Various applications of tapioca starch

Update: 4/8/2015

Starches are basically carbohydrates, known as polysaccharides, i.e., multiple molecules of sugar. For commercial use, they are derived from a variety of cereals like rice, wheat, sorghum, corn and tubers like potato, tapioca, sweet potato, etc.  Internationally popular forms of starch are mostly derived from corn and tapioca due to their easy availability.

Due to a peculiar phenomenon called gelatinisation – an irreversible swelling of starch granules when treated with hot water, starch turns into a thick paste. When cooled and with certain additives, it forms a gel. This gives it high viscosity which forms the basis of its many uses.

What is tapioca starch used for?
Starch has a number of commercial and indusrtial applications and these invariably find their way into our rountine life. Aian our clothes. Our stationery. Our food. And in a host of their ways

Adhesive and Glue
Its relatively high viscosity affords an appreciable binding capacity, which is why starch finds much favour in the adhesive industry.
Tapioca starch becomes sticky when it is mixed with water or certain chemicals. It stays sticky over a very long period of times. However, high quality tapioca starch fits for making industrial glues.

Tapioca starch is applied for making glue which is an important raw material of the plywood industry. The strength and the quality of plywood depend largely on the quality of glue.

Conversion industry
Tapioca starch is devoid of major contaminants found in cornstarch and sorghum starch.  It is much better suited for hydrolysis and so is widely used by industries manufacturing downstream products like liquid glucose, sorbitol, maltodextrin, etc. 

Animal feed
Starch is highly economical and therefore extensively used as a filler in the manufacturing of compounded animal feeds
Native starch is used as binders, fillers and disintegrating agents for tablet production
Starch is perfect for textile applications. This is why it is widely used in the sizing of yarns and finishing of cotton and polyester fabrics.
The starch has a important role in three stages of production of textiles : mixing, printing and finishing.
Mixing: Starch is applied as sizing agents to stiffen and protect the thread for improved weaving efficiency. It is also used as finished agents to obtain smooth fabrics and color thickeners to obtain sharp and durable printed fabrics. The viscosity has to be reduce either by the starch maker or by in-line during jet cooking with heat stable amylase.
Printing works: Starch is used in printing more even and preventing the contamination while printing. mostly a prgelatinezed modified starch is used.
Finishing stage: The tapioca starch is applied in different proportion to make the cloth glossy and permanent, for example 12% for cotton, 8% for rayon and 18% for synthetic cloth.

Tapioca starch will be used in three stages of production process; Beater Sizing or Wet-end, Surfacing Sizing or Size-press and Surface Coating
The first stage : Cationic starches are employed to flocculate pulp, increasing de-watering rates on the wet end. Faster machine speeds and better pulp yields result. The starch remains in the finished paper, acting as an internal sizing agent to increase the paper strength.
The second stage : The stage of processing the pulp into sheets. The tapioca starch solution will not only fill up the pores on the sheets while passing through and oven dryer, but also increase the smoothness of the sheet surface, making the sheet smoother to write on and harder for ink to penetrate. Low viscosity starches are applied.
The third stage : The stage of producing special condensed paper for book cover, calender paper and boxes. Thin boiling starches and more sophisticated modified starches are used or native starch is jet-cooked with enzymes.

Native tapioca starch and diverse types of modified starch are used in confectionery for different purposes such as gelling, thickening, texture stabilizing, foam strengthening, crystal growth control, adhesion, film foaming and glazing.
Jellies and gums: Low viscosity tapioca starch are widely used in gelled confectioneries.
The most often used one is acid-thinned starch or enzymatically jet-cooked starch due to its high retrogradation and gel formation characteristics, which are enhanced by the presence of sugars. Powder starches are used as mould release agents when casting.

Beverages and Alcohol
Modified tapioca starch is used as a colloid stabilizer in beverages that include solid constituents. Tapioca starch based sweeteners are preferred to sucrose in beverages for their improved processing characteristics and product enhancing properties. High dextrose equivalent syrups of tapioca based hydrolysate are also excellent source for easily fermentable sugar for brewery applications.
Alcohol. Ethanol is derived from tapioca starch and used as fuel. It accounted for 70% supplied to alcoholic beverage industry and lysol industry. One ton of tapioca starch yields 720 litre or 95% ethanol.
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