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Current Use of Quinoa in Chile

Delatorre-Herrera, J.
Food reviews international 2003 v.19 no.1-2 pp. 155-165
databases, diet, ecotypes, highlands, irrigation, nationalities and ethnic groups, nutritive value, physiology, universities, Andes region, Chile
Quinoa, a relatively unknown crop in Chilean agriculture, is cultivated in the Andean area in the north of the country, and in coastal unirrigated lands of the southern central area. However, from pre-Columbian times (750 bc), the diverse indigenous ethnic groups that inhabited Chile used quinoa as part of their diet. Today, the area with the largest quinoa cultivation (176 ha) is found in the highlands of Iquique in the I Region. Recently, interest in cultivating quinoa for its food value and as a cash crop has increased, and considerable research is underway. A review of national databases for the last 10 years generated 52 studies of quinoa, half of which were investigations related to food uses. At present, investigations on quinoa are carried out at the universities of Chile—Santiago, Concepción, and Arturo Prat—Iquique, with studies on stress physiology, ecotype selection, selection for saponin content, saponin use, fertilization, and irrigation. In the Temuco area (IX Region), the Semillas Campex-Baer company has been working for more than 10 years with an ecotype known as Baer II, with potential for yields of 6500 kg/ha, and in commercial fields, of 3000 kg/ha. In Iquique, ecotypes from the highlands have been selected to be grown at 1000 masl, with experimental yields of up to 9000 kg/ha.