Вы находитесь на странице: 1из 8

Unit 4

Potato and Its Starch Extraction

The potato (Solanum tuberosum) is a herbaceous plant that grows up to 100 cm tall and
produces a tuber - also called potato - so rich in starch that it ranks as the world's fourth most
important food crop, after maize, wheat and rice. The potato belongs to the Solanaceae family
and shares the genus Solanum with at least 1,000 other species, including tomato and
Potato is grown in more than 100 countries, under temperate, subtropical and tropical
conditions. It is essentially a "cool weather crop", with temperature being the main limiting factor
on production: tuber growth is sharply inhibited in temperatures below 10C and above 30C,
while optimum yields are obtained where mean daily temperatures are in the 18 to 20C range.
For that reason, potato is planted in early spring in temperate zones and late winter in
warmer regions, and grown during the coolest months of the year in hot tropical climates. In
some sub-tropical highlands, mild temperatures and high solar radiation allow farmers to grow
potatoes throughout the year, and harvest tubers within 90 days of planting (in temperate
climates, such in northern Europe, it can take up to 150 days).
Soil and land preparation: The potato can be grown almost on any type of soil, except
saline and alkaline soils.
Growing potatoes involves extensive ground preparation. The soil needs to be harrowed
until completely free of weed roots. In most cases, three ploughings, along with frequent
harrowing and rolling, are needed before the soil reaches a suitable condition: soft, well-drained
and well-aerated.
Crop care: During the development of the potato, which takes about four weeks, weeds
must be controlled in order to give the crop a "competitive advantage". If the weeds are large,
they must be removed before ridging operations begin. Ridging (or "earthing up") consists of
mounding the soil from between the rows around the main stem of the potato plant. Ridging
keeps the plants upright and the soil loose, prevents insect pests such a tuber moth from
reaching the tubers; and helps prevent the growth of weeds.
After earthing up, weeds between the growing plants and at the top of the ridge are
removed mechanically or using herbicides.
Manuring and fertilization: The use of chemical fertilizer depends on the level of
available soil nutrients - volcanic soils, for example, are typically deficient in phosphorus - and in

irrigated commercial production, fertilizer requirements are relatively high. However, potato can
benefit from application of organic manure at the start of a new rotation - it provides a good
nutrient balance and maintains the structure to the soil.
Water supply: Because the potato has a shallow root system, yield response to
frequent irrigation is considerable, and very high yields are obtained with mechanized sprinkler
systems that replenish evapotranspiration losses every one or two days. Under irrigation in
temperate and subtropical climates, a crop of about 120 days can produce yields of 25 to 35
tonnes/ha, falling to 15 to 25 tonnes/ha in tropical areas.
Pests and diseases: Against diseases, a few basic precautions crop rotation, using
tolerant varieties and healthy, certified seed tubers - can help avoid great losses. There is no
chemical control for bacterial and viral diseases but they can be controlled by regular monitoring
(and when necessary, spraying). The severity of fungal diseases such as late blight depends,
after the first infection, mainly on the weather - persistence of favourable conditions, without
chemical spraying, can quickly spread the disease.
Recommended control measures include regular monitoring and steps to protect the
pests' natural enemies. Even damage caused by the Colorado Potato Beetle, a major pest, can
be reduced by destroying beetles, eggs and larvae that appear early in the season, while
sanitation, crop rotations and use of resistant potato varieties help prevent the spread of
Raw materials for starch production
In general, all plants contain carbohydrates which are needed in its different forms for
plant metabolism. But for starch extraction only particular plants are of interest: those which
accumulate starch in insoluble granules as a storage carbohydrate.
All over the world the most common source for starch are the seeds of various types of
grain. In Europe and Asia, especially significant amounts are also obtained by processing of
tubers and roots. Main starch sources are: maize, wheat, potatoes and rice. Other raw materials
for starch production, including sorghum, sweet potato, barley, oat, rye, pea, bean, and lentil,
play a subordinate role.
Potato starch extraction:
Supply/ Cleaning: After the delivery, the potatoes are coarsely cleaned for removal of
soil and stones and then stored. They are transported into the factory by flumes, which are
equipped with stone separators. The main cleaning is conducted in a trough washing machine
where the potatoes are spinned around. Constant abrasion completely removes soil and also
most of the skin. The washing water is then pumped into clarification pools for sand and stone
removal and reintroduced into the process.
Rasping: The purified potatoes are mashed by means of a rotary saw blade rasp. In
these rasps rows of saw blades are closely arranged on a drum which is driven by high rotation
speed. Sharp saw teeth convert the potatoes into a fine mash. This process results in an almost
complete disruption of the potato cells, which therefore release the starch. Simultaneously the
potato skins are only roughly torn. This is inevitable to avoid that fine skin fragments pass

through the sieves during the following extraction step and remain in the starch, which would
lead to poor starch quality.
Extraction and fruit water separation: Firstly coarse skin and cell fragments, the so called
pulp, have to be separated from the rasped potatoes. This separation step is conducted by
means of conical rotating sieves, the so called centrisieves. For better starch isolation water is
applied to the sieves through nozzles. While starch and fruit water passes through, the fibres
are retarded by the sieves. The remaining pulp is drained or pressed off and used directly as
feed while still damp or dried in flash dryers. The pulp is used as mix feed because of its high
feed, protein and residue starch content.
In the next step, the fruit water is separated in several steps by means of hydro-cyclone
plants. Separated fruit water has a high content of proteins, amino acids, and mineral nutrients.
About one half of the soluble proteins are coagulated by treatment with acid and heat and then
separated in decanters. The remaining fruit water is evaporated and used for fertilizing.
Dewatering and drying: Refined starch milk has a dry matter content of about 35 % to
40 %. The starch is dewatered by rotary vacuum filtration to moisture contents below 40 %.
Drying is conducted by means of a flash dryer. Starch must not exceed 15 % of residual
moisture to be suitable for storage. (35)

1. Vocabulary

blade = lam, ti
blight = man, parazit
cassava = manioc
dewatered = deshidratat
herbaceous = ierbos, ierbaceu
flume = jgheab, canal
lentil = linte
manure = ngrmnt (natural), gunoi, blegar
moth = molie
nematode = nematod
nozzle = duz
rasp = rztoare, a rade, a rzui, a pili
saw = fierstru
sieve = sit
starch = amidon
to harrow = a grpa
to mould = a forma, a modela
to replenish = a reumple, a completa cu
to ridge = a brzda, a acoperi cu coam

tuber = tubercul

Expressions and proverbs

couch potato = a lazy individual, addicted to television-watching.
drop somebody/something like a hot potato (informal) = to suddenly get rid of someone or
something that you have been involved with because you do not want them any more or you are
worried they may cause problems
a hot potato (informal) = something that is difficult or dangerous to deal with
small potatoes = something or someone insignificant; small fry.
the meat and potatoes (American informal) = the most important or basic parts of something

2. Comprehension

2.1. Answer the following questions:

1. What type of soil does the potato prefer?

2. What happens to the potatoes after their delivery?
3. Which are the pests and diseases that affect the potato?
4. What is ridging?
5. Which are the raw materials for starch production?
6. What does the rasping procedure consist of?
7. How much can starch be dewatered?
8. What is the pulp?
9. How long does it take to the potato crop to reach maturity (for harvesting)?

3. Practice

3.1. Give the synonyms of the words below:


3.2. Give the antonyms of the words below:

inhibited soluble
optimum coarsely
shallow to dewater

3.3. The word in capital letters at the end of each of the sentences can be changed
in such a way that it forms a word that fits suitably in the blank space. Fill each blank in
this way:

1. Wed better go by train. The car is

too .................. for such a long journey.
2. Is there any difference between egoism
and ................ ?
3. It is dangerous for an ................... driver to drive EXPERIENC
a car in the centre of Paris during the mid-day rush. E
4. After the death of her parents, Lisa was brought
up in an ...............
5. Douglas, now that youre the head of the family,
you must take your .................. place at the head of RIGHT
the table.
6. There is always a .............. of fresh vegetables at
this time of the year.
7. Did you really have to behave with
such ..................... to the little girl?
8. I need a new secretary. I want someone who is
charming, efficient and absolutely ................
9. In these days of terrorism and
hijacking, .................. at airport must be made a lot SECURE

3.4. Use the expressions related to potato in the sentences below:

1. When we learned of the conviction, we dropped him. .
2. This contract is, but it keeps us in business till we get into the real
3. They stuck to of broadcasting - sports and news.
4. The remote control television was invented for .
5. The government ..when they realized the bad feeling it was
6. The abortion issue is a political .. in the United States.
7. are better than no potatoes at all.
8. I . when the big boss said he didn't like it.
9. .. can tend to become very fat and unhealthy, you know.

10. And we are not talking . - building the airport means many people in the
area will lose their homes.
11. All he ever does is watch TV; he's become a real .
12. A loan of that size is - these banks are lending millions of pounds a day.

3.5. Identify the mistakes in the text and write them on the right. They might be
extra or misspelled words:
Potatoes originate from a region loucated in the ......................
Andes in South America. They were growed and ......................
consumed there since 8000 BC. The Indian Inca tribe was ......................
the first to cultivate potatoes by artificial irigation systems ......................
since 1100 BC. After the conquest of the Inca Empire by ......................
spanish conquistadores in the 16th century, the potato ......................
plant was brougth to Europe, where it initially served as ......................
an ornamental plant. Only later the tubers became an ......................
exclusive speciallity and were used as a cure-all for ......................
curing various diseasses. Still, its use was reserved for ......................
the upper classes. From the begining of the 18th century ......................
the potato plant was widespred all over Europe and ......................
gained vastly in importance for human nutrition. Imigrants ......................
from Ireland and England brought potatoes to North ......................
America, Russia, and Sweden. However, the distribbution ......................
of potatoes suffered several set-backs, mostly by the late ......................
blight disease (Phytophtora infestans). In the 19th century ......................
European potato harvests and stocks were repeatedlly ......................
destroyed by late blight leading to heavy famine, ......................
particularly among the poor. Despite of these devastating ......................
incidents the potato plant became one of the most ......................
important staible food crops worldwide. ......................
Apart from its nutritional use and its use as a ......................
luxoury foodstaff in diverse variations, potatoes are also ......................
used for alcohol distillation and starcth production. ......................
As with maize there are many potato variants with ......................
distinctiv properties for particular use, such as table ......................

potatoes, processing potatos and industrial potatoes. (39) ....................

3.6. Translate into English:

Cartoful este o important plant alimentar, industrial i furajer.

Prin compoziia chimic, tuberculii de cartof au n alimentaie, n primul rnd un rol
energetic, amidonul reprezentnd la soiurile de consum (aliment direct) 13-16% din greutatea
proaspt i 70-75% din substana uscat. Proteinele reprezint la cartof 2% (8% din substana
uscat), dar valoarea lor este deosebit, superioar chiar celor din boabele de gru, prin
digestibilitate i echilibrul aminoacizilor eseniali. Tuberculii sunt bogai i n sruri i n vitamine.
Din 100g substan uscat de cartof organismul este asigurat cu peste 300 calorii.
Fina de cartof se amestic cu cea de gru pentru obinerea unei pini de calitate.
Consumul anual de cartof pe locuitor, variaz n diferite ri mari cultivatoare ntre 80-
150 kg. n Romnia, consumul mediu este de 100 kg.
Procesul de fabricaie a amidonului brut (amidon crud sau amidon lapte) difer n funcie
de materia prim folosit.
Amidonul se prezint n stare pur sub form de praf moale, alb, strlucitor, insolubil n
ap. Are o mas specific mai mare dect apa, fapt pentru care poate fi recuperat prin
procedee de extracie. La 50-60C devine cleios (gluey) i puin solubil, la 140-150C devine
solubil, la 170-190C se nchide la culoare i devine brun, iar peste 250C se umfl i arde cu

3.7. Translate into Romanian:

But how did the potato turn up in the Prussian prison camps of the eighteenth century,
and where had it come from? From America, of course, along with maize, another food that was
long regarded as animal fodder, with the tomato, still regarded with suspicion at this time, and
with chocolate and turkeys, which made their mark more easily. Pedro Ciea, an adjutant of
Pizarro, sent some tubers to the Spanish sovereigns in 1588. They gave them to the Pope, who
had them examined by the botanist Clusius. Clusius planted the curious little items in land lent
to him by the Papal Nuncio Bonomi at Verceil-les-Champs, and depicted the plants that came
up-the first ever grown in European soil in some magnificent botanical plates, for he was a fine
artist. Not knowing what Latin name to give his work, in order to catalogue it fittingly, he called
the tuber taratufli, little trufle.
The Italian Pope read this as tartufoli, the Germans called the tuber Kartoffel, the
Russians kartopfel and the French tartouste or cartoufle (Olivier de Serres spelling). Similar
tubers brought back from Virginia by Sir Walter Raleigh do not seem to have aroused more than
the passing attention of British botanist at the time. The soldiers of the expeditionary British and
Spanish forces to the Americas confused them with the sweet potato, from the Peruvian word
papas or bappa, and although they were not very keen on what they called an edible stone,

even when they were cut off from their base supplies, they gave it the attractive name of little
bappa, bappatas, which them became patatas in Spanish and potato in English.
Spanish missionaries brought these patatas back to Andalusia, and managed to get the
starving locals to eat some as a pure. Then Castilian mercenaries fighting in Germany during
the Thirty Years War began carrying potatoes with them as provisions for their horses in
case of very dire need for themselves. The commissariat was not always in attendance, and the
economic situation of Saxony and Westphalia was a nightmare. Those peasants who were
given potatoes by the armies of occupation, or managed to steal them, seized upon this strange
and foreign manna and ate the potatoes raw, unpeeled. Not surprisingly, they had severe
indigestion, which was easily confused with epidemic disease in those plague-ridden times. It
was a long time before anyone thought of peeling potatoes (even to supply a task for military
The Neolithic farmers of the highlands of Bolivia invented a king of freezedrying, a
process they also applied to other plants or parts of plants which contained a great deal of
water, including certain bulbs. At altitudes of 3000 to 3500 metres the cold is very severe. To
make their chumo or chuo, the Andeans dipped the tubers in water and left them to freeze.
They were then defrosted by the fire before being crushed and pressed. The pulp obtained was
exposed to the cold again: a very dry cold in full sunlight. The chumo turned black as coal, and
was called chumo negro; to make chumo blanco, the pulp was dried out in a place from which
all light was excluded.
The extraction of starch from potatoes goes back to the second half on the nineteenth
century, but is was during the Second World War that the Americans really started large-scale
industrial manufacturing of potatoes into the ready-to-use products demanded by the army
commissariats. Wars act as a spur to practical inventions. The results were pre-cooked chips,
potato crisps and mashed potato. (Potato crisps had already been made in Great Britain in the
1930s and Nazi Germany resuscitated the old peasant tradition of potato noodles). (21)