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''Sorghum'' is a
genus Genus (plural genera) is a taxonomic rank Taxonomy (general) is the practice and science of classification of things or concepts, including the principles that underlie such classification. The term may also refer to a specific classification s ...
of about 25
species In biology, a species is the basic unit of biological classification, classification and a taxonomic rank of an organism, as well as a unit of biodiversity. A species is often defined as the largest group of organisms in which any two individu ...
of flowering plants in the grass family
Poaceae Poaceae () or Gramineae () is a large and nearly ubiquitous family In human society, family (from la, familia) is a group of people related either by consanguinity (by recognized birth) or affinity (by marriage or other relationship). ...
. Some of these species have grown as cereals for human consumption and some in pastures for animals. One species, ''
Sorghum bicolor ''Sorghum bicolor'', commonly called sorghum () and also known as great millet, ''durra'', ''jowari'' / ''jowar'', or milo, is a grass species cultivated for its grain A grain is a small, hard, dry seed, with or without an attached husk, hull o ...

Sorghum bicolor
'', was originally domesticated in
Africa Africa is the world's second-largest and second-most populous continent, after Asia in both cases. At about 30.3 million km2 (11.7 million square miles) including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of Earth's total surface area and 20% of it ...

Africa
and has since spread throughout the globe. Seventeen of the 25 species are native to
Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a Sovereign state, sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australia (continent), Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous List of islands of Australia, smal ...

Australia
, with the range of some extending to
Africa Africa is the world's second-largest and second-most populous continent, after Asia in both cases. At about 30.3 million km2 (11.7 million square miles) including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of Earth's total surface area and 20% of it ...

Africa
,
Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere, Eastern and Northern Hemisphere, Northern Hemisphere of the Earth, Hemispheres. It shares the continental landmass of Eurasia with the conti ...
,
Mesoamerica Mesoamerica is a historical region and cultural area in North America North America is a continent entirely within the Northern Hemisphere and almost all within the Western Hemisphere. It can also be described as the northern subcont ...
, and certain islands in the
Indian
Indian
and Pacific Oceans. One species is grown for
grain A grain is a small, hard, dry seed, with or without an attached husk, hull or fruit layer, harvested for human or animal consumption. A grain crop is a grain-producing plant. The two main types of commercial grain crops are cereals and legumes. A ...
, 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).


Cultivation and uses

One species, ''
Sorghum bicolor ''Sorghum bicolor'', commonly called sorghum () and also known as great millet, ''durra'', ''jowari'' / ''jowar'', or milo, is a grass species cultivated for its grain A grain is a small, hard, dry seed, with or without an attached husk, hull o ...

Sorghum bicolor
'', native to Africa with many cultivated forms now, is a common crop worldwide, used for food (as grain and in Sweet sorghum, 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, Pest (organism), pests, and diseases. Antioxidant activity is high in sorghums having dark Fruit anatomy, pericarp and pigmented Seed#Seed coat, testa. Most varieties are xerophyte, drought- and heat-tolerant, and nitrogen cycle, nitrogen-efficient, and are especially important in arid regions, where the grain is one of the staple food, 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 Africa is the world's second-largest and second-most populous continent, after Asia in both cases. At about 30.3 million km2 (11.7 million square miles) including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of Earth's total surface area and 20% of it ...

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 economy

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 cereal, 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 China–United States trade war (2018–present), trade war between the two countries.


Species


Accepted species

Species recorded include:


References


Further reading

*


External links

*
FAO Report (1995) "Sorghum and millets in human nutrition"

Sorghum on US Grains Council Web Site

Sweet Sorghum Ethanol Association
organization for the promotion and development of sweet ''Sorghum'' as a source for biofuels, especially ethanol {{Authority control Sorghum, Cereals Forages Tropical agriculture Poaceae genera