Discipline: Biological Sciences
Subcategory: Plant Research
Room: Exhibit Hall
Abdullahi Iro - Bowie State University
Co-Author(s): Anne Osano, Bowie State University, Bowie, Maryland;Joshua Ogendo, Egerton University, Njoro, Kenya;Paul Kimurto, Egerton University, Njoro, Kenya;Anne Amayu, Egerton University, Njoro, Kenya;Vivian Watti, Egerton University, Njoro, Kenya.
Maintaining food security has become a burgeoning global problem. As many as 2.3 billion people globally are experiencing at least moderate food insecurity. With an estimated 3.1 million Kenya alone, many children below the age of five suffering from the effects of malnutrition. Neglected and underutilized species (NUS) have the potential to supplement nutritional gaps while providing economic opportunities. Finger millet (Eleusine coracana L.) is one of the neglected crops that for many years has had little or no innovation in agriculture. It was once a part of a healthy indigenous diet, especially rich in fiber while lacking in protein. Its properties also allow it to grow in arid and semi-arid lands and has no storage pests. Despite its potential to serve as a staple crop across many parts of the region, it ranks sixth behind other popular staples such as wheat, maize, and rice. The objective of this research is to increase food security and combat childhood malnutrition across Kenya and the world through the analysis of hormone therapies and nitrogen fertilization on the growth of three finger millet genotypes (U-15, Early Duration, Snapping Green). In addition, a biofortified baby formula was developed and analyzed, using legume bases of pigeon pea (Cajanus cajan) and peanut (Arachis hypogaea). Three research experiments were employed, and three hypotheses were developed: (1) There would no effect on germination rates due to hormone therapy; (2) Nitrogen fertilization would have no effect on root structure and chlorophyll production; (3) Biofortification of baby food formula will increase the available protein content. The first experiment determined the effect of gibberellic acid (GA), 6-benzylaminopurine (BAP), and indole-3-acetic acid (IAA) on the germination rates of the genotypes. Secondly, finger millet baby formula using legume bases was developed and analyzed for nutritive elements (phosphorus, zinc, calcium, magnesium, iron, protein) against unfortified formula. Finally, the three genotypes were treated with varying nitrogen fertilizer concentrations in PVC tubes, then grown to maturity before harvesting and analysis for root structure and chlorophyll content. The results of the first research suggested that gibberellic acid has a significant positive effect on the germination rate of finger millet. From the second experiment, results indicate that while malting has a positive impact on the calcium and magnesium available, there was no significant impact on the available protein content. Data is pending for the third experiment. Future research would include reconducting hormone therapy with a wider range of concentrations. In addition, metabolomic profiling via HPTLC and HPLC for nutritional content, as well as expanding potential protein sources for baby formula biofortification should be conducted. Continued research into finger millet and other NUS is paramount in combating the detrimental effects of food insecurity.
Funder Acknowledgement(s): U.S. National Science Foundation Research Experiences for Undergraduates, REU Site: REU: Global Engagement Research Experience for Undergraduate Students in Food Security: A focus on Indigenous Vegetables and Grain Crops; the "Forgotten Food" Crops of Kenya. (Award No. 1757607; PI-Osano
Faculty Advisor: Anne Osano, firstname.lastname@example.org
Role: I worked with my professor and graduate mentor in experiment design, sample preparation, lab work, data collection, computational data analysis, and primary work in poster. Currently working on paper for possible publication.