Economic Botany

, Volume 38, Issue 3, pp 332-341

First online:

Arrowroot (Maranta arundinacea), food, feed, fuel, and fiber resource

  • M. D. Erdman
  • , B. A. ErdmanAffiliated withUSDA, Southern Agricultural Energy Center

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Arrowroot biomass and processing residues were evaluated as as a feed, fuel and fiber resource. Ensiled aerial biomass and coarse and fine arrowroot processing residues contained 10.8–21.1% crude protein; 11.1–30.2% crude fiber; 3.8–17.0% ash; and an in vitro dry matter digestibility of 38.5–60.3%. Theoretical yields of 0.27 and 1.60 l of methane at standard temperature and pressure per liter of rhizome wash water and starch-settling water were calculated, respectively. Fuel alcohol production potential from yeast-supplemented aerial biomass and coarse residue were identified. Laboratory pulping of coarse residue was performed. The coarse residue has qualities that may be suited to tear-resistant specialty grade papers, such as wrapping paper and bags. The utilization of arrowroot by-products may lead to increased cultivation of this species as a food, feed, fuel and fiber resource. By-product utilization will also reduce environmental pollution presently resulting from direct discharge of unused by-products.