Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Teff is an important food grain in Ethiopia and Eritrea, where it is used to make injera, and more or less in India and Australia. Because of its small seeds (less than 1 mm diameter), one can hold enough to sow a whole field in one hand. This property makes teff particularly suited to a seminomadic lifestyle.
'English': Teff, Lovegrass, Annual Bunch Grass, Warm Season Annual Bunch Grass 'Ethiopian': Tef 'Oromigna': Tafi 'Tigrigna': Taf 'French': mil éthiopien Also written as: Ttheff, Tteff, Thaff, Tcheff, Thaft, Tcheff. (ANON 1887)
The word tef is thought to originate from the Amharic word teffa which means lost, due to small size of the grain or from the Arabic word tahf used by Semites in South Arabia .
Teff is believed to have originated in Ethiopia between 4000 and 1000 BC. Teff seeds were discovered in a pyramid thought to date back to 3359 BC . The grain has been widely cultivated and used in the countries of Ethiopia, India and its colonies, and Australia.
Teff is adapted to environments ranging from drought stress to water logged soil conditions. Maximum teff production occurs at altitudes of 1800 to 2100 m, growing season rainfall of 450 to 550 mm, with a temperature range of 10 to 27 °C. Teff is day length sensitive and flowers best during 12 hours of daylight.
Teff has a high concentration of different nutrients. This grain has a very high 'calcium' content, and contains high levels of 'phosphorus, iron, copper, aluminum, barium, and thiamin'. A big advantage (claimed by Soil & Corp) is the fact that the iron from teff can be well absorbed by the body. It could be used for top sports because of this. 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 gluten intolerance or Celiac disease.
Teff produces up to 2/3 of the total food provision of Ethiopia.
The cultivation of teff has been patented throughout Europe by Soil & Company .
In the Netherlands some farmers needed a new grain species and after a drink and the consultancy of an inventor's office, teff has been used and succeeded as a new grain. In 2003, 150 farmers were welcoming teff. By an estimation of S&C, in 2006 there could be 50 km² of this African grain in the Netherlands.
At this time it is not widely known or used in the U.S., though it is cultivated in South Dakota and Idaho and is available in many health food stores (as well as Ethiopian and Eritrean grocery stores).
- Purdue University|Center for New Crops & Plant Products
- by Chet Day's Health and beyond (by Karen Railey)
- Soil & Crops
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