More than 200 participants “tested” yellow cassava

DegustacYucaAmarillas2_CIAT_May 2015Many people like to have cassava waiting for them at home, ready to be enjoyed either served as a side dish with a typical meal – where this root is essential – or simply to be consumed as part of the basic food basket. This is the case in many tropical regions around the world, such as Africa, Asia, and Latin America, where its production and consumption increases day by day.

There are different varieties of cassava. Some varieties, such as those with a yellow pulp and high beta-carotene content, may represent a nutritional opportunity to potentially reduce vitamin A deficiency in low-income countries with a high consumption rate of this staple food.

However, little is known in Colombia about consumer acceptance of yellow-pulp cassava varieties, compared to the white varieties commonly available, which are highly and more frequently consumed by families.

Thus, a sensory test was carried out with five samples of cooked cassava. They were tasted by 232 participants at the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT). The aim was to preliminarily determine the acceptance of four yellow cassava varieties and to identify key factors that would predict the intention of consuming these beta-carotene-rich varieties.

The four yellow cassava varieties being tested and tasted have a high beta-carotene content (more than 6 ppm), a low hydrocyanic acid content (less than 250 ppm), high dry matter content (between 30 and 40%), medium firmness levels after cooking, and several ranges of variation in their tendency to crack during the cooking process. They were compared to a white variety that has very good culinary acceptability and consumer acceptance.

Currently, data from the tasting survey are being analyzed. Based on the outcomes, it will be possible to have information from a small population showing the tendencies of a cassava variety that is not highly consumed, but does have a high nutritional content.DegustacYucaAmarillas_CIAT_May 2015

The yellow color in this cassava variety represents the high beta-carotene content that, nutritionally speaking, is converted into vitamin A. Vitamin A is a micronutrient necessary for immune function, vision, the correct protein function in the retina (necessary for night vision), defense mechanisms, and cell growth. It also plays an important role in the formation and maintenance of organs, such as heart, lungs, and kidneys, among others.

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