I'd like to learn about disease problems The Rodale Institute may have found with grain amaranth. We are promoting the crop in East and West Africa.

Thank you,
Thomas J. Post, PhD
Team leader for CRWRC (Christian Reformed World Relief Committee) in Asia


Dr Paul Hepperly takes this one...


Grain amaranth was a love of Robert Rodale, who funded a breeding program in the 1980s. This program was successful in developing grain amaranth with large seeds of excellent nutritional quality that did not shatter prior to harvest.

The breeding program was stopped in the 1990s following Robert Rodale’s passing, and the breeding materials were deposited into the USDA’s Germplasm Repository in Fort Collins, Colorado and in China. I believe China still has an active breeding programs from these materials.

One of Robert Rodale's great interests in grain amaranth was based on its excellent drought tolerance. In his book Save Three Lives he holds grain amaranth up as an important crop for Africa for this very reason.

I am unaware of any pathology work that was done at the Institute with grain amaranth; I believe you should seek outside The Rodale Institute for this expertise.

Best of luck,
Paul Hepperly, PhD
Rodale Institute research manager


Also, North Dakota State University offers specialty crop profiles, including one on amaranth: www.ag.ndsu.nodak.edu/aginfo/procrop/spc/amaran03.htm.

Good luck,


Contact us with comments, suggestions and questions.