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About Cassava

About Cassava

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African Journal of Biotechnology Vol. 6 (18), pp. 2065-2073, 19 September 2007Available online at http://www.academicjournals.org/AJBISSN 1684–5315 © 2007 Academic Journals
Cassava wastes: treatment options and value additionalternatives
A. O. Ubalua
Cassava Research Programme, National Root Crops Research Institute (NRCRI) Umudike, P.M.B. 7006 Umuahia, AbiaState, Nigeria, E-mail: alfreduba@yahoo.com.
Accepted 4 June, 2007
Value addition of cassava and cassava wastes is necessitated by rapid post-harvest spoilage,deterioration, low protein content and environmental pollution caused by the effluent and the otherassociated wastes that poses aesthetic nuisance. Biogas plants of all sizes and varying levels oftechnical sophistication not only recover the energy contained in cassava wastes but also eliminatemost of the animal and human health problems associated with contamination. Studies have shown thetechnical feasibility and nutritional desirability of converting carbohydrates and their residues intoproducts containing a large amount of protein by means of microorganisms. Wastes transformationoffers the possibility of creating marketable value-added products. There exists a great potential in theuse of microorganisms such as fungi for the production of high quality feedstuffs from the abundantlyavailable agro-industrial wastes, particularly carbohydrate residues. Cassava wastes can be processedand converted into value-added components such as methane (biogas), pig meat, ethanol, surfactantand fertilizer etc. Attention is now focused on the by-products of the anaerobic decomposition of thewaste that takes place in a biodigester, which are the liquid fraction called biol and the solid fraction orbiosol, which are excellent fertilizers for a variety of crops. The present review addresses the progressthat has been made in each of these aspects with emphasis on the advantages of biol and biosolfertilizers.
Key words:
Carbohydrate residue, waste transformation, biofertilizers.
Cassava processing is generally considered to contributesignificantly to environmental pollution and aestheticnuisance. The two major wastes of cassava processing inNigeria are cassava sievates (a product from garriprocessing), and cassava offal (wastes from fufu produc-tion). About 10 million tonnes of cassava are processedfor garri annually in Nigeria alone (Okafor, 1992). In theprocessing of cassava fermented products, the roots arenormally peeled to rid them of two outer coverings: a thinbrown outer covering, and a thicker leathery parenchy-matous inner covering. These peels are regarded aswastes and are usually discarded and allowed to rot. Withhand peeling, the peels can constitute 20 - 35% of thetotal weight of the tuber (Ekundayo, 1980). The wastesgenerated at present pose a disposal problem and wouldeven be more problematic in the future with increasedindustrial production of cassava products such ascassava flour and dried cassava fufu. Products of fer-mentation of cassava peels from such heaps include foulodour and sometimes poisonous and polluted air, whichwhen inhaled by man or animals may result into infectionand diseases that may take a long time to manifest. Inthe same vein, vegetation and soil around the heaps ofcassava peels are rendered unproductive and devastateddue to biological and chemical reactions taking placebetween the continuously fermenting peels, soil and thesurrounding vegetation. Since these peels could make upto 10% of the wet weight of the roots, they constitute animportant potential resource if properly harnessed bio-technologically (Obadina et al., 2006).Fermentation has been identified as one of the lessexpensive means of detoxification and increase of the
2066 Afr. J. Biotechnol.protein quality of cassava. The use of microorganisms toconvert carbohydrates, lignocelluloses and other Indus-trial wastes into foodstuffs rich in protein is possible dueto the following characteristics of microorganisms: abilityfor a very fast growth rate, can be easily modified gene-tically for growth on a particular substrate under particularcultural conditions, high protein content varying from 35to 60%, ability to grow in slurry or on solids and theirnutritional values are as good as other conventionalfoods rich in protein. Barana (2000) reported that cassa-va liquid residue contains minerals (nitrogen, carbon,phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium, sulphur,zinc, manganese, copper, iron and sodium) which, afteranaerobic biodigestion, can still be used for fertirrigation,since the digestion processes does not substantiallydecrease the mineral content. Many attempts have beenmade to aggregate economic value to the liquid residueby considering its utilization as a fertilizer (Ponte, 2001),herbicide (Fioretto, 1985), insecticide (Ponte et al., 1992),nematicide (Ponte and Franco, 1983; Sena and Ponte,1982), biosurfactant (Santos et al., 2000) or substrate formicroorganism growth (Wosiacki et al., 1994). Theproduction of biogas (Larceda, 1991; Fernandes, 1989;Fernandes, 1995; Barana, 1996; Barana, 2000), single-cell oil (Wosiacki et al., 1994), microbial protein(Menezes, 1994) and recently, aromas (Damasceno,1998) can be sited as examples of its use.
The problems of pollution from cassava processing aremore social and economic in nature than technological.Interventions, usually from the government, are required.Most governments recognize the need to control wasteproduced by cassava factories, but they are equallyaware of the economic risk involved in such a strategy.Accessible technologies for most scales of processingare available; however, the cost of implementing thetechnology is, in many cases, prohibitive. According tostarch processors, the installation of pollution controldevices can be 20 - 50% of the total investment cost of alarge-scale factory. Full implementation of strict environ-mental controls too quickly can have negative conse-quences, forcing the industry to forfeit its competitive-ness. Dealing with environmental problems resulting fromprocessing is generally regarded as a necessary expensewith no direct return.Waste materials from cassava processing (e.g. starch)are divided into four categories:a) Peelings from initial processingb) Fibrous by-products from crushing and sieving (pulpwaste)c) Starch residues after starch settling andd) Waste water (effluent).
Ensiling of solid residues
A residue is a substance resulting from the processing ofa product. It becomes a co-product or a by-product whenprofitable use is made of it. If this is not the case, theresidue becomes a waste, which is defined as a materialwith no apparent market, social, or environmental value,that constitutes an environmental nuisance and a sourceof pollution. In starch processing, pulp waste is the mainproblem, especially for the bigger factories, whichproduce massive quantities. Dealing with this waste isdifficult, as it is not easily dried, due to its high moistureand starch contents (Sriroth et al., 2000). On a dry weightbasis, pulp constitutes about 20% of the original roots.Ensiling of cassava residues is done by washing,drying and grinding of the residues. Ensiling is followedimmediately after addition of 0.5% salt (of the freshweight of the residue) before placing them either in a pitdug out of the ground, in a cement container or in plasticbags. These are filled with the residues as quickly aspossible and compacted properly to eliminate air, so as tominimize the loss of nutrients by oxidation. Usually apolyethylene sheet is used to cover the ensiled material,to create anaerobic conditions for fermentation. Duringensiling, anaerobic bacteria multiply rapidly, acceleratingfermentation. Ideally the microorganisms which growmost rapidly will be predominantly
specieswhich produce lactic acid from the fermented residues.The produced lactic acid lowers the pH and fermen-tation ceases after 3 to 4 weeks when the pH becomesso low that all microbial growth is inhibited. If ensilingprocedures are such that lactic acid producing bacteriaare not favoured, C
type of microorganisms willgrow. These organisms utilize water-soluble carbohy-drates, lactic acid and protein for growth and producebutyric acid. However, the quality of silage is greatlyreduced if a
type of fermentation predominates.In addition to
microorganisms,silage also contains yeasts, molds, coliforms, bacilli andpropionic acid producing bacteria.Apart from utilization of sugars as energy sources,silage microorganisms degrade protein to amino acids,amines and ammonia during fermentation. Literallyhundreds of fermentation products are formed in additionto lactic and butyric acids. In case of cellulosic materialswith high lignin components, digestion by animals isminimal. In such cases, a small amount of fermentablecarbohydrates such as corn meal or molasses is addedto produce silage, thus ensuring rapid fermentation.Silage making normally serves as one of the effectivemeans of conserving high-moisture products for animalfeed. Many crop residues are deficient in protein andminerals. It is therefore not uncommon for farmers to addproducts such as urea and minerals at the time ofensiling.Ensiling lowers the cyanide level to non-toxic level,leads to a reduction in pH to 4.0 and allows lactic acid tobuild-up. Increased ensiling time decreased the levels of
 organic acids (acetic and butyric acids) while that of lacticacid is increased. The product can be subsequently usedas animal feed (Nguyen et al., 1997).
Fermentation of cassava peels
Cassava peel wastes are generated in the production offarihna, garri and chikwangue. Inappropriate storage ofthe peels for long periods is the main issue especiallywith heavy rainfall. Utilization of the peel is limited by itslow digestibility and toxicity from extremely high levels ofhydrocyanic acid. Fermentation not only reduces toxicity,but the enzyme-resistant lingo-cellulose material isconverted into a more digestible substrate. Following fer-mentation, cassava peel can be formulated into pig andpoultry feed (Ofuya and Obilor, 1993).Oboh (2006) studied the nutrient enrichment ofcassava peels using a mixed culture of
Saccharomyces cerevisae 
spp. solid media fermen-tation techniques. Three treatments (mixing of 150 ml ofwastewater from fermented cassava pulp with 200 g ofwashed, dried and ground cassava peels and mixing of150 ml of wastewater from the fermented inoculated pulpwith 200 g of washed, dried and ground cassava peels)were observed for fermentation. The unfermented cassa-va peels served as control. The result of the analysis ofthe fermented cassava peels revealed that there was anincrease in the protein content of the cassava peelsfermented with wastewater from fermented cassava pulpwhen compared to unfermented peels (8.2%) (Oboh,2006). This increase was highest in the peel fermentedwith wastewater from the inoculated cassava pulp(211.1%). The increase in the protein content of thecassava peels fermented with wastewater from theinoculated fermented cassava pulp could be attributed tothe possible secretion of some extracellular enzymes(proteins) such as amylases, linamarase and cellulase(Oboh et al., 2003) into the cassava mash by thefermenting organisms (Raimbault, 1998), as well asincrease in the growth and proliferation of thefungi/bacterial complex in the form of single cell proteins(Antai and Mbongo, 1994; Oboh et al., 2002). Converse-ly, a decrease in the carbohydrate content of the cassavapeels fermented with wastewater from the inoculatedcassava pulp (51.1%) was observed when compared tothe unfermented cassava peels (64.6%). The decreasecould be attributed to the ability of the fungi/bacterialcomplex to hydrolyze starch into glucose and ultimatelythe glucose will be used by the same organisms as acarbon source to synthesize fungi/bacteria biomass richin protein (Oboh et al., 2002). However, Oboh (2006)observed that there was no discernable trend in the fat,crude fibre, ash and the mineral content of the cassavapeels.Cassava peels normally have higher concentration ofcyanogenic glucosides than the parenchyma (pulp) andUbalua 2067this makes the peel unsuitable for animal feed. Itsfermentation with wastewater from the fermentedcassava pulp reduced the cyanide content of the peelswhen compared with the unfermented cassava peels(Oboh, 2006). However, the cassava peels fermentedwith wastewater from cassava pulp fermented with amixture of
S. cerevise 
Lactobacillus delbruckii 
Lactobacillus coryneformis 
had a lower cyanide content(6.2 mg/kg) than those cassava peels fermented withwastewater from the naturally fermented cassava pulp(23.5 mg/kg). Results showed that wastewater from theinoculated cassava pulp were very efficient in cyanidedetoxification than that of naturally fermented cassava.The fermented cassava peels could be considered safein terms of cyanide poisoning in view of the fact that thecyanide was below the deleterious level of 30 mg/kg(Tweyngyere et al., 2002). A decrease in phytate contentof the fermented cassava peels (705.1 – 789.7 mg/100 g)was reported by Oboh (2006) and this decrease wasmore in cassava peels fermented with wastewater fromnaturally fermented cassava pulp (705.13 mg/100 g),while the unfermented cassava peels had 1043.56mg/100 g phytate content. Such a decrease could be asa result of possible secretion of the enzyme phytase bythe microorganisms in the wastewater. This enzyme iscapable of hydrolyzing phytate thereby decreasing thephytate content of the fermented cassava peels (Oboh etal., 2003). In view of the increase in protein content of thecassava peels fermented with wastewater from fermen-ted cassava products (inoculated and natural) and thesignificant decrease (p < 0.05) in the anti-nutrients(residual cyanide and phytate), this by-product could be agood supplement in compounding animal feed providedthat it is acceptable and highly digestible.
Aerobic and anaerobic lagoons
Biological treatments of waste water though practiced bysome starch factories in Thailand, Brazil, Vietnam andKerala in India is based on a simple process in whichmixed populations of microorganisms utilize the nutrientsin the waste. They are of varying efficiency, require alarge area of land and are capital intensive. Theirefficiency is extended by the use of chemical engineeringtechniques that allows the basic process to be intensifiedand accelerated. Waste water containing both organicmaterial and a source of nitrogen is brought into contactwith a dense population of microorganisms. Sufficientlylong contact times are engineered into the process sothat the microorganisms can breakdown and remove theorganic materials to a desirable level. This process canoccur in the presence of oxygen (aerobic) or absence ofoxygen (anaerobic). Aerobic systems create carbondioxide and a large amount of biomass (microorganisms)while anaerobic systems produce biogas (methane,carbon dioxide and small amounts of hydrogen sulphide

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