Sorghum is the name used for a number of different species of grasses that are grown for their grain. Sorghum grows on all the continents on Earth (apart from Antarctica) and is usually found in tropical and subtropical regions. The largest commercial producers of sorghum are the United States, Nigeria, India and Mexico. The species called Sorghum bicolor is the most important commercial sorghum plant and it has many important uses throughout the world.
Uses of sorghum
- Sorghum is often used for food, especially in arid countries where sorghum flourishes. It can be used to make couscous, molasses, porridge and ground into sorghum flour. The flour can be used as a wheat substitute for people on a gluten-free diet. Sorghum seeds can also be popped like popcorn to create a delicious snack food.
- Sorghum is also commonly used in agriculture as feed for livestock. It can be used as an alternative for maize (corn) because their nutritional values are similar.
- It is also used in the production of some alcoholic drinks. It is becoming more commonly used to brew gluten-free beer.
- The straw of sorghum is used to create wall boards for construction. It is also very useful as a packaging material for sensitive electronics because it does not acclimate static electricity.
- Sorghum is also a potential source of biofuel. In fact, over 12% of grain produced in the US is used to make the renewable fuel, ethanol.