Tapioca starch and waxy tapioca starch are two different types of starch extracted from the same source, the cassava plant. The main difference between the two is their molecular structure and functional properties.
Tapioca starch, also known as cassava starch, is a type of starch that is widely used in food products as a thickener, stabilizer, and binder. It is extracted from the cassava root and is a pure form of starch with a high amylose content. Tapioca starch has a neutral taste and odor, and it is typically used in applications where a clear, smooth texture is desired, such as in soups, sauces, and desserts.
Waxy tapioca starch, on the other hand, is a type of starch that is derived from a variety of cassava plant that has been genetically modified to produce a higher percentage of amylopectin, a type of starch molecule that is highly branched and has a lower gelatinization temperature than amylose. As a result, waxy tapioca starch has a unique set of functional properties compared to regular tapioca starch. It has a higher water-holding capacity, which makes it useful as a thickener in products that require a creamy or viscous texture, such as puddings, custards, and dressings. It also has a higher freeze-thaw stability, which means it is less likely to break down or separate when frozen and thawed.
In summary, while tapioca starch and waxy tapioca starch come from the same source and are both used as thickeners in food products, their different molecular structures give them distinct functional properties that make them more suitable for different types of applications.