Strategies to overcome post-harvest physiological deterioration in cassava (Manihot esculenta) root: a review
Cassava is of global importance both as a food and energy source. Owing to the diversity of its utilization, adaptation and low input requirements, cassava not only provides a source of revenue for rural farmers, it also serve as an important source of raw material for many industries. Cassava roots are notorious for their short shelf life due to Post-harvest physiological deterioration (PPD) leading to significant economic losses. PPD - a rapid oxidative reaction that initiates in cassava roots within 24 to 48 hours after harvest, discolouring them, thereby renders them unmarketable and unpalatable. Secondary post-harvest deterioration often appears when the edible cassava roots suffer moderate to severe damage mediated by a wide range of pathogenic microorganisms. Documented strategies to delay PPD in cassava; include the use of improved storage techniques; conventional breeding; and genetic engineering to produce target changes in metabolism were extensively reviewed. The challenges posed by each strategy were highlighted.
Keywords: Cassava roots, post-harvest physiological deterioration, quality and tolerance