Enhancing Cassava Utilization: The Impact of Salt on Starch and Flour Properties

In the intricate world of culinary traditions, the Ghanaian household holds a valuable secret. The addition of salt to cassava paste prolongs its elasticity, preventing it from hardening or turning watery. This traditional wisdom sets the stage for our scientific exploration into the effects of salt on the amylographs of starch and flour from three distinct cassava varieties. Our investigation delves into the intricate dance between salt concentrations and key properties such as pasting temperature, peak viscosity, and retrogradation.

Materials and Methods

Building upon previous research on the swelling power and solubility of three cassava varieties, namely ‘Ankra,’ ‘91934,’ and ‘30474,’ we initiated our study. These varieties, each exhibiting unique granule swelling characteristics, served as the focal point for our exploration. Employing NaCl solutions at concentrations of 0%, 2.5%, 5%, and 7.5%, mirroring the methodology used by Ganz (1965) for wheat, we scrutinized 35g (dry basis) samples of cassava starch and flour using the standard Brabender procedure.

Results and Discussion

Pasting Temperature

The introduction of salt invariably increased the pasting temperature across all three cassava varieties, indicating a delay in granule swelling. Notably, the degree of increase varied with variety, aligning with observations by Hester et al. (1956).

Peak Viscosity

Salt’s impact on peak viscosity exhibited variability among the cassava varieties. While ‘30474’ and ‘91934’ experienced increases in peak viscosity with salt concentrations of 5% and 7.5%, ‘Ankra’ demonstrated different behavior. Untreated ‘Ankra’ starch displayed higher peak viscosity than its salt-treated counterparts, suggesting salt’s potential inhibition of granule swelling.

Our findings suggest a nuanced relationship: while salt may reduce the fragility of swollen granules in certain cases, as seen with ‘91934,’ it may inhibit granule swelling in others, as demonstrated by ‘Ankra.’ The intricate interplay between salt concentration, temperature, and granule integrity deserves further exploration.


Retrogradation, marked by increased starch gel rigidity during cooling, emerged as a crucial parameter. Salt’s influence on retrogradation tendencies varied with variety and salt concentration. For all three varieties, retrogradation tended to increase with salt concentration, yet it consistently remained below the control, echoing findings by Hester et al. (1956). The Ghanaian practice of pounding salt into cassava paste aligns with our observation that salt reduces retrogradation, extending the paste’s “table-life.”


Our study sheds light on the intricate effects of salt on cassava starch and flour properties. Beyond the culinary traditions of the Ghanaian household, these insights offer valuable considerations for the broader industrial applications of cassava. As we unravel the complexities of granule swelling, retrogradation, and viscosity, the potential for optimizing cassava utilization beckons, promising advancements in both traditional and industrial contexts.

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