Cassava leaves could play a key role in food security. Research at Hohenheim University is examining the optimal way to treat the leaves.
Photo: T. Wojciechowski

08.09.2014

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Making better and more diversified use of plants in order to benefit from existing resources is one of the targets that the bioeconomy has set itself. As a rule, however, this means that first of all, a lot of research has to be carried out, as the following example of Cassava shows.

Cassava is widely grown in nearly 105 tropical and subtropical countries with an estimated production of 263 million tonnes in 2012. The plant is considered as a 21st century crop as it responds to the global economy trends and climate change challenges. Cassava is a staple food for one billion people, but it is equally important as a source of feed and industrial applications, and is also an energy source, making it ideally suitable for cascade use (see article "Increasing resource efficiency by cascading use of biomass").

After processing, cassava roots provide flour for human consumption. Bread, crackers, cakes and ice cream cones are produced from cassava flour. Cassava root starch is a high value commodity in brewing, textile, pharmaceutical, paper and oil industries. Cassava starch can also be a source for platform chemicals and ethanol production. Native starch is modified by physical, chemical or enzymatic processes to obtain different modified starch having numerous applications, e.g.

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