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| Plukenetia volubilis|
Plukenetia volubilis, commonly known as Sacha Inchi, Sacha Peanut, or Inca-Peanut, is a perennial plant semileñosa and of the family of Euphorbiaceae. It is native to the Amazon, cultivated by indigenous people for centuries, fits in warmer climates or means to 1,700 meters As long as there continued availability of water and good drainage. It grows better in acidic soils, frank and alluvial flats near rivers.
It reaches a height of 2 m. Their leaves are alternate, heart shaped, with jagged edges, 10 to 12 cm long and 8 to 10 cm wide, with peciolos of 2-6 cm long. It flowers five months after being planted, and bears seeds around the eighth month. The male flowers are small, white, and arranged in clusters. On the basis of cluster and laterally, there is a two female flowers.
The fruits are capsules of 3 to 5 cm in diameter with 4 to 7 points, are green and ripen blackish brown. It usually consists of four lobes, but some presents five and even seven. Inside are the seeds, oval, dark-brown, 1.5 to 2 cm in diameter and 45 to 100 grams of weight. At the cotyledons are open to ways of almonds and covered with a whitish film.
The seeds of inchi have high protein content (33%) and oil (49%). Its oil is one of the largest plant sources of Omega, an essential fatty acid for human life. It contains Omega 3 (48%), Omega 6 (36%), Omega 9 (9%), protein (33%) and antioxidants (50%). They are also rich in iodine and vitamin A and vitamin E.
Sacha Inchi oil production is increasing in the Peruvian Amazon and is gaining international recognition for its taste and health properties. In June 2007, Sacha Inchi oil won the Médalle D'or (Gold Medal) at the AVPA Specialty Foods Commodities competition. Sacha Inchi has been called a super food because of its high content of Omega's. The oil has a mild flavour, not bitter, with a nutty finish. With new research emphasizing the health benefits of Omega fatty acids, interest in sustainable sources of Omega is increasing. Fish is a source of Omega fatty acid, but overfishing is driving the search for other sources of Omega fatty acids. Sacha Inchi oil is used in vegetarian diets to provide a plant source for Omega-3 fatty acids.
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