ECHENIQUE Carmen Viviana
capítulos de libros
MAHMOUD, Z; ECHENIQUE, V.; DIAZ, M; PESSINO, S.; SORRELLS, M.
Wild Crop Relatives: Genomic & Breeding Resources
Lugar: New York, Tokio; Año: 2011; p. 135 - 151
The genus Eragrostis comprises a large number of weedy plants mostly natives of Africa that are usually grazed by local animals, used for making simple household items, or having some medicinal value. Seeds of those plants are sometimes consumed by humans in severe famines, but in Ethiopia, Eragrostis tef, an endemic domesticated species, is a staple food crop cultivated for its seeds. However, it is the weedy nature of plants in the genus that drew attention to them and caused their introduction to the New World. The ease of establishment and high yields of good quality forage under limited precipitation contributed to their popularity for revegetating vast areas of deteriorated land, especially in Argentina and the US, creating excellent grazing pastures. Controlling soil erosion was another important reason for introducing those plants across the globe from Japan to Australia and the US. The need for understanding these species and improving their productivity prompted research on their taxonomy, cytology, agronomy, breeding, and conservation. Eragrostis curvula, E. lehmanniana, and E. pilosa have received more attention compared to other species of the genus. Today, some of these grasses are deemed invasive and noxious as they have found their way into other regions that were not designated for hosting them. Their same weedy nature that made their introduction successful in many areas worldwide has resulted in the replacement of native species and disturbed the faunal diversity. The wide range of genetic variation in this genus, however, provides excellent resource for novel uses in the future, especially in the era of biofuel production and climatic changes.