Small Millets

AICRP- Small millets, MDRF (2)



  • To standardize the iron estimation procedure and fixing bench mark values of iron in finger and foxtail millets
  • To breed small millet (finger and foxtail millets) genotypes with high grain iron content
  • To confirm and demonstrate the bio-fortification technique across locations for iron bio-fortification
  • To evaluate the nutrient, iron and iron bio-accessibility in varieties of finger and foxtail millets.
  • To prepare and evaluate food products using foxtail millet and finger millet which may be suitable for mid-day meal schemes.

Target trait (ppm)

Small millets
  Threshold Target
Iron 65 90
Zinc 31 40

  ICAR-All India Coordinated Research Project on Small Millets (AICRP-SM), Bangalore

PI: Dr Prabhakar, Project Coordinator (Small Millets)

CoPI: Dr YA Nanja Reddy

 To standardize the iron estimation procedure and fixing bench mark values of iron in finger millet

 To verify the procedure for estimation of iron and zinc in grain of finger millet, 17 varieties were evaluated for iron and zinc both at GKVK and NBSS & LUP for confirmation. Results revealed that the grain zinc content differed between two laboratories but not significant, however, the mean value of iron did not differ between laboratories (Fig 1) suggesting that the estimation of iron is stable across the laboratories. Further, a positive correlation between two laboratories for zinc and iron (Fig. 2 and Fig. 3) suggests that the method being followed for estimation of elements is appropriate. This method is convenient and large number of samples can be digested and analysed.


 Fig.1: Finger millet grain Zinc and iron content across the laboratories



 Fig 2: Relationship between grain zinc content between two instruments

 Fig 3: Relationship between grain iron content between two instruments

(a)Fixing bench mark values for iron in finger millet

 The results reveal a significant difference between the varieties for iron but zinc content did not differ significantly (Table 1). Further, compared to GPU-28, the iron content was significantly superior in GPU-67. In the earlier studies also the GPU-28 has similar values of iron and zinc. Hence, GPU-28 with nearly 30 ppm Zn and 60 ppm iron can be taken as standard check for screening the genotypes. Further, the relationship between zinc and iron is highly positive, suggesting that both the cations could be bound to phytic acid (Fig. 2).

Table 1: Specific elemental concentration in popular finger millet varieties

Variety Zn (ppm) Fe (ppm)
 Location Pooled Pooled
PES-110 29.5 51.8
KOPN -330 23.0 41.5
POORNA 23.7  45.9
RAU-8 24.9  40.6
GPU-66 26.3  42.8
KMR-316 22.8  43.5
INDAF-15 26.4  51.3
VR-708 26.0  47.9
GPU-48 21.0  39.8
L-5 23.0  51.7
PR-202 26.7  54.3
VL-347 28.6  50.6
SHARADHA 26.7  47.5
VL-146 24.0  46.6
KEMPURAGI 34.6  56.6
GPU-67 30.4  65.2
GPU-28 31.1  54.7
Mean 26.4  49.9
CD @ 5 % NS  6.3
SEm+ 2.3  2.2
CV (%) 12.6  7.7

 Table 2: Correlations between elemental compositions in popular varieties of finger millet

Element Ca (ppm) Mg (ppm) Zn (ppm) Fe (ppm)
Ca (ppm) 1.000      
Mg (ppm) 0.216 1.000    
Zn (ppm) 0.424 -0.093 1.000  
Fe (ppm) 0.362 0.044 0.748 1.000

 To breed small millet (finger millet) genotypes with high grain iron content:

The identified contrasting genotypes for grain iron and zinc (high and low) were used to generate mapping populations for grain iron and zinc content in finger millet. Re-analysis for zinc and iron content in grain (Table 3) showed significant positive relationship between two sets of data (Fig 4) indicating the stability of genotypes over the experiments their use as parents in the generation of mapping populations. The varieties chosen for crossing programme (Table 3) are GPU-67 (high iron, 86.9 ppm and zinc, 20.3 ppm) and Kempuragi (high iron 73.1 ppm and high zinc, 21.5 ppm respectively) and GPU- 66 (low iron, 59.2 ppm and low zinc, 15.9 ppm) and; KOPN-330 (low iron, 54.4 ppm and zinc, 9.9 ppm and low iron).

Fig.4 Relationship between selected genotypes (pooled) and confirmation trial (III set) for zinc and iron content in finger millet genotypes

Table 3: Zn and iron content in selected high and low genotypes of finger millet  

Variety Zn(ppm) Fe(ppm)


GPU-67 20.3


GPU-28 25.6


PES-110 21.5


GPU-66 15.9


KOPN -330 9.9


KMR-316 8.3


GPU-48 16.0


Mean 17.4


CD @ 5 % 2.99


SEm+ 0.99


CV (%) 9.9 6.4

 Madras Diabetes Research Foundation (MDRF), Chennai

 PI: Dr. S. Shobana

A. Nutrient evaluation of different cultivars of foxtail and finger millet.

Three varieties of foxtail and finger millets viz., Finger millet (GPU 67, GPU 28 and KMR 340) and foxtail millet (SIA 3088, SIA 3154) varieties were provided by AICRP-SM. Finger millet and foxtail millet (unpolished) were taken up for nutrient, mineral analysis. The nutrient contents of the millet samples were evaluated by standard AOAC (Association of Official Analytical Chemists) and AACC (American Association of Cereal Chemists) methods. Available carbohydrates and total dietary fibre content of the sample were determined using Megazyme kit method (Megazyme Enzymatic Kit K-ACHDF 11/08, Ireland). Iron analysis was performed by spectrophotometry.

In vitro-iron bio-accessibility studies: The iron bio-accessibility was assessed by the method mentioned by Luten et al. (1996).The pulverised millet samples were used for mineral bio-accessibility studies. GPU 28 variety of finger millet had higher protein and exhibited higher iron bio- accessibility compared to the other two varieties. The iron content of GPU 67 (4.15%) was higher compared to GPU 28 (3.50%) and KMR 340 (3.10%). KMR 340 had better mineral (2.42g%) and dietary fibre content (12.41g%) among the other finger millet varieties. The SIA 3088 variety of foxtail millet had higher iron and iron bio- accessibility compared to SIA 3156. The protein content of both SIA 3156 (13.09g%) and SIA 3088 (12.90g%) were comparable.

 B. Preparation of convenience sambar millet mix and upma mix prototype using unpolished foxtail millet.

Unpolished foxtail millet (SIA 3088) was supplied by University of Agricultural Sciences, Bangalore (AICRP on small millets). Other required ingredients were procured from local market. Dehydrated onion flakes, tomato flakes and tamarind powder were procured from M/S Natural dehydrates, Chennai. Dehydrated curry leaves were prepared in-house. The convenience food mixes prepared out of foxtail millet were taken up for nutrient evaluation. The dietary fibre (16.81 g%) and iron (5.95%) of sambhar mix was higher when compared to upma mix 13.15g% and 5.50% respectively. However, the protein content (18.23g%) and iron mineral bio-accessibility (30.00%) of upma mix was better in comparison to sambhar mix. The millet sambhar and upma convenience mix can be used for mid-day meal schemes in schools. The finger millet noodles(made out of finger millet whole meal) had good sensory acceptability and can be a healthier replacement choice for regular noodles (made of refined wheat / maida). This can be an attractive food for school children and can be utilized in mid-day meal schemes.

Table 1. Nutrient profile, and iron bio-accessibility in the millet samples (Raw and brown) 

Millet Name Variety Moisture (g%) Ash (g% ) Protein (g%) Fat (g% ) Available carbohyd rates (g%) Dietar y Fibre (g%) Iron (mg %) Bio availa ble Iron (mg %) Bio accessible %
Finger millet GPU 67 12.60 1.98  7.86   1.40 68.00  11.07  4.15   0.84  20.24
GPU 28  11.80  2.18  8.02  1.15  64.45  11.34  3.50 0.95   27.12
 KMR 340  11.97 2.42   7.73  1.51 63.45  12.41  3.10   0.60 19.35 
Foxtail millet  SIA 3088 11.25   1.24  12.90  4.06 67.35  7.68   3.60  0.90 25.00 
SIA 3156 10.86 1.16 13.09 3.31 65.60 7.95 3.40 0.73 17.68

 Table 2. Nutrient profile and iron bio-accessibility in the foxtail millet based sambar millet mix and upma mix

Millet used Product Variety Moisture (g%) Ash (g%) Protein (g%) Fat (g%) Available carbohyd rates (g%) Dietary Fibr e (g% ) Iron (mg %) Bio availa ble Iron (mg %) Bio access ible %
Foxtail millet Sambar foxtail millet mix  SIA 3088 5.74  9.15  17.86  5.55  47.00  16.81  5.95   1.60  26.88 
Foxtail millet Upma mix  SIA 3088  6.87  2.30  18.23  5.05  57.20  13.15  5.50  1.65  30.00
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