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Comparing characteristics of root, flour and starch of biofortified yellow-flesh and white-flesh cassava variants, and sustainability considerations: a review

Cassava is a significant food security and industrial crop, contributing as food, feed and industrial biomass in Africa, Asia and South America. Breeding efforts have led to the development of cassava variants having desirable traits such as increased root, flour, and starch yield, reduced toxicity, reduced pest/disease susceptibility and improved nutrient contents. Prominent among those breeding efforts is the development of colored-flesh cassava variants, especially biofortified yellow-fleshed ones, with increased pro-vitamin A carotenoids, compared to the white-flesh variants. The concept of sustainability in adoption of biofortified yellow-flesh cassava and its products cannot be fully grasped without some detailed information on its properties and how these variants compare to those of the white-flesh cassava. Flour and starch are highly profitable food products derived from cassava. Cassava roots can be visually distinguished based on flesh color and other physical properties, just as their flours and starches can be differentiated by their macro- and micro-properties. The few subtle differences that exist between cassava variants are identified and exploited by consumers and industry. Although white-flesh variants are still widely cultivated, value addition offered by biofortified yellow-flesh variants may strengthen acceptance and widespread cultivation among farmers, and, possibly, cultivation of biofortified yellow-flesh variants may outpace that of white-flesh variants in the future. This review compares properties of cassava root, flour, and starch from white-flesh and biofortified yellow-flesh variants. It also states the factors affecting the chemical, functional, and physicochemical properties; relationships between the physicochemical and functional properties; effects of processing on the nutritional properties; and practical considerations for sustaining adoption of the biofortified yellow-flesh cassava.