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Asian and African Starches: Health Properties and Food Applications

V.Y. Waisundara
A.O. Obadina


Starch is an important energy source imparting health and wellness. While starches such as corn and rice appear to be the popular forms being consumed, there are others which are consumed in the world and could be promoted as alternative means of obtaining carbohydrates. This review primarily discusses the abundance,  properties and product developments involved in the usage of starches from the following: atta (Triticum durum or Triticum turgidum subsp. durum), kithul (Caryota urens), finger millet (Eucenea coracana), lotus seeds and tuber (Nelumbo nucifera), chickpea (Cicer arietinum L.), sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas Lam), cassava (Manihot esculenta Crantz), sorghum (Sorghum bicolor) and yam (Dioscorea rotundata and Dioscorea alata). While they vary in terms of physico-chemical properties (such as retrogradation, gelation and viscosity), their potential health benefits (such as preventing gastrointestinal cancer and arthritis) could be promoted among consumers as healthier choices, especially for those who are obese and/or diabetic.

Keywords: Atta, cassava, chickpea, finger millet, kithul.