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African Journal of Food, Agriculture, Nutrition and Development
Rural Outreach Program
ISSN: 1684-5358
EISSN: 1684-5358
Vol. 13, No. 4, 2013, pp. 7972-7985
Bioline Code: nd13061
Full paper language: English
Document type: Review Article
Document available free of charge

African Journal of Food, Agriculture, Nutrition and Development, Vol. 13, No. 4, 2013, pp. 7972-7985

Omojola, MO


The quest for cheaper and higher quality starch from biological materials has necessitated research into lesser known plants which have better physicochemical properties over the present commercial starch sources such as corn, cassava, potato, wheat and rice. Corn starch contributes about 80 % of the total global starch production, which is dominated by the developed countries, whereas cassava production where the developing nations have comparative advantage contributes only 7.5 %, because cassava products are heavily consumed as staple food. A viable option is to develop some of the unutilized starchy crops that grow wildly in the developing countries. One of such plants is the generic Tacca, which is native to tropical regions of the world where it grows in the wild and domesticated in some areas of the Pacific islands. In Nigeria alone, these plants grow in the wild as in other parts of Africa, virtually unutilized with an annual production estimated at over 20 million MT. The extracted starch (over 30 % wt/wt basis) and the modified derivative (citrate) have been found to be better disintegrants in drug formulations than corn starch, because of higher swelling power, and amylose content, almost zero fat and lower gelatinization temperature. It could also be used in the textile industry for stiffening fabrics. The African region does not have advantage in corn production because of high production cost arising from high requirements of fertilizer and pesticides coupled with severe drought. Investment in Tacca plantation and its industrial starch production can complement the cassava initiative revolution that is presently going on in Africa as a sustainable strategy to alleviate hunger and improve the economic growth of the continent. If the industrial potentials of Tacca plant are fully exploited for its starch production, it could make Africa significantly contribute to the global starch production. The available data on the industrial potentials of the plant and starch is adequate to encourage the domestication and cultivation of this tropical plant in African countries.

Tacca; starch; physicochemical; properties; utilization

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