Status of amaranth improvement at the world vegetable center in sub-Saharan Africa

F.F. Dinssa, R. Schafleitner, P. Hanson
Economically important amaranth species include Amaranthus cruentus, A. hypochondriacus, A. dubius, A. hybridus and A. caudatus. Consumption of amaranth grain in Africa is on the rise. Cultivars that could be harvested for their foliage and grain (multipurpose type) would benefit farmers and consumers. The amaranth breeding program at the World Vegetable Center (WorldVeg) develops improved multipurpose lines, as well as vegetable and grain type lines. WorldVeg started amaranth germplasm improvement simultaneously with germplasm collection and characterization in the early 1990s. From 1992 to 2014, the program developed improved lines mainly by selection within the existing genetic diversity. The strategy of farmers’ participatory selection followed repeated selection and purification allowing quick identification of promising lines for release as improved cultivars. Advanced lines developed from the program have been distributed to national agricultural research systems, seed or breeding companies, academic institutions and advanced research centers for direct release and/or use in their breeding programs or special studies. Up to now, 11 cultivars were released in different countries. Amaranth hybridization at WorldVeg started in 2015 generated populations segregating for various desirable traits. Amaranth germplasm improvement at the WorldVeg also involves breeding research to identify desirable agronomic and quality traits required by producers and consumers, and morphological and molecular characterization. The current paper highlights the crop improvement and research activities conducted and achievements attained from 1992 to 2020.
Dinssa, F.F., Schafleitner, R. and Hanson, P. (2022). Status of amaranth improvement at the world vegetable center in sub-Saharan Africa. Acta Hortic. 1348, 51-56
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2022.1348.7
genotyping, grain amaranth, germplasm selection, hybridization, leaf harvest, multipurpose lines, nutrient content, selection environment, vegetable amaranth

Acta Horticulturae