Nutrient composition and in vitro fermentation characteristics of sorghum depending on variety and year of cultivation in northern Italy
Sorghum is the fifth most produced cereal in the world and is a source of nutrients and bioactive compounds for the human diet. This study examined the nutrient composition and in vitro fermentation characteristics of sorghum varieties grown in 2020 and 2021 (n = 15 × 3 × 2) across three locations in the north of Italy (Bologna, Padova, and Rovigo). In 2020, the crude protein content of sorghum was significantly higher in the region of Padova than in the region of Bologna (124 vs. 95.5 g/kg dry matter). However, crude fat, sugar, and gross energy levels showed no significant differences among the different regions in 2020. In 2021, the levels of crude protein, crude fat, sugar, and gross energy had no significant differences among different sorghum varieties harvested from the three regions. Significant differences in some mineral contents were found among the samples particularly in manganese and zinc in both years. After 24 h of fermentation of two different sorghum hybrids (hybrids 1 and 2 of both years harvested in Bologna, n = 4 × 2 × 2), the pH value was significantly higher in hybrid 1 of year 2021 (3.98) than in the other fermented samples (range: 3.71–3.88). The sorghum harvested from the region of Bologna had a significantly higher viscosity value (1.22 mPa·s) compared to other regions (1.8–1.10 mPa·s) in 2021 only. The results show that the nutritional value and viscosity of different sorghum varieties could differ depending on the location and year of cultivation.