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USAID-Feed the Future Innovation Lab – Development of Abiotic Stress Tolerant Millet for Africa and South Asia

Millet plays different roles in food security. It remains a staple of millions among the poorest in both India and Africa. At the same time, its growing value in the food and feed industry offers opportunities for income generation. This economic value is evident in the growth in production in both regions, even if acreage has declined. While among the staples most adapted to harsh environments, productivity gains from increased and broad stress tolerance will be significant.

Dr. Sunita Choudhary

Dr. Sunita Choudhary Visiting Scientist Team 100% Main Areas of Research Drought stress-High atmospheric evaporative stress-Salinity-C4 cereals

USAID – Feed the Future Innovation Lab – Climate Resilient Sorghum

The drier parts of the world are where development challenges are the greatest and market failure is most acute, and few if any of these are more urgent than the ‘Sahel’ region of Africa. Its unusual tolerance of low inputs, especially water, make the cereal crop sorghum essential to human populations in the Sahel, where episodic drought is a fact of life. Despite its importance, sorghum improvement has lagged that of maize, wheat and rice, largely if not entirely due to greater effort invested in the ‘Big Three’.

Trait Dissection

Trait Dissection Within team activities, dissection of physiological traits lay the baseline on which all other activities are built. We focus on understanding the range of plant adaptive mechanisms underlying the crop water usage which can potentially contribute to plant production advantage in various drought stress environments. Regulated dry down Transpiration response to VPD Plant … Continue reading Trait Dissection

Kirkhouse Trust – Benchmarking Traits Controlling the Plant Water Budget in “Orphan” Legumes

The difficulty of comparing crops species for their “drought tolerance” is that “tolerance” is often confused with simple differences in plant water needs. For instance peanut develops a larger leaf area, has longer duration and higher yield potential than cowpea, but needs more water to fulfil its growth cycle. Both peanut and cowpea are considered drought tolerant, but each species fits specific environments where the rainfall and length of the growing season matches their water and duration requirement.

Lysimetric Facility

   Why is it important? Lysimetric approach- the innovation How it works Importance to crop improvement Uniqueness of the facility and    relevance to other locations Re-constructing the drought puzzle The two different angles this research led to Further Why is it important? Phenotyping, or measuring key traits of crops such as drought-tolerance, is crucial in … Continue reading Lysimetric Facility


Phenotyping After the given plant phenotype is reasonably understood and the potential economic value of the phenotype assessed in silico, ultimately, the tools enabling massive screening of such phenotype is inevitable to assist the breeding programs. To encounter the typical breeding population size and screen for the phenotype relevant for crop production improvement in target … Continue reading Phenotyping