Foxtail millet: nutritional and eating quality, and prospects for genetic improvement
1. College of Agriculture, Shanxi Agricultural University, Taigu 030801, China.2. Institute of Agricultural Bioengineering, Shanxi Agricultural University, Taigu 030801, China.3. College of Biosciences, Shanxi Agricultural University, Taigu 030801, China.4. Key Laboratory of Loess Plateau Crop Gene Resources and Germplasm, Ministry of Agriculture, Taiyuan 030001, China.5. Shanxi Key Laboratory of Genetic Resources and Genetic Improvement of Minor Crops, Shanxi Agricultural University, Taigu 030801, China
Foxtail millet is a minor yet important crop in some areas of the world, particularly northern China. It has strong adaptability to abiotic stresses, especially drought, and poor soil. It also has high nutritional value. Foxtail millet is rich in essential amino acids, fatty acids and minerals, and is considered to be one of the most digestible and non-allergenic grains available and has significant importance for human health. Given foxtail millet’s ability to adapt to abiotic stresses associated with climate change, it is more important than ever to develop breeding strategies that facilitate the increasing demand for high quality grain that better satisfies consumers. Here we review research on foxtail millet quality evaluation, appearance, cooking and eating quality at the phenotypic level. We review analysis of the main nutrients in foxtail millet, their relationships and the biochemical and genetic factors affecting their accumulation. In addition, we review past progress in breeding this regionally important crop, outline current status of breeding of foxtail millet, and make suggestions to improve grain quality.