Definitions

bitter-cassava

Cassava

[kuh-sah-vuh]
The cassava, yuca, manioc, or mandioca (Manihot esculenta) is a woody shrub of the Euphorbiaceae (spurge family) native to South America that is extensively cultivated as an annual crop in tropical and subtropical regions for its edible starchy tuberous root, a major source of carbohydrates. Cassava is the third largest source of carbohydrates for human food in the world, with Africa its largest center of production. The flour made of the roots is called tapioca.

Description

The cassava root is long and tapered, with a firm homogeneous flesh encased in a detachable rind, about 1 mm thick, rough and brown on the outside, just like a potato. Commercial varieties can be 5 to 10 cm in diameter at the top, and 50 to 80 cm long. A woody cordon runs along the root's axis. The flesh can be chalk-white or yellowish. The cassava plant gives the highest yield of food energy per cultivated area per day among crop plants, except possibly for sugarcane. Cassava roots are very rich in starch, and contain significant amounts of calcium (50 mg/100g), phosphorus (40 mg/100g) and vitamin C (25 mg/100g). However, they are poor in protein and other nutrients. In contrast, cassava leaves are a good source of protein if supplemented with the amino acid methionine despite containing cyanide.

History and economic impact

Wild populations of M. esculenta subspecies flabellifolia, shown to be the progenitor of domesticated cassava, are centered in west-central Brazil where it was likely first domesticated no more than 10,000 years BP. By 6,600 BC, manioc pollen appears in the Gulf of Mexico lowlands, at the San Andres archaeological site. The oldest direct evidence of cassava cultivation comes from a 1,400 year old Maya site, Joya de Ceren, in El Salvador. although the species Manihot esculenta likely originated further south in Brazil and Paraguay. With its high food potential, it had become a staple food of the native populations of northern South America, southern Mesoamerica, and the West Indies by the time of the Spanish conquest, and its cultivation was continued by the colonial Portuguese and Spanish. Forms of the modern domesticated species can be found growing in the wild in the south of Brazil. While there are several wild Manihot species, all varieties of M. esculenta are cultigens.

World production of cassava root was estimated to be 184 million tonnes in 2002, the majority of production is in Africa where 99.1 million tonnes were grown, 51.5 million tonnes were grown in Asia and 33.2 million tonnes in Latin America and the Caribbean. However, based on the statistics from the FAO of the United Nations, Thailand is the largest exporting country of Dried Cassava with a total of 77% of world export in 2005. The second largest exporting country is Vietnam, with 13.6%, followed by Indonesia (5.8%) and Costa Rica (2.1%).

In many places in the Americas, yuca was the staple food. This translated into many images of yuca being used in pre-Colombian art. The Moche people often depicted yuca in their ceramics.

Farming

Cassava is harvested by hand by raising the lower part of stem and pulling the roots out of the ground, then removing them from the base of the plant . The upper parts of the stems with the leaves are plucked off before harvest. Cassava is propagated by cutting the stem into sections of approximately 30 cm (1 foot), these being planted prior to the wet season.

Processing and toxicity

The leaves cannot be consumed raw since they contain free and bound cyanogenic glucosides. These are converted to cyanide in the presence of linamarase, a naturally occurring enzyme in cassava. The roots, however, are eaten raw everywhere in Africa. Cassava varieties are often categorized as either "sweet" or "bitter", signifying the absence or presence of toxic levels of cyanogenic glucosides. The so-called "sweet" (actually "not bitter") cultivars can produce as little as 20 milligrams of cyanide (CN) per kilogram of fresh roots, while "bitter" ones may produce more than 50 times as much (1 g/kg). Cassavas grown during drought are especially high in these toxins. One dose of pure cassava cyanogenic glucoside (40mg) is sufficient to kill a cow.

Societies which traditionally eat cassava generally understand that soaking and/or cooking is necessary to avoid getting sick. However, problems do occur - konzo (also called mantakassa) is a paralytic neurological disease associated with several weeks of almost exclusive consumption of insufficiently processed bitter cassava. Dr Jasson Ospina, an Australian plant chemist, has developed a simple method to reduce the cyanide content of cassava flour. The method involves mixing the flour with water into a thick paste and then letting it stand in the shade for five hours in a thin layer spread over a basket, allowing an enzyme in the flour to break down the cyanide compound. The cyanide compound produces hydrogen cyanide gas, which escapes into the atmosphere, reducing the amount of poison by up to five-sixths and making the flour safe for consumption the same evening. This method is currently being promoted in rural African communities that are dependent on cassava.

For some smaller-rooted "sweet" varieties, cooking is sufficient to eliminate all toxicity. The larger-rooted "bitter" varieties used for production of flour or starch must be processed to remove the cyanogenic glucosides. The large roots are peeled and then ground into flour, which is then soaked in water, squeezed dry several times, and toasted. The starch grains that float to the surface during the soaking process are also used in cooking. The flour is used throughout the Caribbean. The traditional method used in West Africa is to peel the roots and put them into water for 3 days to ferment. The roots then are dried or cooked. In Nigeria and several other west African countries, including Ghana, Benin, Togo, Ivory Coast and Burkina Faso, they are usually grated and lightly fried in palm oil to preserve them. The result is a foodstuff called 'Gari'. Fermentation is also used in other places such as Indonesia.

The reliance on cassava as a food source and the resulting exposure to the goitrogenic effects of thiocyanate has been responsible for the endemic goitres seen in the Akoko area of southwestern Nigeria.

Ethnomedical uses

  • The bitter variety of Manihot root is used to treat diarrhea and malaria.
  • The leaves are used to treat hypertension, headache, and pain.
  • Cubans commonly use cassava to treat irritable bowel syndrome, the paste is eaten in excess during treatment.

Uses

Cooked in various ways, cassava is used in a variety of dishes. The soft-boiled root has a delicate flavor and can replace boiled potatoes in many uses: as an accompaniment for meat dishes, or made into purées, dumplings, soups, stews, gravies, etc.. Deep fried (after boiling or steaming), it can replace fried potatoes, with a distinctive flavor. Tapioca and foufou are made from the starchy cassava root flour. Tapioca is an essentially flavourless starchy ingredient, or fecula, produced from treated and dried cassava (manioc) root and used in cooking. It is similar to sago and is commonly used to make a milky pudding similar to rice pudding. Cassava flour, also called tapioca flour or tapioca starch, can also replace wheat flour, and is so-used by some people with wheat allergies, such as coeliac disease. Boba tapioca pearls are made from cassava root. It is also used in cereals for which several tribes in South America have used it extensively. It is also used in making cassava cake, a popular pastry.

The juice of the bitter cassava, boiled to the consistence of thick syrup and flavored with spices, is called Cassareep. It is used as a basis for various sauces and as a culinary flavoring, principally in tropical countries. It is exported chiefly from Guyana.

The leaves can be pounded to a fine chaff and cooked as a palaver sauce in Sierra Leone, usually with palm oil but vegetable oil can also be used. Palaver sauces contain meat and fish as well. It is necessary to wash the leaf chaff several times to remove the bitterness.

In many countries, significant research has begun to evaluate the use of cassava as an ethanol biofuel.

In China, dried tapioca are used among other industrial applications as raw material for the production of consumable alcohol and emerging non-grain feedstock of ethanol fuel, which is a form of renewable energy to substitute petrol (gasoline). Under the Development Plan for Renewable Energy in the 11th Five-Year Plan in China, the target is to increase the application of ethanol fuel by non-grain feedstock to 2 million tonnes, and that of bio-diesel to 200 thousand tonnes by 2010. This will be equivalent to a substitute of 10 million tonnes of petroleum. As a result, cassava (tapioca) chips have gradually become a major source for ethanol production.

Caribbean

Cuba

Yuca, as cassava is called in Cuba, is a staple of Cuban cuisine. As in other Caribbean islands it is ground up and made into a round shaped flat bread called casabe. As a side dish it can be boiled, covered with raw onion rings and sizzling garlic infused olive oil. It is also boiled then cut into strips and fried to make "yuca frita" (similar to french fries). Yuca is also one of the main ingredients in a traditional Cuban vegetarian stew called "Ajiaco", along with potatoes, malanga, boniato (sweet potato), plantain, Ñame, corn and other vegetables. Cuban Buñuelos, a local variation of a traditional Spanish fritter (similar to the French beignet) is made with yuca and boniato (sweet potato) instead of flour. These are fried and topped off with anisette infused sugar syrup.

Haiti

Cassava (kassav) is a popular starch and common staple in Haiti where it is often eaten as part of a meal or by itself occasionally. It is usually eaten in bread form, often with peanut butter spread on the top or with milk. Cassava flour, known as Musa or Moussa is boiled to create a meal of the same name. Cassava can also be eaten with various stews and soups, such as squash soup (referred to as soup joumou). Cassava flour is also the flour used for a haitan cookies, called BonBon Lamindon, a sweet melt in your month cookie. The root vegetable yuca is grated, rinsed well, dried, salted, and pressed to form flat cakes about 4 inches in diameter and 1/2-inch thick.

Dominican Republic

Cassava bread (casabe) is an often used complement in meals, much in the same way as wheat bread is used in Spanish, French and Italian lunches. Also, as an alternative to side-dishes like french fries, arepitas de yuca are consumed, which are deep-fried buttered lumps of shredded cassava. Bollitos, similar to the Colombian ones are also made. Also, a type of empanada called catibía has its dough made out of cassava flour. Also it is used for Cassava bread (casabe), just peeled and boiled then eaten with olive oil and vinegar and served with other root vegetables like potatoes, ñame, yams, batata (sweet potatoes) and yautía (dasheen)Yuca, as it is widely known in the Dominican Republic, is also used to make (chulos), mainly in the Cibao region. The Yuca is grated, ingredients are added, and it is shaped into a cylindrical form, much like a croquette, and are finally fried. Also is an important ingredient for sancocho.

Puerto Rico

The root, in its boiled and peeled form, is also present in the typical Puerto Rican stew, the Sancocho, together with plantains, potatoes, yautía, among other vegetables (it can also be eaten singly as an alternative to boiled potatoes or plantains). It can be grounded and used as a paste (masa) to make a typically Puerto Rican Christmas favorite dish called "Pasteles". It is somewhat similar to Mexican tamales in appearance, but is made with root vegetables, plantains or yuca, instead of corn. Pasteles are rectangular and have a meat filling in the center, chicken or pork. They are wrapped in a plantain leaf. "Masa" made from cassava is also used for "alcapurrias". These are shaped like lemons and are filled with meat similar to the pasteles but they are fried instead.

Jamaica

In Jamaica, cassava is traditionally made into "bammy," a small fried cassava cake inherited from the native Arawak Indians. The cassava root is grated, rinsed well, dried, salted, and pressed to form flat cakes about 4 inches in diameter and 1/2-inch thick. The cakes are lightly fried, then dipped in coconut milk and fried again. Bammies are usually served as a starchy side dish with breakfast, with fish dishes or alone as a snack.

The Bahamas

In The Bahamas, cassava is eaten boiled, either alone or with sweet potatoes, cabbage, plantains, and meat. Alternatively, it is cooked in soups with okra or with dumplings, or baked into "cassava bread."

Eastern Caribbean

In the islands of the Eastern Caribbean, cassava is traditionally peeled and boiled and served with flour dumplings and other root vegetables like potatoes, yams, sweet potatoes and dasheen.

Bermuda

Cassava pie is a traditional Christmas dish. The cassava is peeled and chopped finely, then mixed with egg, butter and sugar. It is layered in a baking dish in alternate layers with chicken or pork. It is then baked in the oven, and leftovers may be fried. It is eaten as a savoury dish, either on the side or as a main meal.

Using the traditional method of frying potato chips, bagged 'cassava chips' are produced and exported.

Central America

Belize

The Bile Up (or Boil Up) is consider the cultural dish of the Kriols. It is combination Boiled Eggs, Fish and/or Pig tail, with number of ground foods such as Cassava, Green Plantains, Yams, Sweet Potatoes, and Tomato Sauce. In Belize, cassava is traditionally made into "bammy," a small fried cassava cake inherited from the Garifuna. The cassava root is grated, rinsed well, dried, salted, and pressed to form flat cakes about 4 inches in diameter and 1/2-inch thick. The cakes are lightly fried, then dipped in coconut milk and fried again. Bammies are usually served as a starchy side dish with breakfast, with fish dishes or alone as a snack. Cassava Pone is a traditional Belizean Kriol and pan-West Indian dessert recipe for a classic cassava flour cake sometimes made with coconuts and raisins.

Garifuna

Ereba (cassava bread) made from grated cassava or manioc. This is done in an ancient and time-consuming process involving a long, snake-like woven basket (ruguma) which strains the cassava of its juice. It is then dried overnight and later sieved through flat rounded baskets (hibise) to form flour that is baked into pancakes on a large iron griddle. Ereba is fondly eaten with fish, hudutu (pounded green and ripe plantains) or alone with gravy (lasusu).

El Salvador

In El Salvador, yuca is used in soups, or fried. Yuca Frita con Chicharrón is when the yuca is deep fried and served with curtido (a pickled cabbage, onion and carrot topping) and pork rinds or pepesquitas (fried baby sardines). The Yuca is sometimes served boiled instead of fried. Pan con pavo, translated to turkey with bread, is a warm turkey submarine sandwich similar to a hoagie. The turkey is marinated and then roasted with Pipil spices and handpulled. This sandwich is traditionally served with turkey, tomato, and watercress.

Costa Rica

In Costa Rica, yuca is widely used, both boiled in soups or fried and served with fried pieces of pork and lime. This is sold as a snack in most places you travel. When travelling by bus, the bus is often boarded by a local trying to sell "sandwich bagged" snacks of yuca, pork and lime. Two main sources of food for locals in rural areas, living off resources within their own land, are yuca and plantain.

Panama

In Panama, yuca is sometimes used to make carimanolas. The boiled cassava is mashed into a dough and then filled with spiced meat. The meat-filled dumplings are deep fried to a golden brown. It is also used in brothy soups together with chicken, potatoes, and other vegetables.

Nicaragua

In Nicaragua, yuca is used in soups and in the Nicaraguan typical dish vigoron, which basically consists of boiled yuca, chicharron, and cabbage salad. Yuca is also used to make buñuelos and is one of the main ingredients in the national dish Vaho.

South America

Bolivia

Cassava is very popular in Bolivia with the name of yuca and consumed in a variety of dishes. It is common, after boiling it, to fry it with oil and eat it with a special hot sauce known as llajwa or along with cheese and choclo (dried corn). In warm and rural areas, yuca is used as a substitute of bread in everyday meals. The capacity of cassava to be stored for a long time makes it suitable as an ideal and cheap reserve of nutrients. Recently, more restaurants, hotels and common people are including cassava into their original recipes and everyday meals as a substitute for potato and bread.

Brazil

Cassava is heavily featured in the cuisine of Brazil. The dish vaca atolada ("mud-stranded cow") is a meat and cassava stew, cooked until the root has turned into a paste; and pirão is a thick gravy-like gruel prepared by cooking fish bits (such as heads and bones) with cassava flour, or farinha de mandioca. In the guise of farofa (lightly roasted flour), cassava combines with rice and beans to make the basic meal of many Brazilians. Farofa is also one of the most common side dishes to many Brazilian foods including feijoada, the famous salt-pork-and-black-beans stew. Boiled cassava is also made into a popular sweet pudding. Another popular sweet is cassava cake. After boiling, Cassava may also be deep-fried to form a snack or side dish. In the north and northeast of Brazil Cassava is known as macaxeira and in the south and southeast of the country as mandioca or aipim.

Colombia

In Colombia, cassava is widely known as yuca among its people. In the Colombian northern coast region, it is used mainly in the preparation of Sancocho (a kind of rich soup) and other soups. In the Valle department it is famous, the Pandebono bread made of the yuca dough.

In the coastal region, is known especially in the form of "Bollo de yuca" (a kind of bread) or "enyucados". "Bollo de yuca" is a dough made of ground yuca that is wrapped in aluminum foil and then boiled, and is served with butter and cheese. "Enyucado" is a dessert made of ground boiled yuca, anise, sugar, and sometimes guava jam. In the caribbean region of Colombia it is also eaten roasted, fried or boiled with soft homemade cheese or cream cheese and mainly as guarnition of fish dishes.

Suriname

In Suriname, cassava is widely used by the Creole, Indian, Javanese and indigenous population. Telo is a popular dish which is salted fish and cassava, where the cassava is steamed and deepfried. Other dishes with cassava include soups, dosi and many others.

Ecuador

In Ecuador, cassava is referred to as "yuca" and included in a number of dishes. In the highlands, it is found boiled in soups and stews, as a side in place of potatoes, and reprocessed yuca is made into laminar fried chips called "yuquitos" which are a substitute for potato chips.

Ecuadorians also make bread from yuca flour and mashed yuca rood, including the extremely popular Bolitos de Yuca or Yuquitas which range from balls of yuca dough formed around a heart of fresh cheese and deep-fried (found primarily in the north), to the simpler variety typical to Colombia which are merely baked balls of yuca dough. Yuca flour is sold in most markets.

In the Amazon Basin, yuca is a main ingredient in chicha - a traditional fermented drink produced by the indigenous Quichua population.

Yuca leaves, steamed, are part of the staple diet of the indigenous population in all areas where it is grown.

Paraguay

Cassava, or mandioca in Spanish, or mandi´o in Guarani, is a staple dish of Paraguay. It grows extremely well in the soil conditions throughout the country, and it is eaten at practically every meal. It is generally boiled and served as a side dish. It is also ground into a flour and used to make chipa, a bagel-shaped cheesy bread popular during holidays.

Peru

Cassava is also popular in Peru by the name of yuca, where it is used both boiled and fried. Boiled yuca is usually served as a side dish or in soup, while fried yuca is usually served together with onions and peppers as an apperitif or accompanying chicha.

Venezuela

As in the Dominican Republic, Cassava bread (casabe) is also a popular complement in traditional meals, as common as the arepas. Venezuelan Casabe is made by roasting ground cassava spread out as meter wide pancake over a hot surface (plancha). The result has the consistency of a cracker, and is broken in small pieces for consumption. There is also a sweet variety, called Naiboa, made as a sandwich of two casabe pancakes with a spread of Papelón in between. Naiboa also has a softer consistency. In general terms, Mandioc is an essential ingredient in Venezuelan food, and can be found stewed, roasted or fried as sides or complements. In Venezuela cassava is also known as "yuca". Yuca is actually the root of the cassava plant. Yuca is boiled, fried or grilled to serve aside of main meals or to eat with cheese, butter, or margarine.

Countries in Africa

In the humid and sub-humid areas of tropical Africa, cassava is either a primary staple food or a secondary co-staple. Nigeria is the world's largest producer of cassava. In West Africa, particularly in Nigeria and Sierra Leone, cassava is commonly prepared as eba or garri. The cassava is grated, pressed, fermented and fried then mixed with boiling water to form a thick paste. In West Africa the cassava root is pounded, mixed with boiling water to form a thick paste and cooked as eba. Historically, people economically forced to depend on cassava risk chronic poisoning diseases, such as tropical ataxic neuropathy (TAN), or such malnutrition diseases as kwashiorkor and endemic goitre. However, the price of cassava has risen significantly in the last half decade and lower-income people have turned to other carbohydrate-rich foods like rice and spaghetti.

In Central Africa, cassava is traditionally processed by boiling and mashing. The resulting mush can be mixed with spices and then cooked further or stored. A popular snack is made by marinating cassava in salted water for a few days and then grilling it in small portions.

In Tanzania and Kenya, cassava is known as mihogo in Swahili. Though the methods of cooking cassava vary from region to region, the main method is simply frying it. The skin of the root is removed and the remains are sectioned into small bite-size chunks that can then be soaked in water to aid in frying. Thereafter, the chunks are fried and then served, sometimes with a chili-salt mixture. This fried cassava is a very common street food as it is relatively cheap to buy, easy to prepare and good to eat.

Cassava flour can also be made into a staple food with a consistency like polenta or mashed potatoes. The Swahili name for it is ugali while the Kikuyu name for it is mwanga). It's also called fufu in Lingala.

Residents in the Sub-Saharan nation of the Central African Republic have developed multiple, unique ways of utilizing the abundant cassava plant. In addition to the methods described above, local residents fry thin slices of the cassava root, resulting in a crunchy snack similar in look and taste to potato chips.

The root can be pounded into flour and made into bread or cookies. Many recipes have been documented and tested with groups of women in Mozambique and Zambia.This flour can also be mixed with precise amounts of salt and water to create a heavy liquid used as white paint in construction.

The cassava leaf is also soaked and boiled for extended periods of time to remove toxins and then eaten. Known as gozo in Sango and pondu in Lingala, the taste is similar to spinach.

Asia

China

The Chinese name for cassava is Mushu (木薯), literally meaning tree potato. In the subtropical region of southern China, cassava is the fifth largest crop in term of production, after rice, sweet potato, sugar cane, and maize. China is also the largest export market of cassava produced in Vietnam and Thailand. Over 60% of cassava production in China is concentrated in a single province, Guangxi, averaging over seven million tons annually. Cassava in China is being increasingly used for ethanol fuel production. On December 22, 2007, the largest cassava ethanol fuel production facility was completed in Beihai with annual output of two hundred thousand tons, which would need an average of one and half million tons of cassava.

India

In the state of Kerala, India, cassava is a secondary staple food. Boiled cassava is normally eaten with fish curry (kappayum meenum in Malayalam which literally means casava with fish) or meat, and is a traditional favorite of many Keralites. Kappa biriyani — cassava mixed with meat is a popular dish in central Kerala. In Tamil Nadu, the National Highway 68 between Thalaivasal and Attur has many cassava processing factories (local name Sago Factory) alongside it - indicating an abundance of it in the neighborhood. In Tamil Nadu it is called Kappa Kellangu or Marchini Kellangu. Cassava is widely cultivated and eaten as a staple food in Andhra Pradesh. The household name for processed cassava is saggu biyyam. Cassava is also deep fried in oil to make tasty homemade crisps,then sprinked with flaked chillies or chilli powder and salt for taste.It is known as Mara Genasu in Kannada.

Cassava Pearls {Sabu-Daana) is cassava-root starch and is used for making sweet milk puddings.

Indonesia

Cassava is widely eaten in Indonesia, where it is known as singkong, and used as a staple food during hard times but has lower status than rice. It is boiled or fried (after steaming), baked under hot coals, or added to kolak dessert. It is also fermented to make peuyeum and tape, a sweet paste which can be mixed with sugar and made into a drink, the alcoholic (and green) es tape. It is available as an alternative to potato crisps. Gaplek, a dried form of cassava, is an important source of calories in the off-season in the limestone hills of southern Java. Their young leaves also eaten as gulai daun singkong (cassava leaves in coconut milk), urap (javanese salad) and as main ingredient in buntil (javanese vegetable rolls).

Philippines

Tagalog speakers call cassava kamoteng kahoy (literal English means "wood yam"). Visayans call cassava balanghoy. Cassava is mainly prepared as a dessert. It is also steamed and eaten plain. Sometimes it is steamed and eaten with grated coconut. The most popular dessert is the cassava cake/pie, which uses grated cassava, sugar, coconut milk, and coconut cream. A few years ago, the deaths of several school children in the Philippines were attributed to improperly prepared cassava snacks the children had purchased on a street corner; however the cause was later found to be pesticide containers used to prepare the food rather than the cassava.

The leaves are also cooked and eaten.

Sri Lanka

Though cassava is not widely cultivated in Sri Lanka, tapioca, called Maniyok, is used as a supplementary food. Some Sri Lankans take it as breakfast. Often root is taken fresh and cleaned boiled in a open pot. Some preparations add saffron to make it little yellowish in color. Eating Maniyok with scraped coconut is common. Another popular preparation adds "Katta Sambol" (Red Hot chili mix) with boiled Tapioca.

Maniyok Curry is a good side dish when taking rice, a Sri Lankan staple food. There is belief among Sri Lankans that one should not take Maniyok together with Ginger which will cause food poisoning. Leaves of the plant are also prepared as side dish and called "Malluma". Dried, powdered, and starched Tapioca are widely used in Sri Lanka.

Vietnam

Cassava's name in Vietnamese is "Khoai Mì" (Southern). It is planted almost everywhere in Vietnam and its root is amongst the cheapest sources of food there. The fresh roots are sliced into thin pieces and then dried in the sun for easy storage. Tapioca is the most valuable product from processed cassava roots there.

Cassava is used worldwide for animal feed as well.

Cassava hay

Cassava hay, is hay which is produced at a young growth stage, 3-4 months and being harvested about 30-45 cm above ground, sun-dried for 1-2 days until having final dry matter of at least 85%. The cassava hay contains high protein content (20-27% Crude Protein) and condensed tannins (1.5-4% CP). It is used as a good roughage source for dairy, beef, buffalo, goats, and sheep by either direct feeding or as a protein source in the concentrate mixtures. More details can be searched from Metha Wanapat, Asian-Australasian Journal of Animal Sciences.

Cassava pests

In Africa the cassava mealybug (Phenacoccus manihoti) and cassava green mite (Mononychellus tanajoa) can cause up to 80% crop loss, which is extremely detrimental to the production of subsistence farmers. These pests were rampant in the 1970s and 1980s but were brought under control following the establishment of the Biological Control Centre for Africa of the IITA. The Centre investigated biological control for cassava pests; two South American natural enemies Apoanagyrus lopezi (a parasitoid wasp) and Typhlodromalus aripo (a predatory mite) were found to effectively control the cassava mealybug and the cassava green mite respectively.

The cassava mosaic virus causes the leaves of the cassava plant to wither, limiting the growth of the root. The virus is spread by the whitefly and by the transplanting of diseased plants into new fields. Sometime in the late 1980s, a mutation occurred in Uganda that made the virus even more harmful, causing the complete loss of leaves. This mutated virus has been spreading at a rate of 50 miles per year, and as of 2005 may be found throughout Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Republic of the Congo.

Notes

References

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