Overcoming Phosphorus Deficiency in West African Pearl Millet and Sorghum Production Systems: Promising Options for Crop Improvement

Gemenet, D C and Leiser, W L and Beggi, F and Herrmann, L H and Vadez, V and Rattunde, H F W and Weltzien, E and Hash, C T and Buerkert, A and Haussmann, B I G (2016) Overcoming Phosphorus Deficiency in West African Pearl Millet and Sorghum Production Systems: Promising Options for Crop Improvement. Frontiers in Plant Science, 07 (1389). 01-10. ISSN 1664-462X

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West Africa (WA) is among the most food insecure regions. Rapid human population growth and stagnating crop yields greatly contribute to this fact. Poor soil fertility, especially low plant available phosphorus (P) is constraining food production in the region. P-fertilizer use in WA is among the lowest in the world due to inaccessibility and high prices, often unaffordable to resource-poor subsistence farmers. This article provides an overview of soil P-deficiency in WA and opportunities to overcome it by exploiting sorghum and pearl millet genetic diversity. The topic is examined from the perspectives of plant breeding, soil science, plant physiology, plant nutrition, and agronomy, thereby referring to recent results obtained in a joint interdisciplinary research project, and reported literature. Specific objectives are to summarize: (1) The global problem of P scarcity and how it will affect WA farmers; (2) Soil P dynamics in WA soils; (3) Plant responses to P deficiency; (4) Opportunities to breed for improved crop adaptation to P-limited conditions; (5) Challenges and trade-offs for improving sorghum and pearl millet adaptation to low-P conditions in WA; and (6) Systems approaches to address soil P-deficiency in WA. Sorghum and pearl millet in WA exhibit highly significant genetic variation for P-uptake efficiency, P-utilization efficiency, and grain yield under P-limited conditions indicating the possibility of breeding P-efficient varieties. Direct selection under P-limited conditions was more efficient than indirect selection under high-P conditions. Combining P-uptake and P-utilization efficiency is recommendable for WA to avoid further soil mining. Genomic regions responsible for P-uptake, P-utilization efficiency, and grain yield under low-P have been identified in WA sorghum and pearl millet, and marker-assisted selection could be possible once these genomic regions are validated. Developing P-efficient genotypes may not, however, be a sustainable solution in itself in the long-term without replenishing the P removed from the system in harvested produce. We therefore propose the use of integrated soil fertility management and systems-oriented management such as enhanced crop-tree-livestock integration in combination with P-use-efficiency-improved varieties. Recycling P from animal bones, human excreta and urine are also possible approaches toward a partially closed and efficient P cycle in WA.

Item Type: Article
Divisions: RP-Dryland Cereals
CRP: CGIAR Research Program on Dryland Cereals
Uncontrolled Keywords: Phosphorus use efficiency, low-Ptolerance, Sorghum, Pearl Millet, Sahel, Soil Phosphorus Dynamics, Phosphorus Deficiency, West Africa
Subjects: Mandate crops > Millets
Mandate crops > Millets > Pearl Millet
Others > Soil
Mandate crops > Sorghum
Others > Genetics and Genomics
Others > West Africa
Depositing User: Mr Ramesh K
Date Deposited: 23 Sep 2016 04:14
Last Modified: 23 Sep 2016 04:14
URI: http://oar.icrisat.org/id/eprint/9686
Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fpls.2016.01389
Acknowledgement: This article was submitted to Crop Science and Horticulture, a section of the journal Frontiers in Plant Science.The authors sincerely thank two anonymous reviewers for the constructive comments on the initial manuscript. Funding This review benefited from experiences gained in the “BMZ-Abiotic Stress Project” led by ICRISAT West Africa (GIZ Project Number 09.7860.1-001.00) and funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). Complementary Funding by the McKnight Foundation Collaborative Crop Research Program is highly appreciated.
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