Federal State Budgetary Scientific Institution All-Russian Rapeseed Research Institute has created Amaranthus paniculatus variety for grain farming, it combines high productivity and adaptability, high seed and oil quality and resistance to various diseases and pests. Since 2015 it has been included in the State Register of protected varieties (RF patent number 7501), approved for the use in production.
Amaranth (derives from Greek - "unfading"). Since little is known about amaranth crop, it is necessary to acquaint specialists with its originality, especially due to its high adaptive capacity. This is a new crop for our country, it attracts more attention of various scientists and specialists due to its unique properties, surprisingly high yields, as well as numerous opportunities of its usage: for food, pharmaceutical and perfume purposes, it can be also used as different types of bird and livestock fodder, as green manure or an ornamental plant.
According to its application sphere, the varieties created in the country are divided into fodder, grain, vegetable and ornamental. The relative conventionality of this division should be noted, since individual varieties can be applied for various purposes. Amaranth fodder has a high protein content and is of a high quality, it has a range of well-balanced essential amino acids and vitamins, phytohormones, macro and micronutrients. Amaranth green mass contains 15-20% of protein and this level is not significantly reduced when the seeds are mature.
Grain amaranth yields the seeds that have the characteristics and properties similar to cereal crops. However, since it is not related to cereals (bipartite) it is called pseudo-cereal. Amaranth seeds contain on the average 15-18% of the protein, which is higher than the level of most cereals, 5-8% of oil and 3.7-5.7% of fiber.
Amaranth high protein content is associated with a high content of lysine amino acid. Its protein contains 2 times more amino acid than that wheat , and 3 times more than corn and sorghum, and even 1.5 times more than soybeans and cow's milk. If we estimate the ideal protein (similar to egg protein) as 100 points, then the milk protein casein will have 72 points, soy protein - 68, wheat protein -58, corn protein- 44 and amaranth -72 points.
Amaranth seeds are also used for the production of amaranth oil and squalene. Amaranth oil is unique, it is characterized by a high content of unsaturated fatty acids. Squalene is a hydrocarbon , its content in amaranth oil is 8%. Vitamin E group in its structure is in a particularly active form. Besides, amaranth oil is appreciated because of squalene. Squalene is used to produce the steroid hormones, for prevention of cardiac cancer diseases, and for space purposes . Also amaranth oil is used as an immune stimulant normalizing cholesterol metabolism. Amaranth seeds, unlike other grains, contain very little glutelins that it is important to the individuals with hypersensitivity to the grain as a result of lack of enzymes that hydrolyze glutelin.
In the XXI century amaranth is able to occupy a leading position not only as food and fodder, but also as a drug. With the expected climate changes in the world, the use of amaranth is even more urgent because of its unique characteristics to adapt to different environmental conditions.
Variety pedigree: the variety has been created by partially controlled crossing, selection and stabilization through self-pollination.
The botanical characteristics. Amaranth belongs to the family of Amaranthaceae (Amaranthacea). Subfamily Amaranthoideae, genus Amaranthus L. There are 80 species of Amaranthus genus, most of them are considered to be weeds, 12 species are domesticated.
Amaranth - is an annual yellow-green, herbaceous, much-branched plant, its stems are fleshy and ribbed , their height is from 95 to 120 cm. The root is stalky, the leaves are arranged alternately on the stem, whole and without stipules. The leaves are large, oval, pointed upward. The flowers are very small, usually actinomorphic, petalless, bisexual. Axillary flowers are arranged in fascicles, the last ones are collected in a dense cluster , inflorescences. Inflorescence is a group or cluster of flowers arranged on a stem that in a mature state has a length of 50 cm or more. The weight of the group comes up to 1 kg. Amaranth seeds are very small, like sand, and their number is enormous - up to 500 thousand or more in a cluster.
Amaranth gives nuts. Its seeds are rounded, smooth, hard and well adapted to falling out from the panicle during ripening, the weight of 1000 seeds is 0.70-0.75 g.
The manufacturers fear that amaranth can contaminate fields, however, these fears are vain, cultivated amaranth species cannot reproduce without the aid of a man compared with its wild relatives.
The biological features. The variety is mid-season (the vegetative period is 95-100 days). Amaranth has a unique feature to adapt to adverse environmental conditions, making it one of the most promising crops. The plant is wind-pollinated, light and heat-loving (the optimum temperature for rapid growth is 20oC and above). Amaranth consumes moisture very economically, it is resistant to drought, during which it falls into a state of suspended animation. However, after the first rain it starts to grow rapidly. Such extraordinary abilities of the crops are explained by its photosynthesis, unique to tropical plants. The great energy of amaranth growth amaranth is also explained by its special type of photosynthesis. Amaranth seeds germinate at the temperature of 10-12 ° C. Under optimum conditions seedlings appear 4-6 days after sowing. In the initial period of about 3-4 weeks amaranth plants grow slowly and may be suppressed by weeds. This biological feature is a drawback of this crop, that should be considered during its cultivation. But in four weeks it begins to develop rapidly, inhibiting all the weeds. During the day the increase of green mass can be up to 5-7 cm. Flowering and maturation of the seeds in the inflorescence do not occur simultaneously, going from the bottom to the top. Amaranth flowering begins in July and continues until the end of August. Seed ripening period is also extended.
Freshly harvested seeds almost don’t germinate; post-harvest maturation period is 3 months. The seeds can retain their viability for 5-7 years or more. Amaranth has the highest multiplication factor - 1: 500-1000, no traditional crop has the same multiplication factor. Seed cropping is complicated by the small size of the seeds (about 1 mm in diameter) and their shattering when they are ripe.
The competitiveness. Due to its unique productivity and very high adaptability, as well as the high quality of its seeds and oil, amaranth variety "Lipetsk" is quite competitive in many regions, where it has been introduced in the State Register and approved for production.
The main advantages. With high yields, high oil and seed quality, this variety is oriented for mechanical harvesting. The variety is recommended for cultivating in many regions of Russia.
During the tests conducted by FSBI ARIR for many years Amaranth variety seed yield was 3.0 t / ha.
The commercial value of the variety is in its ability to provide a stable yield of seeds in different regions of Russia. High-quality seeds and the seed products derived are widely used in various branches of food production. Amaranth oil is unique, it is pretty expensive for having a high content of bioactive compounds in it, it is widely used in human nutrition and medicine spheres that can contribute to the health of the population. Amaranth protein is recognized as the best vegetable protein, which is important in dealing with the protein problem.