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Tannins in sorghum and benefits focus of university, USDA study
Date:7/12/2012

MANHATTAN, Kan. -- They might be called a blessing or a curse -- tannins, which are present in certain sorghums, contain health-promoting antioxidant properties, but also provide a bitter taste and decreased protein digestibility. To better understand tannins, their role in sorghum and how they can be altered to improve sorghum's use as food and feed, a team of scientists led by Kansas State University and U.S. Department of Agriculture researchers, has cloned the tannin gene in sorghum.

Tannins' high antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and UV-protective functions promote human health, plus recent studies show they can be a tool in fighting obesity because they reduce digestibility, said Jianming Yu, associate professor of agronomy at Kansas State University. Tannins in sorghum also provide a natural chemical defense against bird predation and bacterial and fungal attack in the field.

On the other hand, tannins provide a bitter taste to some foods and decrease protein digestibility and feed efficiency in humans and livestock.

The team was led by Yu, along with Tesfaye Tesso, Kansas State University sorghum breeder and associate professor of agronomy and Scott Bean, scientist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS) and adjunct faculty in the university's Department of Agronomy.

The researchers' study, "Presence of tannins in sorghum grains is conditioned by different natural alleles of Tannin1" was published in the June 26 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS).

Sorghum is an old-world cereal grass that serves as a dietary staple for more than 500 million people in more than 30 countries, Yu said. In 2011, the United States was the No. 1 exporter of sorghum on the world market and the No. 2 producer (behind Nigeria), according to the U
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Contact: Jianming Yu
jyu@k-state.edu
785-532-3397
Kansas State University
Source:Eurekalert

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