Amaranth: Overview

Harold Corke*, Y. Z. Cai, H. X. Wu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

7 Scopus citations

Abstract

Amaranth is a rediscovered 'new' crop. It was an ancient crop that was under cultivation 5000-7000 years ago as a staple food of the ancient Aztecs. Amaranth was long forgotten partially because it was prohibited for food use due to religious reasons after the Spanish conquest of the New World. Nowadays, it is still cultivated as a minor crop in Central and South America and some areas of Asia (especially in China) and Africa. Amaranth possesses characteristics of fast growth rate, good tolerance to stress (drought, salinity, alkalinity, and acidic poor soil conditions), and high potential for biomass and grain yield. Amaranth is a pseudocereal crop and produces cereal-like grains that contain high levels of nutritionally favorable protein, unusual quality of starch, and high-quality oil (including squalene). Amaranth grains can be used for foods and its vegetative parts can be used for animal feed (e.g., forage and silage) or green manure. The red-colored vegetative tissue produces high levels of betacyanin pigments that can be used as natural food colorants. Amaranth has been attracting worldwide attention as a high-potential new crop with multiple uses; a spate of recent scientific publications on novel applications of amaranth grain and its fractions suggest that greater demand may be on the horizon.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe World Of Food Grains
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Pages287-296
Number of pages10
Volume1-4
ISBN (Electronic)9780123947864
ISBN (Print)9780123944375
DOIs
StatePublished - 17 Dec 2015
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Amaranthus
  • Animal feed
  • Betacyanin pigments
  • Gluten-free protein
  • Pseudocereal
  • Small granule starch
  • Squalene

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