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Ahipa (Pachyrhizus ahipa [Wedd.] Parodi): an alternative legume crop for sustainable production of starch, oil and protein

Leidi, E.O., Sarmiento, R., Rodrı́guez-Navarro, D.N.
Industrial crops and products 2003 v.17 no.1 pp. 27-37
Pachyrhizus ahipa, amino acid composition, arginine, asparagine, canavanine, crops, environmental impact, harvest index, landraces, legumes, nutrient requirements, pest resistance, proteins, raw materials, roots, seed yield, seeds, starch, sugar content, sugars, sustainable agriculture
Ahipa (Pachyrhizus ahipa [Wedd.] Parodi) is a tuberous root producing legume which can be used for the production of raw materials such as starch, sugar and protein in a sustainable agriculture system. In this study, we studied root and pod production of available landraces grown at two different locations for making preliminary yield assessments and analyzed root and seed composition to determine production of raw materials. Important variation in root and pod growth and harvest index was observed among accessions. Some landraces showed higher potential for root production than others, with a higher potential for seed production. Root dry matter ranged from 16.3 to 21.1%. Root starch content ranged 38.6-54.4%, while a wider variation in root sugar content was observed (21.8-51.4%). Seeds had high protein (25.2-31.4%) and high oil contents (18.7-22.4%). Free amino acid concentration in roots was quite high (0.26-0.41%), with asparagine as the main amino-N compound. An important accumulation of canavanine, amino acid structural analog of arginine, was found in seeds of some accessions. With low nutritional requirements and high pest resistance, which underlines the low environmental impact, ahipa reaches root and seed yield similar to other root or pulse crops. Since of its yield and root and seed components (starch, sugar, proteins, oil), which could be improved by breeding, the ahipa appears a promising alternative to other traditional sources of raw materials.