«Andean roots and tubers: Ahipa, arracacha, maca and yacon M. Hermann and J. Heller, editors Promoting the conservation and use of underutilized and ...»
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Arracacha (Arracacia xanthorrhiza Bancroft) Michael Hermann International Potato Center (CIP) Lima 100, La Molina, Peru Arracacha (Arracacia xanthorrhiza Bancroft) Contents 1 Introduction 2 Geographical distribution, economic importance and varietal diversity
2.1 Andes 2.1.1 Venezuela 2.1.2 Colombia 2.1.3 Ecuador 2.1.4 Peru 2.1.5 Bolivia 2.1.6 Chile
2.3 Central America and Caribbean 2.3.1 Costa Rica 2.3.2 Puerto Rico 2.3.3 Cuba
2.4 Old World 3 Vernacular names 4 Biology and agronomy
4.1 Life form
4.2 Plant architecture, morphology and development 4.2.1 The vegetative plant 4.2.2 The generative plant
4.3 Reproductive biology 4.3.1 Flower induction 4.3.2 Breeding system 4.3.3 Seed formation, storage and germination
4.4 Plant propagation
4.5 Crop husbandry 4.5.1 Planting 4.5.2 Fertilization 4.5.3 Harvest 4.5.4 Pests and diseases 4.5.5 Post-harvest
4.6 Crop ecology 5 Utilization
5.1 Chemical composition and its variation
5.2 Food uses
5.3 Direct consumption
5.4 Processing 5.4.1 Instant food 5.4.2 Chips 5.4.3 Starch 5.4.4 Fermentation Promoting the conservation and use of underutilized and neglected crops. 21.
6 Taxonomy and biosystematics
6.2 Genus Arracacia Bancroft 6.2.1 South American species of genus Arracacia Bancroft 126.96.36.199 Arracacia colombiana Constance & Affolter 188.8.131.52 Arracacia tillettii Constance & Affolter 184.108.40.206 Arracacia moschata (Kunth) DC.
220.127.116.11 Arracacia elata Wolff 18.104.22.168 Arracacia xanthorrhiza Bancroft 22.214.171.124 Arracacia andina Britton 126.96.36.199 Arracacia equatorialis Constance 188.8.131.52 Arracacia incisa Wolff 184.108.40.206 Arracacia peruviana (Wolff ) Constance 7 Variation in cultivated arracacha
7.1 Morphological variation
7.2 Chromosome number
7.3 Molecular variation 8 Conservation and use
8.1 Genetic erosion and germplasm collecting
8.2 Arracacha in genebanks
8.3 Conservation strategies
8.4 Crop constraints and breeding
8.5 Research needs
8.6 Crop prospects Acknowledgements References 78 Arracacha (Arracacia xanthorrhiza Bancroft) 1 Introduction Arracacha (Arracacia xanthorrhiza Bancroft) is the only umbellifer domesticated in South America and still largely confined to that continent in its distribution. There are numerous domesticated umbellifers from Eurasia, many of which form edible roots or other subterraneous storage organs, such as parsnip, parsley, carrot and celeriac. All these cultigens and the vast majority of other umbelliferous crops from the Old World are biennials and seed-propagated. Most remarkably, cultivated arracacha is a vegetatively propagated perennial. The recent discovery of wild Arracacia xanthorrhiza populations with tuberous storage roots could shed light on an old discussion of the origin of agriculture or, more specifically, on the reasons for the preponderance of vegetative propagation in South American crops as opposed to seed-based agriculture in the Old World (Hawkes 1969). Evidence for both biennial (in Peru) and perennial wild arracacha (in Ecuador) will be presented in this paper for the first time. If the hypothesis that both forms occur over larger areas in the Andes can be confirmed, an interesting question arises: Why did early people in the Andes domesticate the perennial form and not the biennial, seed-propagating one?
There are several reasons to consider arracacha the most promising crop among the nine minor Andean root and tuber species. Not only does arracacha have the widest range of culinary uses but it also appears to be free from undesirable substances that seem to limit the acceptability of oca (oxalates), ulluco (mucilage), mashua (isothiocyanates) and mauka (astringent principles). Arracacha adds an interesting texture and flavour to a variety of dishes and it seems to be much less of an acquired taste than other Andean roots and tubers. Little arracacha is currently being processed, but various processed arracacha products have received praise for their quality. Undoubtedly, versatility in processing will be instrumental in promoting arracacha for urban consumption.
As opposed to high-altitude species (oca, ulluco, mashua, maca) with their narrow ecological range and short-day requirements for tuber formation, arracacha adapts to a wide range of mesothermic and tropical highland environments as well as daylength regimes, although the environmental plasticity of the crop does not match that of achira (Canna edulis). Another comparative advantage of arracacha is the fact that the propagule is derived from aboveground plant parts. The economic product - the storage roots - can therefore be marketed entirely and no part of it needs to be reserved as seed for the next crop. Diseases and pests, though, can become a problem, certainly more so than in other ARTC. Many diseases and pests that afflict arracacha, however, can be controlled by long rotations and integrated management practices.
Arracacha is essentially a starchy food and its utilization is intimately related to its elevated starch content. Arracacha can, however, be recommended for human nutrition also on the grounds of other nutrients, namely P-carotene, ascorbic acid and calcium, the daily requirements of which are contained in comparatively small portions. In cuisine, this fine vegetable has versatile uses and adds diversity to poor and rich people’s diet alike, but it is not a staple food as is occasionally stated. The Promoting the conservation and use of underutilized and neglected crops. 21.
average per capita consumption of this root rarely exceeds 10 kg per year. From information presented in the next section, which will analyze the status of arracacha use across growing regions, we can conclude that arracacha is a secondary food item for some 80 to 100 million people. With this figure in mind, and in view of the eminent commercial role of arracacha in major producing countries, it becomes clear that it is far more important economically than other Andean roots and tubers. Their combined value is probably exceeded by arracacha alone.
Although it is little known that arracacha was introduced to Brazil, in the southern states of this country it now probably covers a larger area than in any Andean country. Not only is the crop expanding into areas in Brazil where it was previously unknown or thought to be poorly adapted, there is also considerable and rising interest in arracacha on the part of industrial processors, extensionists, researchers and, notably, small farmers who value the crop’s low-input requirements.
The clearest indication of the high interest in arracacha in Brazil is the comparatively large body of literature on the crop in Portuguese. An exhaustive bibliography, the result of many years of searching of arracacha literature, including theses, reports and other unpublished material, yielded 274 titles, of which 186 were in Portuguese, 53 in Spanish, 33 in English and two in French (Santos and Spina 1994). The literature in Portuguese deals extensively with crop husbandry and related themes, and it is virtually our only source on reproductive biology, seed physiology and breeding efforts. Although much of this literature has been published in obscure journals of limited distribution, this paper will draw on it heavily.
80 Arracacha (Arracacia xanthorrhiza Bancroft) 2 Geographical distribution, economic importance and varietal diversity "El señor o cacique de los Chibchas había mandado alzar el bastimento, de manera que tuvieron algunos hambre, por lo cual les fue forzado aprovecharse de lo que por naturaleza la tierra produce, y ansi debajo della sacaban unas raíces amargas, que yo creo tienen por nombre ‘arracachas’, porque si no me engaño no pocas dellas he comido; su sabor declina un poco a zanahorias; destas y de otras yerbas comían los que con Centeno andaban."1 (Cieza de León, a Spanish chronicler describing the use of arracacha in 1545, in what is today Colombia, by Spanish rebels fleeing from Pizarro’s troops; cited in Patiño 1964) Several lines of evidence point to Andean South America as the place of domestication of arracacha. Although the genus Arracacia is particularly diverse in Mexico, the wild species most closely resembling arracacha are known from Peru and especially Ecuador (Fig. 1; see Section 6.2.1). The linguistics of the vernacular names of arracacha also provides clues to its Andean origin. Racacha, virraca, lacache, arrecate and other related words of autochthonous languages used for the crop attest to its great antiquity in the Andes. Outside the Andes, names for arracacha are derived mostly from European languages. Finally, the chroniclers of the Spanish conquest of South America refer to arracacha frequently (reviewed in Patiño 1964) and its cultivation is documented for what is today Peru (upper Huallaga, 1533), Colombia (Popayán, 1545) and Ecuador (Rio Chinchipe, 1549; Cañar, Chimborazo, 1582). Using historical accounts of the conquest, Hodge (1954) convincingly argues that the “dispersal of arracacha as a cultigen throughout most of its present range in the Andes clearly came in pre-Columbian times” and, one might add, probably a long time before the Inca conquest subjugated much of South America.
Today, arracacha is produced mainly in four countries - Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela - whose total production area is probably somewhat over 30 000 ha. In these countries, arracacha is a regular item in urban markets, and is consumed and known by a majority of the population (in Brazil, only in the southeast region). Implicit to this observation is that arracacha is traded over long distances to supply regions where the crop cannot be grown for climatic reasons (tropical lowlands, high Andes). In the Andes, arracacha is also widely grown in Peru and Bolivia, but most production is for subsistence; some surplus goes to local markets.
“The chief or cacique of the Chibchas had ordered a limit on provisions, so that some of the people were hungry, and they were forced to exploit what the land produces naturally. As a result, from under the ground they pulled out some bitter roots, which I believe are given the name ‘arracachas’, because, if I don’t deceive myself, I have eaten several of them: their taste slightly resembles that of carrots. Of these and other herbs the people who went around with Centeno were eating.” (Translation by Bill Hardy).
Promoting the conservation and use of underutilized and neglected crops. 21. 81
Fig. 1. Distribution of arracacha cultivation and wild Arracacia species in South America (Goode’s series of base maps, University of Chicago, 1937; sinusoidal equal-area projection).
82 Arracacha (Arracacia xanthorrhiza Bancroft) The crop has also spread to Central America and the Caribbean, but significant production seems to be limited to Costa Rica and Puerto Rico. Some reports mention attempted introductions to the Old World, but to my knowledge, nowhere outside the New World has arracacha ever been established as a crop.
2.1 Andes Importance, distribution and other characteristics of arracacha production relevant to the crop’s genetic resources will be presented for the Andean range, from north to south, which roughly coincides with the declining economic importance of the crop. Arracacha production areas in the Andes range over 32 degrees of latitude from 10°N (Mérida, Venezuela) to 22°S (southern Bolivia), with marketed production coming mostly from north of the equator.
2.1.1 Venezuela Of all the Andean countries, it is perhaps in Venezuela where arracacha is held in the highest esteem. This is reflected by frequent consumption (Camino and Díaz
1972) and high prices for arracacha compared with those of other commonly used tubers such as cassava, potato, ocumo (Xanthosoma sp.) and ñame (Dioscorea sp.) (Revetti 1967). Apio, as the crop is called in Venezuela because of its resemblance to celery (celery, Apium graveolens, is referred to as apio España), is considered ideal to wean children (Revetti 1967). Moreover, elegant restaurants have it on the menu (Dr Maria L. Garcia, 1996, pers. comm.) in dishes such as sancocho, purées and buñuelos de apio (see Section 5.3).
According to official statistics, in 1970, 845l ha of arracacha were grown in the Andean Cordillera and the coastal mountain range in the north of the country.
Average yield was 5.4 t/ha (Camino and Díaz 1972). A recent document gives a total of 3619 ha for 1988-89 (Anonymous 1990). Major production regions are Monagas, Trujillo, Sucre, Táchira, Yaracuy and Mérida. There appears to be only one commercial cultivar with yellow flesh (Reyes 1970; Dr María L. Garcia, 1996, pers.