Wild relative of turmeric, Curcuma zanthorrhiza Roxb.- A source of edible starch
Curcuma zanthorrhiza Roxb., a wild relative of turmeric belongs to the family Zingiberaceae, is an important under exploited rhizomatous herb. Inspite of its medicinal uses, the traditional benefits extends to the isolation of starch powder from its rhizomes, and could be used as nutritional supplement like arrowroot powder. In the present study, the crude starch powder was isolated from the rhizomes of C. zanthorrhiza, was subjected to various characterization and acute oral toxicity study. The results showed that the starch recovery percentage of C. zanthorrhiza as 10.40±3.65 and the presence of the coumarin and natural colourant curcumin content on the isolated crude starch powder. Relatively very small amount of moisture, crude protein, fat, fibre, and ash content was noticed. Acute oral toxicity studies of the starch powder in Swiss Albino Mice showed non-toxic and there were no significant change in body weights, food and water consumption by the animals from all dose groups (50-6400 mg/kg bw). Observations against various physico-chemical parameters and granular morphology were also noticed. The present work substantiates the usefulness of the starch powder isolated from this wild turmeric and supports its nutritional significance and non-toxic effect. This underutilized minor tuber crop is potential in many food and non-food applications based on their physico-chemical characteristics.
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