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Teff
File:Teff pluim Eragrostis
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Monocots
(unranked): Commelinids
Order: Poales
Family: Poaceae
Subfamily: Chloridoideae
Genus: Eragrostis
Species: E. tef
Binomial name
Eragrostis tef
(Zucc.) Trotter
Synonyms

Eragrostis abyssinica (Jacq.) Link

Teff or taf (Eragrostis tef (Zucc.) Trotter), Amharic ጤፍ ṭēff, Tigrinya ጣፍ ṭaff) is an annual grass, a species of lovegrass native to the northern Ethiopian Highlands of northeastern Africa. It has an attractive nutrition profile, being high in dietary fiber and iron and providing protein and calcium.[1] It has a sour taste. It is similar to millet and quinoa in cooking, but the seed is much smaller.

Teff is an important food grain in Ethiopia and Eritrea, where it is used to make injera, and less so in India and Australia. (It is now raised in the USA, in Idaho in particular.) Because of its small seeds (less than 1 mm diameter), one can hold enough to sow a large area in one hand. This property makes teff particularly suited to a seminomadic lifestyle.

Common names include teff, lovegrass, annual bunch grass (English); Ṭeff/Ṭéff (Amharic, both representing the same sound, an ejective consonant); Ṭaffi/xaffi (oromo, both representing the same sound); Ṭaff (Tigrinya); and mil éthiopien (French). It is also written as ttheff, tteff, thaff, tcheff, and thaft.[2] The word "tef" is connected by folk etymology to the Ethio-Semitic root "ṭff", which means "lost" (because of the small size of the grain).

Teff is believed to have originated in Ethiopia between 4000 BC and 1000 BC. Genetic evidence points to E. pilosa as the most likely wild ancestor.[3] A 19th century identification of teff seeds from an ancient Egyptian site is now considered doubtful; the seeds in question (no longer available for study) are more likely of E. aegyptiaca, a common wild grass in Egypt.[4]

It is adapted to environments ranging from drought stress to waterlogged soil conditions. Maximum teff production occurs at altitudes of 1800 to 2100 m, growing season rainfall of 450 to 550 mm, and a temperature range of 10 to 27 °C. Teff is day length sensitive and flowers best with 12 hours of daylight.

Cultivation and uses

A traditional food plant in Africa, this little-known grain has potential to improve nutrition, boost food security, foster rural development and support sustainable landcare.[1]

Teff has been widely cultivated and used in the countries of South Africa, Eritrea, Ethiopia, India and its colonies, and Australia. Teff accounts for about a quarter of total cereal production in Ethiopia.[5] The grain has a high concentration of different nutrients, a very high calcium content, and high levels of phosphorus, iron, copper, aluminum, barium, and thiamin. A big advantage, the iron from teff is easily absorbed by the body. Teff is high in protein. It is considered to have an excellent amino acid composition (including all 8 essential amino acids for humans) and has lysine levels higher than wheat or barley. Because of this variety, it stimulates the flora of the large intestine. Teff is high in carbohydrates and fiber. It contains no gluten, so it is appropriate for those with celiac disease. Consumers greatly prefer white teff to darker colored varieties.[6]

Teff is a particularly nutritious grain. Its nutritional properties can be found here.

It is also a rich source of other minerals including magnesium, boron, copper, phosphorus and zinc.[7]

References

  1. ^ a b National Research Council (1996-02-14). "Tef". Lost Crops of Africa: Volume I: Grains. Lost Crops of Africa. 1. National Academies Press. pp. 222. ISBN 978-0-309-04990-0. http://books.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=2305&page=215. Retrieved on 2008-07-18. 
  2. ^ Anon. 1887[specify]
  3. ^ Ingram AL, Doyle JJ, The origin and evolution of Eragrostis tef (Poaceae) and related polyploids: Evidence from nuclear waxy and plastid rps16. American Journal of Botany 90 (1): 116-122, 2003
  4. ^ Germer, Renate (1985). Flora des pharaonischen Ägypten. Mainz: von Zabern. ISBN 3-8053-0620-2. 
  5. ^ Eleni Zaude Gabre-Madhin, Market Institutions, Transaction Costs, and Social Capital in the Ethiopian Grain Market. Washington, DC: International Food Policy Research Institute, 2001
  6. ^ G. BELAY, H. TEFERA, B. TADESSE, G. METAFERIA, D. JARRA and T. TADESSE. 2006. Participatory Variety Selection in the Ethiopian Cereal Tef (Eragrostis Tef). Experimental Agriculture 42:91-101.
  7. ^ "Teff and Gluten Intolerance". Food Lorists. http://foodlorists.blogspot.com/2007/11/teff-and-gluten-intolerance.html. Retrieved on 2008-09-18. 

External links


Wiktionary

Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

English

Etymology

Amharic ጤፍ

Noun

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Wikipedia

Singular
teff

Plural
teffs

teff (plural teffs)

  1. A love grass, Eragrostis tef, with small seeds, grown as a cereal and for forage in Ethiopia and parts of Arabia
  2. The fine grain of this plant







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