Maintaining High-Quality Cassava Starch

Quality Control of Cassava Starch

Cassava starch is a carbohydrate compound consisting of glucose polymers, specifically amylose and amylopectin. Amylose forms linear chains of glucose molecules, while amylopectin is a branched polymer. The physicochemical properties of cassava starch vary based on its source. It is characterized by its fine, white appearance, high purity (over 95% starch on a dry basis), and minimal protein and fat content (less than 1% on a dry basis). Under heat, cassava starch granules swell, creating a high-viscosity paste that subsequently decreases in viscosity upon cooling. Several factors affect cassava starch quality:

  1. Quality of Cassava Roots: The source of cassava roots, including varieties, harvesting age, and cultivation conditions, influences starch quality. Different cassava varieties yield varying starch contents. Roots harvested after 12 months tend to have higher fiber content.
  2. Starch Production Process: Operational factors during starch extraction can impact quality. Using more water results in a purer, whiter slurry. The use of sulfurous acid for bleaching affects viscosity, with higher concentrations reducing it.
  3. Storage Conditions: Temperature, humidity, and storage duration affect starch quality after production.

To assess cassava starch quality, standards like TIS 274-2521 categorize it into three classes based on properties like moisture content, starch content, ash content, insoluble ash, protein content, pH, and fineness. Additional parameters, such as whiteness, viscosity, and contaminants like SO2 and cyanide (found in fresh cassava roots), are considered for specific applications. Rigorous quality control measures are crucial in commercial transactions to ensure the preservation of starch quality.