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Sorghum is a genus of numerous species of grasses, some of which are raised for grain and many of which are used as fodder plants either cultivated or as part of pasture. The plants are cultivated in warmer climates worldwide. Species are native to tropical and subtropical regions of all continents in addition to the South West Pacific and Australasia. Sorghum is in the subfamily Panicoideae and the tribe Andropogoneae (the tribe of big bluestem and sugar cane).

For more specific details on commercially exploited Sorghum see commercial sorghum.

Cultivation and uses

Sorghum output in 2005.
Numerous Sorghum species are used for food (as grain and in sorghum syrup or "sorghum molasses"), fodder, the production of alcoholic beverages, as well as biofuels. Most species are drought tolerant and heat tolerant and are especially important in arid regions. They form an important component of pastures in many tropical regions. Sorghum species are an important food crop in Africa, Central America, and South Asia and is the "fifth most important cereal crop grown in the world".

A Sorghum species, Johnson Grass, is classified as an invasive species in the US by the Department of Agriculturemarker.

The reclaimed stalks of the sorghum plant are used to make a decorative millwork material marketed as Kirei board.

Sweet sorghum syrup is known as molasses in some parts of the U.S., although it is not true molasses.

Some species of sorghum can contain levels of hydrogen cyanide, hordenine and nitrates lethal to grazing animals in the early stages of the plant's growth. Stressed plants, even at later stages of growth, can also contain toxic levels of cyanide .

In Chinamarker, sorghum is fermented and distilled to produce maotai, which is regarded as one of the country's most famous liquors. Sorghum was ground and the flour was a main alternative of wheat in north China for a long time.

In Indiamarker, and other places, sweet sorghum stalks are used for producing bio-fuel by squeezing the juice and then fermenting into ethanol. Texas A&M Universitymarker in the United States is currently running trials to find the best varieties for ethanol production from sorghum leaves and stalks in the USA.

Species



Hybrids

  • Sorghum × almum
  • Sorghum × drummondii


See also



References

  • Watson, Andrew M. Agricultural Innovation in the Early Islamic World: The Diffusion of Crops and Farming Techniques, 700–1100. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1983. ISBN 052124711X.


External links




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