Plant and Soil

, Volume 377, Issue 1–2, pp 383–394 | Cite as

Phosphorus uptake and use efficiency of diverse West and Central African sorghum genotypes under field conditions in Mali

  • Willmar L. Leiser
  • H. Frederick W. RattundeEmail author
  • Eva Weltzien
  • Bettina I. G. Haussmann
Regular Article



Sorghum [Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench], a staple crop in West and Central Africa (WCA), is mostly cultivated on soils with low phosphorus (P) availability and thus adaptation to those conditions is vital for food security. Assessment of genotypic variation of WCA sorghum for P uptake and P use efficiency is undertaken to understand the diversity available and opportunities for its use.


We assessed mature plant yield, P uptake and P use efficiency traits of 70 diverse WCA sorghum genotypes under –P (no P fertilization) and + P field conditions in Mali in 2010, to discover differences among all genotypes tested and between and within specific genotype groups.


Large significant genotypic variation for P uptake and P use efficiency traits were observed for all genotypes among and within landrace and researcher bred pools under –P conditions. P uptake traits had a larger genotypic variation than P use efficiency traits. Landrace genotypes showed generally higher P uptake and grain P concentration while formally bred genotypes exhibited a higher P use efficiency. Photoperiod sensitivity was related to higher P uptake.


Genotypic selection for P uptake and P use efficiency traits to improve adaptation to low P soils is possible in sorghum. Use and further study of WCA sorghums for adaptation to low P availability is appropriate as this germplasm shows large variation for P uptake and use efficiency and higher levels of P use efficiency than other important cereals.


Sorghum Phosphorus efficiency Genetic diversity Plant breeding 



The staff of the Sorghum Breeding program at the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics in Mali who conducted the trials in this study, the financial support of the McKnight Foundation, the Generation Challenge Program and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and the helpful comments by Benoit Clerget and those of the reviewers and corresponding editor improved the quality of the paper and are much appreciated. Further, we sincerely thank the Sorghum Breeding programs of the Institut de Economie Rural in Mali and the Institut de l’Environnement et des Recherches Agricoles in Burkina Faso for providing several (16 and 4, respectively) genotypes for this study. The work was undertaken as a part of the CGIAR Dryland Cereals Research Program.

Supplementary material

11104_2013_1978_MOESM1_ESM.xlsx (49 kb)
ESM 1 (XLSX 48 kb)
11104_2013_1978_MOESM2_ESM.pdf (333 kb)
ESM 2 (PDF 332 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Willmar L. Leiser
    • 1
    • 2
  • H. Frederick W. Rattunde
    • 1
    Email author
  • Eva Weltzien
    • 1
  • Bettina I. G. Haussmann
    • 2
  1. 1.International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid TropicsBamakoMali
  2. 2.Institute of Plant Breeding, Seed Science and Population GeneticsUniversity of HohenheimStuttgartGermany

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