The Donald Danforth Plant Science Center on Wednesday announced the extension of a Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation grant that aims to “expand and accelerate” breeding technology for improved varieties of sorghum, a crop grown worldwide that is especially critical as a food source in sub-Saharan Africa.
“This grant will help increase the productivity of a crop that can, in a sustainable and effective way, reduce hunger and poverty and make communities economically stronger and more stable over the long term,” Danforth Center President James Carrington said in a statement.
The three-year, $6.1-million extension will enable the Creve Coeur-based plant research center to broaden current work with sorghum launched in June 2015. The extension comes on the heels of a separate Gates Foundation grant to the center announced last month for a project focusing on the development of disease-resistant cassava, another staple crop in Africa.
Though the Danforth Center leads the research efforts funded by the grant, it counts universities and science institutes in six different countries as collaborators.
Danforth Center officials have indicated The Gates Foundation is its third-largest source of funding, while the Department of Energy is the center’s top contributor.
Read more: St. Louis Post-Dispatch