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Quinoa - Evolution and future perspectives

Alandia G., Odone A., Rodriguez J.P., Bazile D., Condori B.. 2021. In : Schmöckel Sandra (ed.). The quinoa genome. Cham : Springer, p. 179-195. (Compendium of Plant Genomes).

DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-65237-1_11

Quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa, Willd.) is a high-quality protein grain originating in the Andean region. Once a staple of the Incas, from being unknown in the rest of the world, this grain has recently become a global commodity. This is largely due to its nutritional qualities and adaptation to a wide range of environments. While the majority of quinoa is produced in South America, especially in Peru, Bolivia and Ecuador, production is increasingly spreading across the globe. The production in the area of origin of this grain is becoming increasingly intensive and replacing traditional smallholder production. The International Year of Quinoa catalysed the growth of quinoa in 2013 and led to an increased demand, production and research of quinoa worldwide. Nutrition qualities that made quinoa popular are the high-quality protein, a range of functionalities related to the nutrients contained in this grain, besides being a gluten free food. Quinoa is well adapted to different latitudes and production under marginal conditions such as drought or salinity. These qualities are used by breeders to develop high yielding cultivars for their regions. New food products containing quinoa are in continuous development. Additionally, this high-quality protein grain with low glycemic index is promoted as a healthy food for celiac and diabetic patients and in the recent vegan, vegetarian or flexitarian diets. Future perspectives for quinoa point to the expected increase of its production around the world. Environmentally, this can bring positive benefits. It represents a nutritious crop for areas affected by climate change. Quinoa also constitutes an alternative to meat that reduces greenhouse gas emissions, furthermore, using this grain increases the use of biodiversity. There are a number of challenges to be addressed, in particular with regards to research into abiotic and biotic stresses, development of new cultivars, saponin reduction and ensuring recognition and fair sharing of genetic materials.

Mots-clés : chenopodium quinoa; quinoa; plante alimentaire; alimentation humaine; histoire; qualité des aliments; commercialisation; système de production

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