On 1973.09.29, the NYT ran a front page article on a breakthrough in research achieved by Dad’s team at Purdue University: Research Finds Rich Sorghums to Bolster the Diet of World’s Poor. Sorghum is the fourth most important cereal after wheat, rice and corn. Astonishingly, sorghum grows in arid ecosystems without irrigation and supplemental soil nutrients. It is one of the most important subsistence crops of the billions living in the semi-arid tropics.
Dad’s team at Purdue discovered two pure lines of sorghum in a remote valley of Ethiopia far superior to the 20,000+ varieties maintained by farmers around the world. The research at Purdue significantly boosted the production of sorghum for the world’s poor by injecting the genes of these two Ethiopian lines into local varieties. This was accomplished through safe cross-breeding techniques, and did not use genetic engineering techniques to produce genetically modified sorghum.
Dad’s PhD research (Purdue, 1973) went further to investigate the nutritional quality of sorghum as affected by polyphenols, crude protein and amino acid composition. One of his objectives was to address how to overcome the nutritional inhibitors of dark-grained sorghum, full of tannins which act as an important natural bird repellent, but which also limit the grain’s nutritional absorption in human diets.
Dallas Leon Oswalt
1927 - 2020
1927 - 2020