2015. I. Proietti, C. Frazzoli, A. Mantovani. Exploiting nutritional value of staple foods in world’s semi-arid areas: risks and benefits, challenges andopportunities of sorghum. Healthcare, 3, 172-193
Sorghum (Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench) is a drought-resistant crop and an important food resource in terms of nutritional as well as social-economic values, especially in semi-arid environments. Cultivar selection and processing methods have been observed to impact on composition and functional and nutritional value of sorghum. Amino acid imbalance, cyanogenic glycosides, endogenous anti-nutrients, mycotoxins and toxic elements are among factors impairing its nutritional value. This paper reviews possible approaches (varieties selection, production practices, cooking processes) to improve the benefits-to–risks balance of sorghum meal, to mitigate the risk of deficienciesand/or imbalances and to improve effects on human nutrition. Opportunity for avoiding dietary diversification in highsorghum consumers is also discussed, e.g., tryptophan and niacin deficits potentially related to pellagra, orunavailability of proteins and divalent cations (e.g., Fe, Zn) due to the antinutrient activity of phytic acid and tannins. As potential candidate for production investments, the role of sorghum in preserving biological diversity is alsoconsidered.