Maranta belongs to the ancient food plants of the humid tropical and upland (in the lower zone) regions of South America. It is still wildly found in Brazil, also on the Fiji Islands. From America, arrowroot was transferred to the Antilles, and in the 16th century. The Portuguese brought it to Africa and India. It is now widely cultivated in various tropical countries.
Perennial herbaceous plant up to 1 m tall. Stem green, with anthocyanin nodes; basal and stem leaves, very large and long, entire, with leaf sheaths. Inflorescences paniculate, apical. Rhizomes long, fusiform-thickened and segmented, up to 20-40 cm long.
Harvest of rhizomes from 1 ha reaches 8-12 tons; they are collected after 8-10 months. after landing. The rhizomes as such are not edible; they are dried and, having removed the wrappers and fibrous parts, they are processed into flour and starch (yield 25-27%). The size of starch grains is approximately 30-40 microns. Arrowroot starch is used specifically as a medical food product for metabolic diseases, anemia of the intestine and emaciation.
Other varieties of starch are also referred to under the general name “arrowroot”, for example, the Australian arrowroot, obtained from the tubers of Canna edulis Ker-Gawl. (family Cannaceae). The Australian arrowroot has the largest grains, they reach 135 microns and are visible to the naked eye. The homeland of the edible canna is tropical America (the ancient culture of the Indians of Peru), but the plant is cultivated far beyond its range – Tropical Asia, many in Northern Australia, the Pacific Islands, Hawaii.
Arrowroot Indian is obtained from the tubers of narrow-leaved turmeric – Curcuma angustifolia Roxb. (family Zingiberaceae). The tubers of this type of turmeric (unlike the yellow tubers of Curcuma longa L.) are colorless inside. The plant is found wild and cultivated in India. The starch is applied in the same way as true arrowroot starch.
The plant is starchy. starch plants
Starch 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. Sago, or Amylum Sagi, is among the starches obtained from the core of the trunks of some palms. Sago and cassava are also popular dietary aids for convalescents.