BY-PRODUCT UTILIZATION OF ERI SILKWORM HOST PLANT TAPIOCA (MANIHOT ESCULENTA CRANTZ.): A REVIEWP. R. Narzary and M. Saikia
Manihot esculenta Crantz., cassava also called tapioca, is a woody tuberous shrub, native to South America. It belongs to the family Euphorbiaceae. The leaves of tapioca plant serve as a secondary host plant in eri culture, i.e. rearing of eri silkworm, Samia ricini Donovan, particularly practiced in the north-eastern region of India. Besides the utilization of tapioca tubers for human consumption and as feed for animals, the leaves and tubers of this wonder plant can be used for diversified purposes as in food industry, pharmaceuticals, textile industry, cosmetic industry, explosive industry, paper industry, etc. The ethyl acetate extract of cassava can be used as a potential grain protectant against red flour beetle (Tribolium castaneum) and rice weevil (Sitophilus oryzae). Tapioca is not only of low cost but also serves as a wonder plant for sustainable future. The use and exploration of tapioca has much more vivid scope besides its utilization in eri silkworm rearing. In tapioca producing regions of India, tapioca can be utilized for dual purpose of eri silkworm rearing and for other industrial products which will help to grow tapioca based industry. It will also help for the sustainable development of eri silkworm rearers. Indigenous traditional knowledge (ITK) strongly proves that tapioca plants are endowed with pesticidal properties that can be widely explored in agriculture and related fields. Therefore, this article strongly supports and highlights the use and exploration of tapioca in various agricultural and industrial practices.