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Value Addition of Pearl Millet

Pearl millet is a dual-purpose crop with food, feed and fodder value. Its grain is a staple food of people living in arid regions of India and also has a high feed value for livestock, poultry and fish. It also provides high quality green forage in seasons of fodder scarcity.

Both grain and stover of pearl millet have a better mineral profile than many other cereals. The bioavailability of these minerals is low because of presence of some inherent anti-nutritional factors e.g. phytate, and polyphenols in grain; and oxalic acid in fodder and forage. Its flour acquires a rancid odour within a few days of milling because of high concentration of lipids that contribute to the development of fat acidity, lipolytic activity and accumulation of peroxides of lipids in the meal during storage. The typical grey colour of pearl millet grain and its products due to polyphenolic pigments present in peripheral area of the endosperm further restricts efficient utilization of pearl millet. However, several processing techniques have been developed to enhance food value and shelf-life of pearl millet products and to improve the availability of starch, protein and minerals.

Malting reduces anti-nutritional factors and imparts desirable flavour and taste. Shelf life of pearl millet flour is also increased by malting as this lowers the levels of lipids that are responsible for off-flavors. Blanching and heat treatment improve the storability and stability of flour. Acid treatment of grain may bleach grey colour, remove anti-nutritional factors and improve digestibility and shelf life of pearl millet flour. A wide range of value-added products may be prepared from pearl millet processed flour.

Formulation of poultry feed using pearl millet may help to reduce costs and also ease competition for energy sources between man and monogastrics. Pearl millet-supplemented poultry feeds are generally superior to sorghum and equivalent to maize in broiler diets. Pearl millet is also suitable for use in cattle feeding if diets are adjusted to accommodate higher protein levels in the grain. In general, pearl millet is at least equivalent to maize and often superior to sorghum in cattle, pig and sheep rations because of its high energy and grain protein levels. Its grain, as a high-energy alternative source of inexpensive feed, could be exploited and utilized in production of high quality fish.

ICAR-AICRP on Pearl Millet, Jodhpur - 342 304, Rajasthan, India | Phone : +91 291 2571408