An Assessment of Quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa Willd.) Potential as a Grain Crop on Marginal Lands in Pakistan
Quinoa belongs to family Chenopodiaceae and is related to well-known agricultural crops such as sugar beet (Beta vulgaris), spinach (Spinacia oleracea) and amaranth and is known to be an integral food grain source in the Andean region, from where it spread to other regions and continents. It is known for its frost, drought and salt tolerant characteristics. It is an annual plant with tap root system and fruit is a small seed called achene. Quinoa leaves contain a sufficient amount of ash (3.3%), fiber (1.9%), nitrates (0.4%), vitamin E (2.9 mg /100 g) and Na (289 mg/100 g). Quinoa flour contains 11.2% moisture, 13.5% crude protein, 6.3% ether extract, 9.5% crude fiber, 1.2% total ash and 58.3% carbohydrate. The seed proteins are rich in amino acids like lysine, threonine and methionine that are deficient in cereals. It is cooked as rice and is used to make bread, soups, biscuits and drinks. It has potential to be grown as food, feed or as a oil seed crop.