Nutritional Cassava

An intensive international effort to improve the nutritional value of cassava -- a staple food for millions of poverty stricken people in sub-Sahara Africa and other areas -- has led to development of a New form of cassava that may be easier to digest than other varieties.

Also known as yucca or manioc, the roots of the plant are similar to potatoes and are often eaten boiled or deep fried. The roots are also used to make flour, tapioca, and a wide range of other food products. While the roots are low in protein and vitamins, they are an abundant source of starch. But the starch contains relatively high levels of amylose, which can be difficult to digest.

In some countries, people eat cassava every day. It is their main source of energy-rich starch, or carbohydrate. Although very popular, cassava is not the most nutritious food.

That can be a big problem in poorer countries, where children must eat cassava or go hungry.

In the new study, Hernan Ceballos and colleagues identified a variety of cassava with less than 3 percent amylose, compared to 18-24 percent of the hard-to-digest material in traditional cassava. "This is the first report of a natural mutation in cassava that drastically reduces amylose content in root starch," the study states. This mutation may also be better suited for the production of bioethanol, it adds.

He discovered a new kind of cassava that is healthier to eat. People can digest more of the starch in this cassava, and that makes it more nutritious as a food. If Dr. Ceballos’ cassava catches on, it could mean better health for millions of people.

2 Comment:


12:18 PM

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1:52 PM

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