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Nitrosorg : A research program dedicated to develop tools for improving grain quality (protein content and digestibility) and adapted to poultry feeding

Terrier N., De Bellis F., Berger A., Calatayud C., Rami J.F., Pot D., Mameri H., Morel M.H., Recoules E., Trotereau A., Gourichon D., Deveau Q., Jeanson P., Alcouffe J., Dufour P., Melkior S., Pampouille E., Bonnal L., Bastianelli D.. 2021. Toulouse : s.n., 1 p.. European Congress of Sorghum. 3, 2021-10-12/2021-10-13, Toulouse (France).

The NitroSorg project is funded by CASDAR, Ministère de l'Agriculture et de l'Alimentation, France. It involves INRAE and CIRAD through the participation of the AGAP, IATE, BOA research units and the PEAT Experimental Unit, the Eurosorgho and RAGT2n seed companies, and the technical institute ITAVI. Although the SELMET research unit does not benefit directly of financial support of the project, it provides its expertise on feed quality phenotyping tools to the consortium. Nitrosorg will begin in 2022 and will last 42 months. It brings together a multidisciplinary consortium of biologists, geneticists, breeders, biochemists and poultry feed specialists to better understand the establishment of sorghum grain quality for poultry feeding and contribute to the development of breeding tools to optimize breeding efficiency for this target. Indeed, the low digestibility of sorghum grain proteins by gastrointestinal proteases, which has the particularity of decreasing even further after cooking, represents an important obstacle to a wider use of sorghum for feed but also for human nutrition. This low digestibility can be attributed to the interaction of proteins with other grain compounds such as starch or tannins, but is mainly related to the structure and properties of the storage proteins of sorghum grain (kafirins). One of the objectives of this project is to develop high-throughput characterization tools for the protein content and digestibility, but also starch and tannin content and endosperm texture that can affect this digestibility. The consortium will mobilize these tools to characterize the current European varietal offer, a panel representing the worldwide diversity, and the parental lines of the partner's breeding programs. Finally, we will carry, on a smaller panel of genotypes, an analysis of kafirin composition, and an exhaustive analysis of in vitro and in vivo protein digestibility (as part of poultry feeding). These analyses should allow us to assess the relevance of the high-throughput screening tools developed and will lead to the definition of the target ideotypes for poultry feeding. In the long term, these results will contribute to the development of grain sorghum varieties with a better protein content and digestibility, and therefore an improved nutritional value.

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