Sago palms

They form huge forests in the swampy lowlands of New Guinea, representing an inexhaustible source of starch; wildly also grows in the Moluccas and the Philippine Islands, on about. Kalimantan, Sulawesi and on the west coast of about. Sumatra. In addition, it is widely cultivated in its homeland. About the sago palm as a food product, it was written “… like wheat and rye for Europe, rice for India and China, maize for North America, barley for North Africa, bananas for the West Indies, breadfruit for the islands of the South Seas, sorghum for dry lands of Africa, so is the sago palm for the Moluccas and Papuans.

Both species are low palm trees 8-12 m tall with a short thick trunk bearing a whorl of leaves at the top. Leaves pinnate, large, 4-6 m long; the sago palm Rumfa has leaf petioles with sharp thorns, the sago palm has real petioles without thorns. Inflorescence up to 2 m long, drooping. Sago palms bloom once in a lifetime, at the age of 15-20.

The trunk of a palm tree contains a lot of reserve starch in the parenchyma of its wide, loose core. Before flowering, when there is a lot of reserve starch, since after flowering the palm tree still dies, the trunk is cut down, cleaned of the remnants of the leaves, split along and washed out from the core of the starchy mass (from 75 to 300 kg from one trunk). Starch goes into suspension, settles. The precipitated starch, cleaned by washing on sieves, is not dried, but is rubbed wet through sieves with constant shaking. As a result, uneven balls are obtained, which are dried at 60-70°C. At the same time, most of the starch turns into a paste, sometimes the balls are gelatinized in heated pans greased with coconut oil. It turns out coarse-grained groats – sago, which is sometimes even stained from the plane with burnt sugar.

The first Europeans who introduced the West to the sago palm and its importance in the nutrition of the local population were Marco Polo (XIII century) and Magellan (1521), it was described by the botanist Rumph.

The plant is starchy. starch plantsStarch is not a chemically individual substance. At 96-98% it consists of polysaccharides (amylase and amylopectin), accompanied by minerals, solid fatty acids, etc. Starch-bearing plants are conventionally divided into two groups: plants of the cereal family and plants of other families. Cereal starches serve as raw materials for the production of the main types of starch: wheat (Amylum Tritici), maize or corn (Amylum Maydis) and rice (Amylum Oryzae). From plants of other families, a lot of starch is obtained from potato tubers (Amylum Solani). In tropical countries, other varieties of starch are used; of these, the main ones are: – starch from sweet potato tubers – Amylum Batatae; – Australian arrowroot – Amylum Cannae; – Indian arrowroot – Amylum Curcumae; – Westind arrowroot – Amylum Marantae; – cassava (cassava, tapioca) – Amylum Manihot. The starches obtained from the core of the trunks of some palms include sago – Sago, or Amylum Sagi. All types of starch have the same use – in the form of mucous extracts (Mucilago, Decoctum) as an enveloping and emollient. Sago and cassava are also popular dietary aids for convalescents.

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