Raw Materials Cassava


07/23/12 15:30:38 (2 comments)

by: Dr. Chandra Shekhar Gupta

Botanical Name:
Manihot esculenta



Mandioca, yucca, guacamote (Spanish), cassava, tapioca, Brazilian arrowroot (English), kamoting kahoy (Philippines), manioc (French).

Cassava is native to Southern America and was introduced to Africa, India and countries in Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands.

Cassava is a perennial, monoecious, cultivated shrub, growing up to 4 m tall, and all parts of the plant contain white latex and varying concentrations of a cyanogenic glucoside. The leaves are arranged spirally, petiolate, simple, oblong, obovate, linear or lanceolate, entire and acuminate. The stem of the cassava plant is woody, and varies from being unbranched to being variously branched, predominantly brownish or greyish, usually with prominent leaf scars. The flowers do not have sepals and petals but have perianthes made up of five yellow, reddish or purple tepals. The male flower is half the size of female flower.

Cassava is known as the staple food of the poorer part of the population in many tropical countries, particularly Central and South America, Central and West Africa, Indonesia and the Polynessian Islands. Cassava, along with fish, is the main source of food for the working classes in Kerala, India.

Young tubers, particularly of the sweet varieties, can be consumed after roasting or boiling, like potato, in the form of tubers, chips, flour and sago. As fresh tubers do not keep well for long, they are cut into slices and dried, after which they can be stored for several months. They are cooked and eaten or powdered into flour and used in the same manner as rice flour.

Two types of cassava are recognized—Sweet and Bitter cassava, depending on cyanogenic glucoside content. The bitter cassava contains a bitter cyanogenic glucoside (Linamarin) that produces the extremely toxic chemical Hydrogen cynide.

The cyanogenic glucoside contents are found in the central portion and outer layer of the tubers, which require detoxification in order to make cassava fit for consumption. This can be done by boiling, roasting, expression and fermentation. These bitter type cassava trees have dark leaves and the stems are often reddish. The bitter types are grown for the production of starch, alcohol and acetone. Sweet varieties can be eaten roasted or boiled with no need for detoxification.

Fresh tubers contain protein, fat, carbohydrates and mineral matter, calcium, phosphorus, iron, thiamine, nicotinic acid and riboflavin etc. The starch content increases with the growth of tubers, reaching a maximum twelve months after planting; thereafter it decreases and the fiber content increases. The tubers contain small quantities of albumin, globulin and glutelin.

In the Philippines, tubers are grated and dehydrated. The residue is made into pellets; under the name Cassava Rice, dried pellets are used as a substitute for rice and maize.

Cassava tubers are mainly consumed in two ways:

Tapioca chips – Two types of chips can prepared: plain dried (white chips) and parboiled chips. The plain dried chips are prepared from peeled tubers by slicing and sun-drying, while parboiled chips are prepared by drying slices previously immersed in boiling water for ten minutes. Both types of chips are to be consumed after cooking or frying.

Tapioca flour – The process of making tapioca flour includes peeling and washing, grating, dehydrating, pulverizing, drying and milling. It is also used as an adulterant of cereal flour. Blends of wheat and tapioca flour are used in preparation of bread. Tapioca flour can be used as a partial replacement for many bakery and pasta products.

In Ghana, Starch Based Adhesive (SBA) for the paperboard industry is also produced by using cassava starch. The essential ingredients in starch-based adhesives (SBA) are starch and flour, gelatinisation modifier (sodium hydroxide), viscosity enhancer and stabilizer (borax) and preservative (sodium formaldehyde).

The tubers are used as a substitute for rice or maize meal and the leaves and tender shoots are cooked as a vegetable or used in sauces. They can also be chopped, dried and fed to animals.

The starch is used for many industrial applications, including food processing and in the paper, wood, textile, pharmaceutical, chemical and feed industries.

In Africa, the tubers are processed in several different ways. They may first be fermented in water, and then either sun-dried for storage or grated and made into dough that is cooked.

Alcoholic beverages can be made from the cassava roots. Cassava has a high content of fermentable substances. This makes it appropriate for the production of alcohol.

Photos: Dr. Chandra Shekhar Gupta, CIAT, IITA Image Library, tonrulkens, john.dufffell

Author: Dr. Chandra Shekhar Gupta (cshekhar)

Fragrantica Writer




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Cassava is a fascinating plant, being whole sustainence for many people in Western and Eastern africa... whole ceremonies are developed around its planting and harvest... It's wonderful to read the novels of Chinua Achebe and Flora Nwapa, and they constantly reference the importance that cassava plays in daily life.


Dear Perfume lovers,

This information pertains only about the economic importance of cassava roots/tubers. I didn't find any perfumes which contains cassava note. could anyone expert suggest me perfume having this note?????


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