Tapioca Starch

Starch - Sources Properties And Productions:

Introduction: Starch is one of the most widely distributed substances in nature, occurring in most plants and sometimes in abundant quantity. It is formed in the leaves and green parts of the plant from atmospheric water and carbon dioxide , through the agency of Chlorophyll and sunlight . During the hours of darkness, the starch is broken down into sugars which are transported by means of cell juice to other parts of the plant. Some of the sugars are re-converted into Starch and it is by this means that Starch is built up in the fruits , bulbs and tubers of the various plants.

It is from these sources of concentrated material that the commercial Starch is obtained. A variety of methods is used to separate the starch from the protein and fibers which are also present and these are recovered in various forms . It has now been realized that some of these by-products are more valuable than the Starch itself.

Tapioca :

Tapioca Starch is isolated from the tuberous roots of the manioc plant, which grows mainly in equatorial climates. Depending on the region of growth, plants may be known as mandioca, yucca, cassava or tapioca.

Tapioca was introduced in India during the later part of the 18th Century . Today in India, tapioca is grown over an area of 3 lakhs hectares with a production capacity of over 60 lakhs tons of tubers. Though Kerala ranks first in cultivation and production in the Country, Tamilnadu stands first in respect of processing of tapioca into Starch and Sago
( Sabudana) and hence this crop has now acquired a status of the one of the important commercial crops of the State.

The Tapioca Starch and Sago Industry is mainly concentrated in SALEM District of Tamilnadu. There are about 1000 Sago and Starch Industries in small scale sector scattered throughout the State of which about 800 units are located in and around Salem District.

Manufacture :

The process of manufacture of Starch from Corn, Tapioca or any other Starchy material consists of rupturing cell walls when the enclosed starch granules are exposed and washed to remove cellulose. Cereal or Plant, from which starch is to be manufactured is washed with water in a washing machine when any dirt sticking is washed away.

After washing it is disintegrated mechanically when a paste like mass called pulp is obtained containing starch granules exposed after disintegration along with finely divided fibrous tissue. The mixture is taken to a sifting machine and thoroughly washed with water and hen sieved through fine brass-wire, sieves when coarser particles of cellulose are left behind on the sieve and smaller particles of starch and some fibrous matter pass down as milky aqueous suspension. This is allowed to stand when heavier starch granules settle at the bottom. The lighter particle of cellulose are deposited to a very small extend and that too only in the last layers and are scraped off.

The Starch pulp so obtained is again treated with water when starch particles settle down and the supernatant layer is decanted off. It is then centrifuged to free it from the bulk of water present and slowly dried in air or by treating it gently in ovens or dryer till it contains only 12-14% moisture where it is ready for the market.

Properties :

Polysaccharides :

STARCH: The Starch molecule is built of a large number of Alpha Glucose ring units linked together by Oxygen atoms. Its chemical name is “amylum”. Amylum is the ordinary starch which occurs in all green plants

The commercial source of Starch are Wheat, Barley, Maize, Potato, Arrowroot and Tapioca. In these, starch occurs in the form of loosely packed granules which vary in shape an size.

Physical :

Starch is tasteless, odourless, white amorphous powder insoluble in water. Soluble starch is obtained by heating ordinary starch with 10% Hcl for 24 hours and then precipitating with alcohol.

When boiled with water, Starch granules swell up and burst to form a colloidal solution called starch paste. Starch granules vary in shape and size with source.

Chemical :

Action of Heat: When heated to 200 Deg-260 Deg C, starch changes into Dextrine- a gummy substance used in calico – printing and as an adhesive.

Hydrolysis: When boiled with dilute mineral acids, it is first converted into dextrine and finally into glucose.

Action with Iodine: With Iodine starch gives a blue colour which disappears on heating to 80 Deg. C and re appears on cooling. ( A sensitive test for Starch)

User and Application

Tapioca Starch and Starch derivatives are widely used in the following Industries:

1. Textiles Industry
  • Warp sizing
  • Fabric finishing
  • Printing
2. Pharmaceutical & Cosmetic Industry
  • Tablet binder/Dispersing Agent
  • Pill coating , dusting agent
  • Facial creams
  • Soap Filler/ extender
  • Dusting powder
3. Mining Industry
  • Ore flotation
  • Ore sedimentation
  • Oil well drilling muds

4. Construction Industry
  • Concrete Block binder
  • Asbestos, clay/limestone binder
  • Fire-resistant wall board
  • Plywood/chipboard adhesive
  • Gypsum Board binder
  • Paint filler

5. Explosives Industry
  • Wide range binding agent
  • Match-head binder
6. Miscellaneous
  • Biodegradable plastic film
  • Dry cell Batteries
  • Printed circuit boards
  • Leather Finishing etc.,

7. Other Conversion Products of starches:
  • Pre gelatinized Starches
  • Oxidized Derivatives
  • Acid Modified Starches
  • Cationic Starches
  • Dextrin and Adhesives.
Specification for Tapioca Starch as per IS : 1319 - 1983
Requirement for Edible Tapioca Starch
No. Characteristic Requirements
Moisture, percent by mass, Max
Total Ash (on dry basis), per cent by mass Max
Acid-insoluble ash (on dry basis), per cent by mass Max
Starch (on dry basis) percent by mass, Min
Proteins (on dry basis) percent by mass, Max
Sulphur dioxide, mg/kg, Max 100
Crude Fiber (on dry basis), percent by mass, Max
pH of aqueous extract
4.5 to7.0
Cold -water solubles (on dry basis), percent by mass, max

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