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Tapioca Sago is generally Known as "SAGO (SABUDANA in Hindi or JAVVARISHI in Tamil)" in India.
Sago is a produce, prepared from the milk of "Tapioca Root". Its Botanical name is "Manihot Esculenta Crantz Syn.Utilissima". This is a well known crop that is recognized by several names in the various regions where it is consumed. It is known as yuca, rumu or manioca in Latin America, manioc in French-speaking Africa and Madagascar, cassava in English-speaking Africa, Ceylon and Thailand, mandioca or aipim in Brazil, tapioca in India and Malaysia, and bi ketella or kaspe in Indonesia (FAO, 1998). Sweet varieties of the crop such as Manihot utilissima Pohl are reported to have lower levels of cyanogenic glycosides, while bitter-tasting varieties exemplified by cultivars such as Manihot palmata Muell and Manihot aipr Pohl are thought to have higher levels of cyanogenic glycosides. These cultivars fall within the species Manihot esculenta Crantz which belongs to the family Euphorblaceae (Dixon, 1979; Lancaster et al., 1982; FAO 1998).
Tapioca root has a high resistance to plant disease and high tolerance to extreme stress conditions such as periods of drought and poor soils.
Fresh roots contain about 60 - 70% moisture, 7 - 12% protein, 5 - 13% starch (32 - 35% total carbohydrate) and trace amounts of fat (Lancaster et al., 1982; Jackson, 1990; FAO, 1998). The high starch and moisture content render it extremely perishable. (Hahn 1989; Mlingi et al., 1996). Processing is therefore indispensable to facilitate preservation, improve palatability and product quality as well as reduce cyanogenic glycoside toxicity (Jones, 1998).
The cassava or manioc plant has its origin in South America. Amazonian Indians used cassava instead of or in addition to rice/potato/maize. Portuguese explorers introduced cassava to Africa through their trade with the African coasts and nearby islands.
Tapioca was introduced in India during the later part of the 19th Century, Now, mainly grown in the States of Kerala, Andhra-Pradesh, & Tamilnadu. Products from Tapioca like Starch & Sago introduced in India only in 1940s upwards. First by hand manually & later developed indigenous production methods. Currently, The Tamilnadu State stands first in respect of processing of tapioca into starch & sago, in India.
In India, Sago was produced first in Salem (Tamilnadu). About in 1943-44, Some 50 years ago, sago production started on a cottage scale basis in India by pulping the tapioca roots, filtering the milk-extract and after settling the milk, forming globules and roasting these globules. Tapioca Root is the basic raw material for Sago and starch. There is about 30% to 35% starch contents generally in Indian tapioca root.
India is one of the leading countries in tapioca production. About 650 to 700 units is engaged in tapioca processing in Salem district (Tamilnadu State). It is a very nutritious product as it contains Carbohydrates and appreciable amount of Calcium and Vitamin-C. The Root, received from the farms are hygienically cleaned in water & after peeling the skin, it is crushed, allowed to pass the milk after retaining all fiber & impurities. The milk is going to settle in a tank for nearly 3 to8 hours, thus all residual impurities float to the top of the tank & are drained out of the settled milk. From this settled Milk Cake, Globules is being made by a very special & unique type system on very simple indigenous machine. After sizing the globules by filtering through sieve, It is Roasted on Hot plates or Heated in steam depending upon the final product desired as Sago in globular shape & than dried under direct sunlight in big platforms.
Roasted Sago is known as Sago Common and Boiled Sago as Nylon Sago.