Breadfruit [Artocarpus altilis (Parkinson) Fosberg] is a staple food crop that can never become more than locally important unless reliable methods of extending its shelf-life are developed. One such method is the processing of the fruit during periods of seasonal glut into products, such as flour, that are shelf-stable and usage-amenable. The absence of gluten protein is the major characteristic that limits the end use of breadfruit flour as a substitute for wheat flour.In this absence, the physicochemical properties of starch, influence the breadfruit flour’s end-use. Starch properties can be influenced by crop maturity and genotype, therefore, the objective of this study was to determine the effect of cultivar and maturity on the physicochemical and functional properties of breadfruit starch.
Eleven (11) breadfruit cultivars from the germplasm collection of the University Field Station, Valsayn, Trinidad were evaluated. Starch was isolated from the flesh of immature and mature breadfruits and analyzed in triplicate for apparent amylose content, swelling power and solubility, water absorption capacities and gel texture.
The starches of ‘Local Yellow’, ‘Hope Marble’, ‘Creole’, ‘Common’ and ‘Ma’afala’ cultivars were classified as very low amylose (2 to 9%) while ‘Local White’, ‘Kashee Bread’, ‘Macca’, ‘Timor/ St. Kitts’, ‘Cassava Murray’ and ‘Pii Piia’ were classified as low amylose (10 to 20%). Cultivar influenced (p<0.05) the swelling power (%), solubility (%) and water absorption capacity (%) but had no significant effect on water absorption capacity (%). All starch gels showed low cohesiveness and low indexes of viscosity. Maturity had no significant effect (p<0.05) on starch solubility or gel textural properties. The suitability of the starch and flour of a cultivar for a specific product will depend upon the product characteristics desired by the end-user.