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Quinoa – A promising new crop for the Arabian Peninsula

Quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa Willd.) is a pseudocereal cultivated in the Andes region for thousands of years for its highly nutritive grain. It is known to grow well rmder extreme ecological conditions including drought and soil salinity, making it important for diversification of future agricultural systems. In a study conducted at Dubai based International Center for Biosaline Agriculture (ICBA), 20 accessions of quinoa were evaluated over two consecutive cropping seasons (winter 2007-08 and 2008-09) for their adaptation to the local climatic conditions. The five top-ranking accessions, selected on the basis of average yield obtained over the two seasons were further studied for their yield potential and other agronomic traits in a replicated field trial during the growing season, 2009-2010. There were significant differences among the accessions for plant height, number of primary branches and number of inflorescences per plant (P<0.05).

However, differences among the accession for inflorescence length, grain yield per plant, fresh and dry biomass were fmmd to be marginal (P>0.05). The grain yield, averaged over cultivars was fmmd to be 456.6 g m-' with Ames 13761 producing the maximum (533.6 g m-'). The dry matter yield averaged 1 ,464 g m - 2 over the accessions, the maximum being 1,624 g m - 2 recorded in Ames 137 42. Both the grain and dry matter yields obtained in the study were much higher than the average yields reported from the traditional growing areas in the Andes. The outstanding protein quality of the grain and its multiple uses as food for humans and feed for animals, its potential for the industry and more importantly, the mmsually high tolerance of quinoa to salinity and drought, make quinoa an excellent choice for the diversification of future agricultural systems in the Arabian Peninsula and other regions with similar ecologically extreme conditions.

Rao N. K, Shahid M
Publication type: 
Scientific Paper
Publication Source: 
American-Eurasian Journal of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences
Page Number: 
pp 1350-1355

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