SELECTION OF TRADITIONAL CROPS FOR IMPROVED DROUGHT TOLERANCE IN LEAFY AMARANTH: MOVING TOWARDS SUSTAINABLE FOOD SUPPLY
The germplasm of 33 amaranth collections from different local communities in South Africa, as well as a few promising imported amaranth collections were subjected to various screening methods to determine the levels and traits of drought tolerance. Plants use different mechanisms to cope with changes in the abiotic environment, including cellular, developmental as well as biochemical traits. The different screening techniques for drought tolerance that were selected include turgor maintenance (relative water content (RWC) and leaf area (LA)), osmoprotection (proline production), plant productivity (chlorophyll fluorescence during photosynthesis) and early drought tolerance. The five most drought tolerant species were identified and are currently being introduced to several communities in South Africa. This forms part of a project that will contribute to the development of improved traditional crops for food production and quality for subsistence farmers in areas with low precipitation or variable rainfall patterns.
Slabbert, R. and Van den Heever, E. (2007). SELECTION OF TRADITIONAL CROPS FOR IMPROVED DROUGHT TOLERANCE IN LEAFY AMARANTH: MOVING TOWARDS SUSTAINABLE FOOD SUPPLY. Acta Hortic. 752, 281-286
Amaranthus, drought tolerance, subsistence farmers, traditional crops