Market oriented groundnut research in WCA gets a boost with near-infrared spectroscopy

A training session on NIRS at ICRISAT-Mali.

An advanced spectrometer, calibrated to quantify fatty acids, oil, protein and moisture content, recently introduced at ICRISAT-Mali is set to take West and Central Africa’s (WCA) groundnut research closer to the markets. WCA staff was trained to use the Near Infrared Reflectance Spectroscopy (NIRS) for seed quality evaluation.

To meet market demands, quantification (phenotyping) of seed parameters in breeding populations is essential. Groundnut use depends on its composition; high oil content desired by oil producers and low oil content preferred in the food industry. Food producers also demand high oleic acid content to improve shelf-life and for consumer health benefits. NIRS can quantify oleic and linoleic acids, and oil content in groundnut kernels by utilizing near-infrared rays of wavelengths ranging from 400 nm to 2500 nm.

“The use of NIRS will save our time and resources in groundnut breeding program at ICRISAT, Mali, alongside our national partners” says Ms Djénéba Konaté, Senior Scientific Officer, Groundnut Breeding Program, WCA, ICRISAT-Mali.

“It was a great opportunity for groundnut and sorghum scientific officers, research scholars and technicians at ICRISAT, Mali, to learn operation of the NIRS machine. They are confident of putting it to good use,” said Dr Haile Desmae, Senior Scientist, Groundnut Breeding, ICRISAT-Mali.

The training program, undertaken by ICRISAT’s research scholar Mr Dnyaneshwar Deshmukh, covered calibration of NIRS, development of prediction models, equations for nutritional quality parameters, validation of the NIRS predicted nutritional parameters and overall operations in groundnut quality analysis.

“NIRS takes less than 90 seconds to scan a sample. On average, 150-200 samples can be analyzed in a day. The selected lines can be planted immediately to advance to next generation, thus cutting down the breeding cycle time,” said Dr Janila, Principal Scientist, Groundnut Breeding, ICRISAT, Patancheru.

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