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The cassava, manioc, casava, or yuca (Manihot Cassava

esculenta) is a woody shrub of the Euphorbiaceae (spurge
family) native to South America and Sub-Saharan Africa
that is extensively cultivated as an annual crop in tropical
and subtropical regions for its edible starchy tuberous root,
a major source of carbohydrates. Indeed, cassava is the
third largest source of carbohydrates for human food in the
world, with Africa its largest center of production.[1]


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 Scientific classification
energy per cultivated area per day among crop plants,
Kingdom: Plantae
except possibly for sugarcane. Cassava roots are very rich
Division: Magnoliophyta
in starch, and contain significant amounts of calcium (50
mg/100g), phosphorus (40 mg/100g) and vitamin C (25 Class: Magnoliopsida
mg/100g). However, they are poor in protein and other Order: Malpighiales
nutrients. In contrast, cassava leaves are a good source of Family: Euphorbiaceae
protein if supplemented with the amino acid methionine Subfamily: Crotonoideae
[although they contain Cyanide]. Tribe: Manihoteae
Genus: Manihot
Species: M. esculenta

Cassava output in 2005 Binomial name

Manihot esculenta
Wild populations of M. esculenta subspecies flabellifolia, Crantz
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.[2] By 6,600 BP, manioc pollen appears in the Gulf of Mexico lowlands, at the San Andres
archaeological site.[3] The oldest direct evidence of cassava cultivation comes from a 1,400 year
old Maya site, Joya de Ceren, in El Salvador.[4] 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.

Unprocessed cassava root

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.

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


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
Cassava in cultivation in R.D.Congo
planted prior to the wet season.


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. [6] [7] One dose of pure cassava cyanogenic glucoside (40mg) is sufficient to kill a cow.
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.[8] 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
Cassava root not peeled are dependent on cassava.[9]

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.[10] 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'

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


€ 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.


Cooked in various ways, cassava is used in a great 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.

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 are 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



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 times 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).

The 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. The root, in its boiled and peeled
form, is also present in the typical Dominican 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). Also, a type of empanada called catibía has its dough made out of cassava

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.

Puerto Rico

Yuca 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); or grounded and used as a paste (masa) to make a Puerto Rican Christmas
favorite dish called "Pasteles" (which is similar to Mexican tamales, but made with root vegetables,
plantains or yuca, instead of corn. Pasteles are rectangular and somewhat flat and have a meat
filling in the center, chicken or pork. They are wrapped in a plantain leaf.

The Bahamas

In the Bahamas Cassava

Eastern Caribbean

In the small 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.


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.

Central America

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.


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.


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


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


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 the average 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. 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".
In the southeast, as "mandioca" and in the South as "aipim".


In Colombia, cassava is widely known as yuca among its people. In the Colombian interior, 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.


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 subsitute 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.


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.


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.


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

In Central Africa, cassava is traditionally processed by boiling and

Woman pounding the cassava mashing. The resulting mush can be mixed with spices then cooked
root into “fufu” in Central further or stored. A popular snack is made by marinating cassava
African Republic
in salted water for a few days then grilling it in small portions.
Many cassava dishes exist in various African countries.

In Tanzania, cassava is known as mihogo, plural form, in Swahili. Though customs vary from
region to region, and the methods of cooking cassava vary accordingly, the main method is simply
frying it. The skin of the root is removed and the remains are sectioned into small bit-size chunks
which 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. The staple of the rural people, ugali, is a
porridge more akin to mashed potatoes in consistency. In Zambia this is known as nshima. In
Kenya, the Kikuyu name for it is mwanga, pl mianga.

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. 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 plant leaf is also soaked and boiled for extended periods
of time to remove toxins and then eaten. The taste is similar to spinach. In the local language
Sango, this is called gozo. U.S. Peace Corps Volunteers stationed in the Central African Republic
refer to the cassava plant as the multi-purpose staple.



In the state of Kerala, India, cassava is a secondary

staple food. Boiled casava 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.
Cassava is widely cultivated and eaten as a staple food
in Andhra Pradesh. The household name for processed
Boiled cassava served with fish and chutney
cassava is saggu biyyam.


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).


It's called kamoteng kahoy (literal English means wooden yam) and used mainly as a dessert,
usually the peeled cassava is boiled with sugar. The most popular dessert is the cassava cake,

which uses grated cassava. In Bisaya it is called balinghoy and prepared with young sweetened
coconut. In the Visayan language it's called balanghoy.

Sri Lanka

Cassava, known as "Manyokka" (manioc) in Sri Lanka, is a staple among both the lower and upper
socio-economic classes. This tradition migrates to the country from Tamil Nadu, and is popularly
used in different forms of cooking throughout the country. It is also mixed, in small quantities, into
feed for pastoral animals and horses.


Cassava's name in Vietnamese is "S€n" (Northern) or "Khoai M•" (Southern). It is planted on poor
soil in the north of Vietnam and its root is amongst the cheapest source of food there. Now and
then, poor people died after eating boiled cassava roots, for some roots are very toxic, and they
do not know which kind of cassava roots is safe to eat. 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 as animal feed extensively in Asia, South America, Africa, and Europe, especially in
places such as Thailand, China, Nigeria, Brazil, etc.


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% CP and condensed tannins, 1.5-4%. 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 AJAS,Asian-Australasian Journal of Animal Sciences.


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 International
Institute of Tropical Agriculture 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. [2]


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