species as an intermittent crop for intercropping and crop diversification in family and kitchen garden.
Figure 8. Periodic meetings and community involvements are essential for the awareness creation among indigenous and local community regarding the use of such neglected and underutilized crops for attaining global goals and also for encouraging them to use such species as an intermittent crop for intercropping and crop diversification in family and kitchen garden.
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Table 1. An indicative list of promising neglected and underutilized species such as roots and tubers, cereals and pseudo-cereals, fruits and nuts, vegetables, legumes, spices, condiments, and food-dye agents for global food and nutritional security [10,11,12,13,14].
Table 1. An indicative list of promising neglected and underutilized species such as roots and tubers, cereals and pseudo-cereals, fruits and nuts, vegetables, legumes, spices, condiments, and food-dye agents for global food and nutritional security [10,11,12,13,14].
SL No.Common NameScientific Name
(A) Roots and tubers
1Yams Dioscorea spp.
2Yacon Smallanthus sonchifolius
3Ulluco Ullucus tuberosus
4Taro Colocasia esculenta
5Arracacha Arracacia xanthorriza
6American yam beanPachyrhizus spp
7MacaLepidium meyenii
8OcaOxalis tuberosa
9ParsnipPastinaca sativa
10Cocoyam Xanthosoma sagittifolium
11Elephant foot yamAmorphophallus paeoniifolius
12KohlrabiBrassica oleracea var. gongylodes L
13Wild turnipBrassica rapa var. rapa
14EddoeColocasia antiquorum
15Sweet potatoIpomea batatas
16Indian lotusNelumbo nucifera Gaertn.
17Country potatoPlectranthus rotundifolius
18Wild cassavaManihot spp.
19Indian Kudzu Pueraria tuberosa
20Edible ChlorophytumChlorophytum tuberosum
21AsparagusAsparagus racemosus
(B) Cereals and pseudo-cereals
22Einkorn Triticum monococcum
23EmmerT. dicoccon
24SpeltT. spelta
25Tef Eragrostis tef
26Fonio Digitaria exilis
27Cañihua Chenopodium pallidicaule
28Finger millet Eleusine coracana
29Kodo millet Paspalum scrobiculatum
30Foxtail millet Setaria italic
31Little millet Panicum sumatrense
32Proso millet Panicum miliaceum
33Amaranth Amaranthus caudatus
34Buckwheat Fagopyrum spp.
35Job’s tears Coix lacryma-jobi
36Red amaranthAmaranthus cruentus L
37Pearl MilletPennisetum glaucum (L.) R.Br.
(C) Fruits and nuts
38Maya nut Brosimum alicastrum
39Breadfruit Artocarpus altilis
40Jackfruit Artocarpus heterophyllus
41Wild jackfruitArtocarpus hirsutus
42Fox nutEuryale ferox
43Baobab Adansonia digitate
44Jujube Ziziphus mauritiana
45Cherimoya Annona cherimola
46Cape gooseberry Physalis peruviana
47Naranjilla Solanum quitoense
48Pomegranate Punica granatum
49Noni Morinda citrifolia
50Marula Sclerocarya birrea
51Tamarind Tamarindus indica
52Annona Annona spp.
53Safou Dacryodes edulis
54Mangosteen Garcinia mangostana
55Salak Salacca spp.
56Nipa palm Nypa fruticans
57Monkey orange Strychnos cocculoides
58Duku Lansium domesticum
59Boscia Boscia spp.
60Carissa Carissa edulis
61Coccinia Coccinia trilobata
62Acacia Acacia toritilis
63Kei apple Dovyalis caffra
64Tree grapes Lamnea spp.
65Medlars Vanguera spp.
66Pitanga Eugenia uniflora
67Malabar chestnut Pachira aquatica
68Camu camu Myrciaria dubia
69Dragon fruit Hylocereus spp.
70Brazil nut Bertholletia excels
71Egg nut Couepia longipendula
72Quince Cydonia oblonga
73Yara Yara Duguetia lepidota
74Araza Eugenia stipitate
75Lúcuma Lucuma obovate
76Miracle fruit Synsepalum dulcificum
77Water chestnutTrapa natans
78Indian baelAegle marmelos
79Chilean wineberryAristotelia chilensis (Molina)
80LakoochaArtocarpus lacucha
81KarandaCarissa carandas
82Assyrian plumCordia myxa
83Cluster FigFicus racemosa
84PhalsaGrewia asiatica
85Wood-appleLimonia acidissima L.
86MulberriesMorus alba
87Burflower-treeNeolamarckia cadamba
88Indian GooseberryPhyllanthus emblica
89Angular winter cherryPhysalis angulata
90Manila tamarindPithecellobium dulce (Roxb.) Benth.
91Black nightshadeSolanum nigrum L.
92Indian almondTerminalia catappa L.
93JujubeZiziphus jujube
94MahuaMadhuca longifolia
95Hog PlumSpondias dulcis
96StarfruitAverrhoa carambola
97Bilimbi Averrhoa bilimbi
98Indian coffee plumFlacourtia jangomas
99Common guavaPsidium guajava
100SoursopAnnona muricata
101Spring AsparagusAsparagus officinalis
102Wild pearPyrus communis
103Hill lemonCitrus psedolimon
(D) Vegetables
104Moringa Moringa oleifera
105African eggplant Solanum aethiopicum
106Thorny amaranth Amaranthus spinosa
107Wild amaranthAmranthus viridis
108Brassica Brassica rapa varieties
109Locust bean Parkia biglobosa
110Chayote Sechium edule
111Chrysanthemum Chrysanthemum oronarium
112Bitter gourd Momordica charantia
113Angle gourd Luffa acutangular
114Snake gourd Thrichosantes cucumerina var. anguina
115Indian spinach Basella rubra, Basella alba
116Spider plant Cleome gynandra
117Jute Corchorus olitorius
118Black nightshade Solanum nigrum
119Ivy gourd Coccinia grandis
120Gourd Lagenaria siceraria
121Celosia Celosia argentea
122Dika Irvingia spp.
123Egusi Citrullus lanatus
124Marama Tylosema esculentum
125Shea butter Vitellaria paradoxa
126Giant swamp taro Cyrtosperma merkusii
127Akoub Gundelia tournefortii
128Crambe Crambe spp.
129Cardoon Cynara cardunculus
130Eru Gnetum africanum
131Purslane Portulaca oleracea
132Golden thistle Scolymus hispanicus
133Bitter leaf Vernonia amygdalina
134Cabbage Leaf Mustard Brassica juncea var. rugosa
135PigweedChenopodium album
136Asian spiderflowerCleome viscosa
137False AmaranthDigera muricate (L.) Mart.
138Water spinachIpomoea aquatica
139ThumbaiLeucas aspera (Willd.) Linn
140Sweet neemMurraya koenigii
141Sickle SennaSenna tora
142WaterleafTalinum fruticosum (L.) Juss
143FenugreekTrigonella foenum graecum
144Spiny gourdMomordica dioica Roxb. Ex Willd.
145Pointed gourdTrichosanthes dioica Roxb.
146Sunn hempCrotalaria juncea L.
147Khejri TreeProsopis cineraria
148Sweet leafSauropus androgynus
149Water spinachIpomea aquatica
150TaraliMelothria heterophylla
151Kuda Holarrhena pubescens
152Korla Bauhinia malabarica
153Kawla Smithia hirsuta
154Dragon stalk yamAmorphophallus commutatus
155BambooDendrocalamus strictus
156Wild sennaSenna tora
157DindaLeea indica
158Bharangi Rotheca serrata
159Edible fernDiplazium esculentum
(E) Legumes
160Mungbean Vigna radiata
161Adzuki bean V. angularis
162Ricebean V. umbellata
163Lupin Lupinus mutabilis
164Bambara groundnut Vigna subterranean
165Jack bean Canavalia ensiformis
166Grasspea Lathyrus sativus
167Lablab Lablab purpureus
168Pigeon pea Cajanus cajan
169African yam bean Sphenostylis stenocarpa
170Kersting’s groundnut Macrotyloma geocarpum
171Sword beanCanavalia gladiata
172Jack beanCanavalia virosa
173Winged bean Psophocarpus tetragonolobus
174Cluster beanCyamopsis tetragonoloba (L.) Taub
175AgatiSesbania grandiflora (L.) Pers.
176Broad beanVicia faba
177Chickpea Cicer arietinum
178PeanutArachis hypogea
179Black gram Vigna mungo
180Black lentilLens culinaris
(F) Spices, condiments, food-dye agents
181Makoni Fadogia ancylantha
182Annatto Bixa orellana
183Mustard seedBrassica juncea
184Fenugreek Trigonella foenumgraecum
185Pandan Pandanus amaryllifolius
186Polygonum Poligonum odoratum
187Antidesma Antidesma venosum
188Uer Lippia carviodora
189Rocket Diplotaxis spp
190Caper Capparis spinosa
191Monkey cola Cola lateritia
192Sea buckthorn Hippophae rhamnoides
193NigellaNigella sativa
194CulantroEryngium foetidum
195CorianderCoriandrum sativum
196Wild chiliesCapsicum spp.

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Singh, A.; Dubey, P.K.; Chaurasia, R.; Dubey, R.K.; Pandey, K.K.; Singh, G.S.; Abhilash, P.C. Domesticating the Undomesticated for Global Food and Nutritional Security: Four Steps. Agronomy 2019, 9, 491. https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy9090491

AMA Style

Singh A, Dubey PK, Chaurasia R, Dubey RK, Pandey KK, Singh GS, Abhilash PC. Domesticating the Undomesticated for Global Food and Nutritional Security: Four Steps. Agronomy. 2019; 9(9):491. https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy9090491

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Singh, Ajeet, Pradeep Kumar Dubey, Rajan Chaurasia, Rama Kant Dubey, Krishna Kumar Pandey, Gopal Shankar Singh, and Purushothaman Chirakkuzhyil Abhilash. 2019. "Domesticating the Undomesticated for Global Food and Nutritional Security: Four Steps" Agronomy 9, no. 9: 491. https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy9090491

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