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J Agric Food Chem. 2000 Dec;48(12):6284-91.

Esterified phenolics of the cell walls of chufa (Cyperus esculentusL. ) tubers and their role in texture.

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  • 1Institute of Food Research, Norwich Research Park, Colney, Norwich NR4 7UA, United Kingdom.


Chufas (Cyperus esculentus) are edible tubers that, like Chinese waterchestnut (CWC), are very crisp when raw and do not soften when cooked. The present study compares the mechanical properties of chufas with those of potato and CWC in relation to the carbohydrate and phenolic compositions of the cell walls. The cutting toughness of raw chufa was higher than that of raw CWC and potato; its value decreased on boiling, as also observed with CWC, but remained over twice that of raw potato. Chufa cell walls were rich in xylose, arabinose, glucose, uronic acid, and galactose, with minor quantities of mannose. The cell walls of the parenchyma exhibited a uniform pH-dependent autofluorescence indicating the presence of cinnamic acid derivatives. Analysis of these revealed that peeled tuber cell walls are rich in ferulic acid, whereas p-coumaric acid dominates the monomeric phenol fraction of the skin. Cell wall material from both skin and peeled tubers contains a significant amount of different diferulic acids ( approximately 20% of the wall ferulic acid), consisting mainly of the 8-O-4'-, 8-5'-, and 5-5'-dimers. These are potentially available to form thermally stable cross-links between polysaccharides within the wall and between cells. This may confer thermal stability of texture.

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