Saturday, October 10, 2009


Cassava, also known as MANIOC, MANDIOC, and YUCA (Manihot esculenta), a member of the flowering-plant family Euphorbiaceae from the American tropics. It is cultivated throughout the tropical world for its tuberous roots, from which cassava flour, breads tapioca, a laundry starch, and even an alcoholic beverage are derived. Cassava probably was first cultivated by the Maya in Yucatan.

A cyanide-producing sugar derivative occurs in varying amounts in most varieties. Primitive peoples developed a complex refining system to remove the poison by grating, pressing, and heating the tubers.

An extremely variable species, cassava probably is a hybrid. It is a perennial with conspicuous, almost palmate (fan-shaped) leaves resembling those of the castor bean but more deeply parted into five to nine lobes.

The fleshy roots are reminiscent of dahlia tubers. Different varieties range from low herbs through much-branching, 90-centimetre- (3- foot-) tall shrubs to slender, unbranched 5- metre (16-foot) trees. Some are adapted to dry areas of alkaline soil and others to acid mud- banks along rivers.

All the approximately 150 species of the genus Manihot are sun-loving natives of tropical America. CearĂ¡ rubber is produced from M. glaziovii, from northeast Brazil. Food items such as the gelatinous fufu of West Africa and the banii mush of Jamaica come from cassava. Additional cassava products include an alcoholic beverage made Indians in South America, the powdery casabe cakes of Yucatan, and tapioca, the only cassava product on northern markets. syntec communications


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