Amaranth Biology, Chemistry, and Technology
This book is devoted to amaranth, a plant to which 45 species are indigenous to the Mesoamerican region and 10 others originated in Africa, Asia, and Europe. Amaranth was the foundation of the extensive North and South American ancient civilizations and is still important in the agriculture of more recent Indian cultures. However, this plant nearly disappeared after the Spanish conquest. In view of the outstanding agronomic performance of the plant and the high nutritional value of the grain, it is now becoming an important crop in various regions of the world. Progress in the utilization of amaranth is directly related to scientific and technical information on its biological, physical, and chemical properties. Amaranth: Biology, Chemistry, and Technology begins with a chapter on the use of tissue culture, molecular biology, and genetic engineering techniques for crop improvement. The next few chapters deal with classical genetics, traditional plant breeding, and plant physiology. Following chapters review the properties of storage and leaf proteins, carbohydrates (especially starch), and seed oil. The potential of amaranth for new food products and popping is discussed, and commercialization and marketing of amaranth and its products are described. The book also emphasizes the outstanding nutritional properties of amaranth.