Eragrostis abyssinica (Jacq.) Link
Eragrostis tef, also known as teff, Williams' lovegrass or annual bunch grass, is an annual grass, a species of lovegrass native to Ethiopia and Eritrea. It is raised for its edible seeds, also known as teff.
Teff has an attractive nutrition profile, being high in dietary fiber and iron and providing protein and calcium. It is similar to millet and quinoa in cooking, but the seed is much smaller and cooks faster, thus using less fuel.
Teff is adapted to environments ranging from drought stress to waterlogged soil conditions. Maximum teff production occurs at altitudes of 1,800 to 2,100 m (5,900 to 6,900 ft), growing season rainfall of 450 to 550 mm (18 to 22 in), and a temperature range of 10 to 27 °C (50 to 81 °F). Teff is daylight-sensitive and flowers best with 12 hours of daylight.
Teff is an important food grain in Ethiopia and Eritrea, where it is used to make injera or keyta, and less so in India and Australia. It is now raised in the US, in Idaho and Nevada. In addition to people from traditional teff-consuming countries, customers include those on gluten-restricted diets. Because of its small seeds (less than 1 mm diameter), a handful is enough to sow a large area. This property makes teff particularly suited to a seminomadic lifestyle.
Ethiopia had a long-standing ban in effect on the export of teff grain or flour from the country prompted by increasing grain prices. In 2015, that ban was lifted after the introduction of farming techniques which improved yields by 40%.
|Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)|
|Energy||422 kJ (101 kcal)|
|Dietary fiber||2.8 g|
|Percentages are roughly approximated using US recommendations for adults.|
Between 8000 and 5000 BC, the people of the Ethiopian highlands were among the first to domesticate plants and animals for food. Teff was one of the earliest plants domesticated. Teff is believed to have originated in Ethiopia between 4000 BC and 1000 BC. Genetic evidence points to E. pilosa as the most likely wild ancestor. A 19th-century identification of teff seeds from an ancient Egyptian site is now considered doubtful; the seeds in question (no longer available for study) are more likely of E. aegyptiaca, a common wild grass in Egypt.
Cultivation and uses
Teff is noted for its high quality and high yield, when compared to other forage rotations. It is also known as an "emergency crop" because it is planted late in the spring when the growing season is warmer, and most other crops have already been planted. It does not tolerate any type of frost. The first draft of the Eragrostis tef genome was published in 2014. In 1996, the US National Research Council characterized teff as having the "potential to improve nutrition, boost food security, foster rural development and support sustainable landcare."
Teff has been widely cultivated and used in Ethiopia and neighboring countries, accounting for about a quarter of total cereal production in Ethiopia. Teff is a main ingredient for preparing injera, a sourdough-risen flatbread. Teff is high in protein, carbohydrates and fiber. In one study in Ethiopia, farmers indicated a preference among consumers for white teff over darker colored varieties.
Teff is also valued for its fine straw, which is traditionally mixed with mud for building purposes.
Cooked teff is 75% water, 20% carbohydrates, 4% protein, and less than 1% fat (table). In a 100 gram amount, cooked teff provides 101 Calories, is a rich source of manganese, and contains moderate content of thiamin, phosphorus, iron, magnesium, and zinc.
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- Germer, Renate (1985). Flora des pharaonischen Ägypten. Mainz: von Zabern. ISBN 3-8053-0620-2.
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- Miller, Don (2009) "Teff Grass: A New Alternative", UC Davis, California
- Cannarozzi, G.; et al. (2014). "Genome and transcriptome sequencing identifies breeding targets in the orphan crop tef (Eragrostis tef)". BMC Genomics. 15: 581. doi:10.1186/1471-2164-15-581. PMC . PMID 25007843.
- Gabre-Madhin, Eleni Zaude (2001). Market Institutions, Transaction Costs, and Social Capital in the Ethiopian Grain Market. Washington, DC: International Food Policy Research Institute. ISBN 9780896291263.
- Davidson, Alan (2014). Jaine, Tom, ed. The Oxford Companion to Food (3rd ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 812. ISBN 0-19-967733-6.
- El-Alfy, T. S.; Ezzat, S. M.; Sleem, A. A. (2012). "Chemical and biological study of the seeds of Eragrostis tef(Zucc.) Trotter". Natural Product Research. 26 (7): 619. doi:10.1080/14786419.2010.538924. PMID 21867458.
- Belay, G.; Tefera, H.; Tadesse, B.; Metaferia, G.; Jarra, D.; Tadesse, T. (2006). "Participatory Variety Selection in the Ethiopian Cereal Tef (Eragrostis Tef)". Experimental Agriculture. 42 (1): 91–101. doi:10.1017/S0014479705003108.
- Heuzé V., Thiollet H., Tran G., Lebas F., 2017. Tef (Eragrostis tef) straw. Feedipedia, a programme by INRA, CIRAD, AFZ and FAO. https://www.feedipedia.org/node/22033
- Heuzé V., Thiollet H., Tran G., Lebas F., 2017. Tef (Eragrostis tef) hay. Feedipedia, a programme by INRA, CIRAD, AFZ and FAO. https://www.feedipedia.org/node/22768
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Eragrostis tef.|
- Purdue University Center for New Crops & Plant Products – Eragrostis tef
- University of Bern Tef Improvement Project
- Dressler, S.; Schmidt, M. & Zizka, G. (2014). "Eragrostis tef". African plants – a Photo Guide. Frankfurt/Main: Forschungsinstitut Senckenberg.